Vitamin D Status Benefits Whole Body Health

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health has found that vitamin D deficiency may account for several thousand premature deaths annually.

The researchers reviewed 63 studies (from 1966 to 2004) that examined the worldwide relationship between vitamin D and certain types of cancer. The majority of studies found a protective relationship between sufficient vitamin D status and lower risk of cancer, especially in cancers of the colon, breast, prostate, and ovary.

Vitamin D is acquired through either the diet or exposure to sunlight. Food sources include milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified orange juice. A typical serving provides approximately 100 international units (IU). Researchers suggested that people might want to consider a vitamin supplement to raise their overall intake to 1,000 IUs per day. Supplementing with additional vitamin D could be especially important for people living in northern areas, where shorter days and longer nights result in less vitamin D from sunlight.

The evidence suggests that improving vitamin D status through diet and supplements could reduce cancer incidence and mortality with few or no adverse effects and very low cost.

American Journal of Public Health. Feb 2006. 96(2):252-61.