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Vitamin D May Reduce Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer causes approximately 37,500 deaths per year in the United States, and is the fourth leading cause of cancer death. Researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School have released a study suggesting that higher vitamin D intake may reduce your risk of developing this deadly disease.

The findings were published online ahead of print on November 15, 2011, in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

The observational study contained data from five different studies and included 451 individuals with pancreatic cancer and 1,167 healthy individuals. The researchers examined blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), which is the form vitamin D takes when it's being stored in the body.

They found that the individuals with pancreatic cancer had significantly lower blood levels of vitamin D. Additionally, participants with sufficient or mildly insufficient levels of vitamin D were 30% less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than the participants with insufficient levels.

Sufficient 25(OH)D levels were defined as at least 50 nmol/L (20.0 ng/mL),. Insufficient levels were defined as those lower than 50 nmol/L (20.0 ng/mL).

Previous research has linked vitamin D with a vast number of health benefits, including reductions in skin cancer, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, improved cardiovascular health, combating diabetes, and improving age related eye degeneration.

Dietary vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process vitamin D as we age, meaning it's a good idea to make sure you're eating the right or supplementing your diet. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.

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