"Sunshine" Vitamin Found To Lower Early Death Risk
As reported in Reuters (London 10/07), while previous studies have suggested that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of cancer, heart disease or diabetes, researchers wrote, in the Archives of Internal Medicine, that their latest findings indicate the vitamin provides an even bigger bang.
People who take regular doses of vitamin D have a significantly lower risk of dying early than those who do not use supplements, according to new research. "Intake of ordinary doses of vitamin D supplements seems to be associated with decreases in total mortality rates," said Philippe Autier of the International Agency for Cancer Research in France and Sara Gandini of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan. The reasons why were not clear but the researchers suggested the vitamin might block cancer cells from spreading or boost the immune system.
They did not conduct the studies themselves but did what is called a meta-analysis by reviewing 18 separate trials involving nearly 60,000 patients. The doses averaged 528 international units, within the range of most commercially available vitamin D supplements. They found that nearly 5,000 of the participants in the studies died over an average follow-up period of 5.7 years, with the data showing that those who took vitamin D supplements had a 7 percent lower risk of death. The team did not consider the specific causes of death in the studies, which included mostly healthy middle-aged or elderly people. They said further investigation was needed to find those kinds of answers.
Vitamin D is important for both healthy teeth and bones as well as nerve cells such as the brain and seems to act as an important regulator of the immune system. Few foods are naturally rich in Vitamin D, known as the "sunshine" vitamin because the body produces it during exposure to sunlight.
One U.S. researcher called the results of the latest analysis "remarkable" and said they served as a reminder for doctors to make sure they were prescribing adequate doses of vitamin D to patients who needed it.
600,000 Cases Of Cancer Could Be Prevented
In another recent study (www.mercola.com 8/07), researchers from the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), found that if vitamin D3 levels among populations worldwide were increased, 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancers could be prevented each year. This includes nearly 150,000 cases of cancer that could be prevented in the United States alone.
The researchers estimate that 250,000 cases of colorectal cancer and 350,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented worldwide by increasing intake of vitamin D3, particularly in countries north of the equator. The study examines the dose-response relationship between vitamin D and cancer, and is the first to use satellite measurements of sun and cloud cover in countries where blood serum levels of vitamin D3 were also taken.
Serum vitamin D levels during the winter from 15 countries were combined, then applied to 177 countries to estimate the average serum level of a vitamin D metabolite among the population. An inverse association between serum vitamin D and the risk of colorectal and breast cancers was found.
Protective effects began when 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels (the main indicator of vitamin D status) ranged from 24 to 32 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). In the United States, late winter 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels ranged from 15 to 18 ng/ml. Previous research has suggested that raising levels to 55 ng/ml was actually optimal to prevent cancer, the researchers said. To increase your vitamin D3 levels, the researchers recommended a combination of dietary methods, supplements and sunlight exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes a day, with at least 40 percent of your skin exposed.
Dr. Joseph Mercola commented on the Moores Cancer Center findings:
The dangers of sun exposure have been greatly exaggerated, and the benefits highly underestimated. Developing deadly skin cancer is not the major reason people develop skin cancer. I know many of you might be surprised by this, but this is simply not the truth, and buying into this lie will most assuredly deprive of the vital benefits the sun can provide you.
And one of the major ones is lowering your risk of your number one reason for dyeing, cancer. As this groundbreaking study found, 600,000 cases of cancer could be prevented every year just by increasing your levels of vitamin D, and without question, the best way to obtain your vitamin D is by UVB sunlight falling on unexposed skin in doses that do not cause sunburn.
Even beyond cancer, the researchers pointed out that increasing levels of vitamin D3 throughout the world could prevent diseases that claim nearly 1 million lives throughout the world each year! That is absolutely extraordinary, and NO ONE is making a penny from this recommendation, which is one of the primary reasons why this is not being more widely promoted.
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Copyright © 2007 Ray Allard All Rights Reserved