(NaturalNews) Taking vitamin D in quantities higher than what the federal government officially recommends could help you avoid developing lung cancer, according to the findings of a new study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A team of researchers from several esteemed academic institutions found that supplementing with or getting the equivalent of at least 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily can help reduce the risk of lung cancer among non-smoking, postmenopausal women by 63 percent.
Utilizing data collected as part of the comprehensive Women's Health Initiative (WHI), a large-scale cohort study involving more than 128,000 postmenopausal women, researchers from the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, the University of Washington, and the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center looked specifically at lung cancer rates in conjunction with intake levels of vitamin D among participating women. Intake levels of both calcium and vitamin A in the form of retinol were also evaluated.
To obtain this information, questionnaires were distributed that compiled data both on dietary and supplemental intake of vitamin D, as well as calcium and retinol, among participating women. From this, the research team evaluated lung cancer rates -- a total of 1,771 women came down with lung cancer during the WHI cohort -- in conjunction with vitamin intake levels to see if there was any correlation between the two that might be indicative of causation.
In the end, total vitamin intake levels above 400 IU, and especially above 800 IU, were very clearly associated with significant reductions in lung cancer rates, which makes sense, as previous studies have found that high vitamin D intake can remediate and prevent other forms of cancers as well. As reported by the Vitamin D Council, a prominent vitamin D advocacy and research group, taking both calcium and vitamin D together can also elicit a powerful anti-cancer effect, as long as intake levels of vitamin A in the form of retinol are below 1,000 IU per day.
"Researchers believe that if you take too much vitamin A in retinol form, it may negate any benefit in taking vitamin D and calcium, particularly for lung cancer," explains the Vitamin D Council.
Stick with vitamin A carotenoids rather than retinol to obtain maximum health benefits from vitamin D
As we here at NaturalNews have previously reported, vitamin A should always be consumed in carotenoid forms like beta carotene, which is prominently found in carrots and sweet potatoes, as these natural forms are converted by the body into just the right amount of retinol. Retinol, on the other hand, when taken directly in too high amounts has been shown to actually inhibit the effects of vitamin D and other nutrients in the body, as illustrated by this new study.
"The crux of the problem is that a form of vitamin A, retinoic acid, weakly activates the vitamin D response element ... and perhaps blocks vitamin D's more robust activation," stated Dr. John Jacob Cannell, M.D., the current Executive Director of the Vitamin D Council, in a report published by the British Medical Journal back in 2010.
Still, the primary point of the new study is that vitamin D, when taken in high doses with appropriate levels of other co-factors, can help reduce the risk of lung cancer. And this, of course, is great news for the general public, as vitamin D from natural sunlight is freely available for all, and supplemental vitamin D3 when natural sunlight is unavailable is quite affordable and easy to access.