Vitamin D can “significantly” reduce your risk of cancer – are you getting enough of it?
A cancer diagnosis is a very daunting prospect, but research continues to suggest that the risk of a fatal disease can be changed. New research shows it could be as simple as taking a daily vitamin D supplement.
The daily dose of vitamin D during the colder months in the UK is non-negotiable.
Depriving yourself of the sunshine vitamin can increase your risk of a variety of health problems, ranging from bone deformities to poor immunity.
However, a new study provides an even stronger case for taking an essential nutrient.
A study published in the journal Melanoma Research found that regular vitamin D supplementation can “significantly” reduce the risk of skin cancer.
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The study, carried out jointly by the University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital, involved nearly 500 people at increased risk of developing skin cancer.
This is not the first study on the link between vitamin D and skin cancer, but previous studies have mostly focused on serum levels of calcidiol, which is a metabolite of vitamin D.
The conclusions from these studies were inconclusive as serum calcidiol levels were associated with both slightly higher and slightly lower risk of various skin cancers.
However, the new study took a different approach, including participants at increased risk for various types of skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, or melanoma.
A team of experienced dermatologists carefully analyzed the patients’ medical history and examined their skin.
Patients were then divided into three groups based on whether they were taking oral vitamin D supplements: no, occasional, and regular.
The key finding of the study was that there were significantly fewer cases of melanoma among those who regularly consumed dietary vitamin D foods.
What’s more, the risk of skin cancer in these participants was more than halved.
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But even those who take vitamin D occasionally may have a lower risk of developing melanoma compared to those who don’t, according to the researchers.
While the risk of melanoma was lower, other types of skin cancer did not show the same reduction.
Professor of Dermatology and Allergology Ilkka Harvima said: “These earlier studies support our new findings from the North Savo region here in Finland.
“However, the question of the optimal dose of oral vitamin D for it to have a beneficial effect remains open.
“Until we know more, national consumption guidelines should be followed.”
According to the NHS, adults need 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day, equivalent to 400 international units.
Due to the lack of sunlight in the UK during the autumn and winter, many people are nutritionally deprived during this time.
This is why the UK government recommends taking supplements during the cold season.
In addition, the researchers were unable to demonstrate a causal relationship in this study, only an association between the supplement and skin cancer.
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