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Bowel cancer

Vitamin D slashes risk of bowel cancer by 40 percent

Friday, March 12, 2010 by: E. Huff, staff writer
Tags: bowel cancer, vitamin D, health news

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(NaturalNews) A recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that high levels of vitamin D help to lower the risk of developing bowel cancer. The study, which was the largest of its kind, evaluated nearly 2,500 people with and without bowel cancer to see how vitamin D plays a role in preventing the disease.

Scientists from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France, and Imperial College London, compared 1,248 bowel cancer patients with 1,248 control group patients. Observers were able to make a clear connection between bowel cancer and low vitamin D levels, indicating that maintaining higher blood serum levels of vitamin D may help to prevent it.

Vitamin D is primarily derived from exposure to natural sunlight where the skin converts UVB rays to the vitamin D. During the winter months or other times when sun exposure is limited, though, it can be difficult to get adequate levels of vitamin D. Few foods are rich in vitamin D but a few of the best sources include fish, cod liver oil, and raw milk.

Despite their findings, study authors do not suggest supplementing with vitamin D. They claim that further studies are needed to verify that vitamin D does not increase the risk of developing other types of cancer or inflicting harm. They did estimate, however, that even a 10 percent increase in vitamin D intake among the U.K. population would reduce bowel cancer cases by 7 percent.

It is unclear precisely why the researchers would not endorse vitamin D supplementation when considering that truly therapeutic doses of vitamin D range in the tens of thousands. Though the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is a mere 400 IU, proper daily dosages range upwards of 10,000 IU for maximum health.

According to the Vitamin D Council, fears over vitamin D toxicity and taking too much of it are unwarranted. To date, there is no solid evidence indicating that any reasonable dose of cholecalciferol, the natural form commonly labeled as D3, is dangerous. Twenty minutes of summer sunlight will produce roughly 20,000 IU of sunlight in the body, so supplementing with that amount will not cause harm.

Research conducted by Dr. Robert Heaney from the American Dietetic Association also shows that vitamin D3 has a therapeutic index of 10, making it twice as safe as water when taken in reasonable doses below 40,000 IU a day.

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