Monday, January 25, 2010

Higher Levels of Vitamin D Linked to Lower Colon Cancer Risk

Source: ScienceDaily (Summary by NIM)

Higher amounts of vitamin D circulating in the blood appear to be protective against colon cancer, according to a large study from Europe. The researchers found that those individuals with the highest levels had up to a 40% lower risk of developing the disease over a 6 year period.

The researchers offer a word of caution that it's not clear what the risks are, if any from consuming high levels of vitamin D in supplement form. It's also not known whether supplements are necessary if people reach certain levels through a healthy diet and exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is the only nutrient that requires exposure to UV radiation from the sun in order to be produced naturally in the body.

The daily intake recommendations for vitamin D intake that were set up years ago took into account at least 15 minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun per day, but that may not be the case today with the use of sunscreen and so on. Not to mention, it's a proven fact that us Canadians do not produce enough vitamin D for 6 months of the year - we're just too far north - meaning that we
have to supplement our diets. Many groups are recommending intakes that are 2-3 times the DRI's set out by Health Canada but research as to exactly how much is inconclusive.

The authors of this study noted that the current recommendations for preventing colorectal cancer include exercising, not smoking, reducing obesity and abdominal fat, and limiting consumption of alcohol and red and processed meats.

Find out more about this study by reading the article called "High Vitamin D Levels Linked to Lower Risk of Colon Cancer" from ScienceDaily (Jan. 22, 2010).