Vitamin D is produced in the skin after exposure to sunshine, and it is also absorbed in the stomach through a variety of dietary sources, such as fortified meals and fatty fish.
Its principal function was once thought to be bone maintenance. However, as studies delve deeper, the scope of vitamin D's influence expands.
Vitamin D insufficiency, for example, has now been linked to Parkinson's disease, cardiovascular disease, obesity and migraine.
Scientists have also looked into how it affects cancer progression.
VITAMIN D AND COLORECTAL CANCER
Researchers from the American Cancer Society (ACS) in Atlanta, Georgia, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, and the United States National Cancer Institute in Rockville, MD recently teamed together to look into vitamin D's role in colorectal cancer risk.
Colorectal cancer, often known as bowel cancer, is the third most frequent cancer in the United States, behind skin cancer. In 2018, it is projected to claim more than 50,000 deaths.
However, the ageing population of the country may cause this figure to rise.
This year, the organisation predicts 97,000 new cases of colon cancer and 43,000 new instances of rectal cancer.
VITAMIN D AND ITS INFLUENCE OF COLORECTAL CANCER
- Those with vitamin D levels below the current recommendations had a 31% greater risk of colorectal cancer during the course of the study, which lasted an average of 5.5 years.
- Those who had vitamin D levels above the prescribed levels had a 22% lower risk.
- In women, the correlation was stronger than in men.
According to the new study, optimal bone health — which is highly influenced by vitamin D levels — is connected to a 22% decreased risk of colorectal cancer.
According to Stephanie Smith-Warner, a Harvard epidemiologist, "having higher levels above bone health are connected with decreased colorectal cancer."
The researchers concluded that while maintaining vitamin D levels above those required for the proper health of bone, lowered cancer risk in all categories, women benefited the most.
HOW TO LOWER THE RISK OF COLORECTAL CANCER
Researchers point out there is already strong evidence that several important ways to lower the risk for colorectal cancer are to adopt certain lifestyle habits.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight throughout life
- Staying physically active
- Limiting alcohol
- Not smoking
- Eating a healthy diet low in red meat and processed meat, and high in dietary fiber, including whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
- Finally, get screened. And for those with a family history of colorectal cancer, start screening at an earlier age.
Also checkout - Amazing benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential mineral that is deficient in many people across the world.
However, you may increase your vitamin D levels by increasing your sun exposure, consuming vitamin D-rich foods, and/or taking Vitamin D supplements.
If you think you're deficient in this nutrient, talk to a doctor about getting your levels evaluated.