September 26, 2014– Pancreatic cancer can be reduced considerably, by up to 50%, by regular intake of Vitamin D. Often considered as a hormone, Vitamin D has been under studies by researchers for many years due its health benefits in many aspects…
Recent studies suggest a positive association between regular vitamin D intake and reduced risk of cancer. In many studies published by the University of California in 2006, scientists indicated that a daily oral intake of 1000 IU of vitamin D may reduce the risk (up to 50%) of several types of cancer, including colon cancer, breast cancer and cancer ovary.
In the fall of 2006, a study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard universities showed that consumption of vitamin D reduced by nearly half the risk of pancreatic cancer. Indeed, the mere fact of taking the recommended daily dose of 400 IU reduced the risk by 43%. Having noticed that in areas where there is greater exposure to sunlight was observed a lower incidence of cancers of the prostate, breast and colon, they were asked to look into the potential of vitamin D in fighting against the risk of pancreatic cancer.
In very recent studies published by the BMJ and University of California-San Diego School of Medicine, researchers have suggested a link between vitamin D deficiency and premature death related to many diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. These latest studies also indicate that taking vitamin D from food sources such as eggs, liver, fatty fish or fortified dairy products, or by exposure to the sun would be preferable to taking multivitamin supplements.
The Recommended Dose of Vitamin D
Opinions vary on the ideal amount of vitamin D for maintaining health and cancer prevention.
To get enough vitamin D, the new 2010 recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 600 IU for individuals 1-70 years of age and pregnant or breastfeeding women, and 800 IU for people over 71 years of age.It is also suggested that adults at higher risk of having low vitamin D levels should consider taking a supplement of 1000 IU of vitamin D over the course of the year. People at risk of having low levels of vitamin D include those who are older, who have dark skin, which often do not come out and wearing clothes that cover most of their skin. Nevertheless, it would be best for patients to consult their health care provider or dietitian to learn what dose suits them best.
However, researchers of these same studies have questioned the benefits of vitamin D supplementation. In fact, the Medical News Today reported on a study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology that taking supplements are unlikely to prevent cancer. In a more recent research also published in the BMJ the scientists have suggested there is “no clear evidence” of their health benefits. The best way is get the vitamin D in foods.
The bestsources of vitamin D
Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because we synthesize it in the skin after sun exposure. However, sunscreen use, aging, living in northern latitudes as well as changes in exposureto sunlight during the winter months make it difficult for us to get enough vitamin D.
There are only a few food sources that are rich in vitamin D: Mushrooms, fatty fish (Salmon for instance), milk, eggs and tofu.
For vegan people, getting enough vitamin D in their daily diet to reduce their risk of cancer hasbecome much easier. Mushroom is a good source of Vitamin D. In a recent publication, the scientist of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that mushrooms that had been exposed to ultraviolet Blight for 5 minutes had very high levels of vitamin D, close to 3,500 International Units (IU) in a 1-cup serving.
When it comes to pancreatic cancer (and all the other types of cancer), prevention is the best choice. Less than seven percent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive more than 5 years, and the main reason is because the cancer is usually diagnosed late when it’s already advanced. About 40,000 people in the U.S. die of pancreatic cancer every year. Prevention is the most successful mean to fight it.
- 1 Vitamin D and prevention of colorectal cancer. The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Volume 97, Issues 1-2, October 2005, Pages 179-194.
- 2 The role of vitamin D in cancer prevention. American Journal of Public Health. February 2006, Vol 96, No. 2, 252-261.
- 3 Vitamin D Intake and the Risk for Pancreatic Cancer in Two Cohort Studies. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention. Vol. 15, 1688-1695, September 2006.
- 4 Calvo MS, Garthoff LH, Feeney MJ, et al. “Light exposed mushrooms: From development to market of naturally enhanced plant sources of vitamin D.” Proceedings of the 5th International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition. Loma Linda, CA; March, 2008.
- 5 Santé Canada : Bien manger avec le Guide alimentaire canadien www.healthcanada.gc.ca/foodguide
- 6 Société canadienne du cancer www.cancer.ca
- 7 National Institute of Health Osteoporosis & Related Bone Diseases National Resource Centre www.osteo.org.
- 8 Santé Canada – Fichier canadien sur les éléments nutritif : http://webprod3.hc-sc.gc.ca/cnf-fce/language-langage.do?url=t.search.recherche&lang=fra