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Vitamin D May Lower Mortality for Colorectal Cancer Patients

Colorectal cancer patients with the highest blood levels of vitamin D had much higher survival rates than those with the lowest levels in a recent analysis conducted by Boston based researchers.

Their findings were published online in the August 2009 issue of the British Journal of Cancer.

Researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute analyzed data from 1,017 participants in the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer from 1986 to 2004.

The researchers found that the participants with the highest blood levels of vitamin D had a 50% reduced risk of cancer-specific mortality and a 40% reduced risk of overall mortality compared to those with the lowest levels.

The researchers note that further studies are necessary to determine the mechanisms behind these findings; however, the link between vitamin D and cancer risk is not a new discovery.

In fact, the link between vitamin D and cancer goes all the way back to the 1940s when Frank Apperly found an association between latitude and cancer, showing that a certain amount of sunlight can provide a "relative immunity" to cancer.

With a majority of Americans not getting enough vitamin D daily, you may want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement, especially as you age. Vitamin D deficiency becomes more and more of an issue as you grow older because your skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing the vitamin during exposure to the sun.

A supplement can ensure that you enjoy the many health benefits associated with vitamin D including better bone health, lower blood pressure and stimulation of the immune system.

You can also get your vitamin D through foods such as fish, milk products and many cereals which either contain vitamin D naturally, or are fortified with the vitamin.

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