New research links higher levels of vitamin D with a reduced risk of cancer. The
"We have quantitated the ability of adequate amounts of vitamin D to prevent all types of invasive cancer combined, which had been terra incognita until publication of this paper," Cedric Garland, PhD., adjunct professor in the UC San Diego School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine and Public Health and member of Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health said in a university release. Garland and his late brother, Frank, were the first to connect vitamin D deficiency and cancer back in 1980.
Garland and his team designed the study to determine what blood level of vitamin D was needed to effectively reduce the risk of the disease. Using 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the main form of the vitamin in the blood, as a marker, they analyzed data from two previous studies. One was a randomized clinical trial of 1,169 women. The other was a prospective cohort study of 1,135 women. Women with levels of 40 ng/ml or more had a 67 percent lower risk of cancer than women with levels of 20 ng/ml or less, according to the researchers. The study results were published by the journal PLOS ONE and noted on sciencedaily.com.
Scientists have been haggling over the optimum daily intake of vitamin D for years. Garland doesn’t recommend a specific dose. Rather, he said the study simply clarifies that a reduced cancer risk becomes measurable at 40 ng/ml, with additional benefit at higher levels, and that the data suggests boosting vitamin D status “is a key cancer prevention tool.”
Another recent study found that cancer patients with higher vitamin D levels when diagnosed have better survival rates and remain in remission longer than patients who are vitamin D deficient.