Vitamin D can cure cancer?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Laboratory and animal research along with epidemiological data suggests that vitamin D status could affect cancer risk. These cancers include colon, prostate, and breast cancers.
WHAT WE KNOW
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that’s not very common in foods. The richest food sources include the flesh of salmon, tuna and mackerel, vitamin D fortified milk, and some breakfast cereals fortified with vitamin D. Smaller amounts are found in eggs and cheese. To promote adequate consumption, vitamin D has been added to many foods such as orange juice, margarine and dairy products other than milk. In addition, some mushrooms are being exposed to ultraviolet light making them a significant source of vitamin D. It can also be synthesized through the skin.
Vitamin D is important for bone rebuilding and remolding. It also promotes calcium absorption in teeth, strengthens the immune system and plays a role in cell growth. Without sufficient vitamin D, your bones can become brittle and thin. This is a condition know as rickets in children and osteomelacia in adults.
The current recommendations are 200 IU daily for children and adults up to age 50. For adults between the ages of 50 and 70 the recommendation increases to 400 IU daily, and adults over 70 should consume 600 IU daily. The sunlight exposure recommendation is 5 to 30 minutes two times per week, depending on skin type. These recommendations are based on evidence of the prevention of the development of osteoporosis and promotion of optimal bone health.
As for vitamin D’s role in the prevention of prostate, colon, and breast cancer, several studies have been done but final conclusions have yet to be made. Results have found the decrease in the size of tumors in mice as well as the decrease in the number of carcinogenic cells in Petri dishes after treatment with vitamin D supplements.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
The hype about the preventive measures of vitamin D against cancer emphasizes the need for supplementation in amounts up to four times greater than the current recommendations. Since vitamin D is available in few foods, these new recommendations would be very difficult to reach through food consumption and sun synthesis alone. Therefore, supplementation would be needed.
Most of these current findings have been in animals, mainly mice, and therefore more research on the effects on humans needs to be done before any final conclusions can be made. The current recommendations that are listed above remain the same. However, many more cohort studies are expected to be done to determine the true abilities of vitamin D.
Further research is needed to determine if vitamin D inadequacy increases cancer risk as well as if increased intake or exposure to vitamin D is a protective measure. For now we suggest making sure you meet the current dietary recommendations. Even though vitamin D is available in few food sources, many fruit juices are now being fortified with it. Look for 100% juice that’s fortified with vitamin D, and add mushrooms to your every day meals! Also check out our Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Mushrooms and try some new healthy recipes that include the food sources of vitamin D. Our Fisherman’s Salmon with Rice and Tomatoes recipe is chock-full of vitamin D!
With new research surfacing frequently, it can be frustrating to make sure you are giving your family adequate nutrition to combat disease and disorders. Eating a well-balanced diet that includes adequate fruits and vegetables will help you and your family meet all of your vitamin and mineral needs. Find out how many servings of fruits and vegetables you need to protect your body from many diseases and disorders.