The Sunshine Vitamin Protects Against Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers — but it’s also one of the most preventable. While I’m not in favor of many medical tests, I think the recommendation for colonoscopy is smart medicine, and can save many lives. But there are also natural ways to help prevent colon cancer. And one of them is making sure you get enough vitamin D.
Chinese researchers analyzed the results of 18 studies on vitamin D and colon cancer involving more than 1 million people. Those with the highest blood levels of vitamin D had a 33% lower risk of developing the disease. And there was a perfect correlation between all blood levels and risk — for each level of increase in vitamin D (measured in increments of 10 ng/mL), there was a corresponding 26% decrease in risk.
Based on this and other studies, you’d think that health authorities would be rushing to make sure everyone has higher blood levels of vitamin D. Not so. The Institute of Medicine (IOM), which advises the government on nutritional RDAs (recommended daily allowance), recently issued a report saying there was no proven link between low vitamin D levels and cancer — even though other studies show that increasing vitamin D levels in the American population could prevent 85,000 cases of cancer a year!
Ignore that IOM recommendation. You need to make sure you have plenty of vitamin D. One of the best ways to get the nutrient is daily exposure to about 10 minutes of sunlight, which converts cholesterol into vitamin D. (Sunbathing is fine; sunburns are not — never expose your skin to sun to the point of a sunburn.)
“Association between vitamin D and risk of colorectal cancer: a systematic review of prospective studies.” Ma Y, Zhang P, Wang F, Yang J, Liu Z, Qin H. J Clin Oncol. 2011 Oct 1;29(28):3775-82. Epub 2011 Aug 29.
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