Does Vitamin D Reduce Cancer Risk?

A study released recently says that if vitamin D intake is increased it may reduce the risk of developing cancer.

The findings are the latest in a growing list of evidence confirming that the ongoing guidelines related to diet of vitamin D may be very low.

For the moment, until more research and studies are conducted in this field this new finding should be viewed as basic and priliminary and therefore should not be treated as a definite reason to drastically increase vitamin D in any form especially by way of supplements, in an effort to prevent or reduce the chances of getting cancer.

It adds support to the really convincing evidence out there that we need to raise recommendations for vitamin D, says Joan M. Lappe, PhD, the main author who conducted the studies.

She also again stressed upon the fact that the study was limited to healthy, postmenopausal white women and that the cancer findings could not be applied in the same manner to other groups until more studies were conducted and results of such studies were declared.

1,024 women (average age 66 at the start) were studies and were under observation. Women in this four-year study took 1,500 milligrams of calcium supplementation either alone or with 1,100 International Units (IU) of vitamin D each day.

A third group of women took placebo pills as a control.

At the end of the study, it was observed that 50 women out of them had developed non-skin cancers.

Researchers said that women who took both supplements ended up with approximately 60% reduced cancer risk at the end of the study as compared to women who took placebo pills.

Further, women who took calcium alone saw their cancer risk cut by nearly half when compared to placebo pills. This the researched so believe may be a matter of chance or co-incidence. The study also observed that no single malignancy like breast, colon, or lung cancer etc was significantly reduced in women because they took supplements.

The study was actually conducted basically to confirm the role vitamin D’s played on bone health, not cancer.

Current dietary guidelines of the U.S recommend individuals under 50 years of age to get 200 IU of vitamin D per day, with double that amount recommended for adults above 51 to 70 years of age.

What we also have to understand is that most of vitamin D is manufactured naturally by the body with the help of exposure to sunlight. Fatty fish and fortified milk and cereals also contain vitamin `D in moderate levels. Experts warn against increasing vitamin D supplements based on the study results.

As per the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board, the tolerable upper limit of vitamin D intake is 2,000 IU in adults above 19 years and older. Risks of vitamin D toxicity include weakness, nausea, loss in appetite or poor appetite, weight loss.

Researches who are studying this say that people should seek health professional’s help to understand it properly and not get into self medication.

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