Want to cut your risk of cancer in half?

old message Want to cut your risk of cancer in half? Darrell Miller 01/24/06

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Date: January 24, 2006 04:59 PM
Subject: Want to cut your risk of cancer in half?

Want to cut your risk of cancer in half? According to a new study by researchers at the University of California – San Diego, it’s as easy as boosting your intake of vitamin D.

For years now, I’ve been telling you how important vitamin D is to good health – and how easy it is to become deficient, especially during the winter months when sunlight is at a premium in much of the U.S. Now, thanks to the folks at UC San Diego, we’re learning how adequate amounts of vitamin D not only helps to prevent osteoporisis, it may also save our lives.

Most of us know that vitamin D’s main role is to balance the amount of calcium and phosphorous in the blood, which helps keep our bones and teeth strong. But it turns out that this vital vitamin also regulates cell growth and determines what a cell becomes. In other words, a vitamin D deficiency may allow cells to become cancerous rather than becoming healthy cells.

Based on this, researcher Cedric Garland and his team at UC San Diego examined 63 previous studies conducted between 1966 and 2004 that looked at possible links between a vitamin D deficiency and colon, breast and ovarian cancer. They found that out of 30 studies on colon cancer, 20 found a significant link between vitamin D and the risk of developing cancerous polyps and cancer mortality. Among 13 studies of breast cancer, nine reported a favorable association between adequate vitamin D levels and a lower risk of breast cancer. Five of the seven studies on ovarian cancer found that women who lived in colder climates with less sunlight or those with a lower vitamin D intake had a much high risk of dying from ovarian cancer.

After analyzing all the data, the investigators concluded that adequate amounts of vitamin D could slash these cancer rates by a whopping 50 percent!

While the link between vitamin D and these cancers seemed pretty clear-cut, the data on vitamin D’s impact on prostate cancer was a bit less convincing. Only 13 of the 25 studies on prostate cancer showed a substantial connection between adequate vitamin D levels and a reduced risk of cancer. But one observational study of 19,000 men found that those with the lowest levels of vitamin D has a 70 percent higher risk of developing prostate cancer than those men who got enough of this nutrient. So, while the jury’s still out on vitamin D’s role in prostate health, making sure you’re getting enough certainly couldn’t hurt.

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