Vitamin D deficiency linked to bowel cancer and pre-cancerous polyps, warns study


The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute reported that higher amounts of vitamin D – mainly from dietary sources – may help protect against developing young-onset colorectal cancer (i.e. bowel cancer) and pre-cancerous polyps. Such eye-opening research could pave the way for a higher national recommendation for vitamin D intake. At present, the NHS suggests people should take 10mcg (400IU) of vitamin D daily.

“This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency,” the national health service added.

The researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – alongside researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health – think vitamin D intake could be “an inexpensive complement” to bowel screening tests.

Most recently, the number of younger adults being diagnosed with bowel cancer has been on the increase.

Dr Kimmie Ng and Dr Edward Giovannucci – authors of the study – point out that the intake of dietary vitamin D has also been on the decrease.

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Dr Ng continued: “We found that total vitamin D intake of 300IU per day or more – roughly equivalent to three 8oz glasses of milk – was associated with an approximately 50 percent lower risk of developing young-onset colorectal cancer.”

This conclusion was drawn from a dataset extracted from 94,205 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study II.

Those involved in the research were between the ages of 24 to 45 when the study began in 1989.

Every two years, the women completed questionnaires on their diet, lifestyle, and medical health-related information.

Through analysis, a higher total intake of vitamin D intake was associated with a “significantly” reduced risk of bowel cancer.

“The same link was found between higher vitamin D intake and risk of colon polyps detected before age 50,” the study stated.

This association was stronger for those who gained more vitamin D from their diet than supplements.

As such, this suggests that obtaining dietary forms of vitamin D could be more beneficial at preventing cancer than taking vitamin D supplements.


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