Vitamin D Intake Can Help Prevent Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer

Increasing intake of Vitamin D might help preventing early-onset of colorectal cancer in young people, according to a new study.

Consuming higher amounts of vitamin D can protect against developing young-onset colon cancer, according to study recently by scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and other institutions, which was published online in the journal Gastroenterology.

The findings are based on data from over 94,000 women who were part of a long-term study that began in 1989. They were 25 to 42 years of age when the study began.

Colorectal cancer is a cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. Sometimes abnormal growths, called polyps, form in the colon or rectum. Over time, some polyps may turn into cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. About nine out of every 10 people whose colorectal cancers are found early and treated appropriately are still alive five years later.

The new research has found evidence that vitamin D might be an inexpensive and easy way to help prevent colon cancer.

“Vitamin D has known activity against colorectal cancer in laboratory studies. Because vitamin D deficiency has been steadily increasing over the past few years, we wondered whether this could be contributing to the rising rates of colorectal cancer in young individuals,” said Dr. Kimmie Ng, director of the Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber. “We found that total vitamin D intake of 300 IU per day or more — roughly equivalent to three 8-oz. glasses of milk — was associated with an approximately 50 percent lower risk of developing young-onset colorectal cancer.”

Foods that are rich in Vitamin D include fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon; foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals, as well as beef liver and egg yolks.

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