Vitamin D Recommendations too Low for Cancer Prevention

Researchers at Creighton University School of Medicine and University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine are saying that people need to get a much higher amount of vitamin D to protect themselves from cancer.

“We found that daily intakes of vitamin D by adults in the range of 4,000-8,000 IU are needed to maintain blood levels of vitamin D metabolites in the range needed to reduce by about half the risk of several diseases – breast cancer, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes,” said Cedric Garland, Dr. P.H., professor of family and preventive medicine at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention recommends that people get their vitamin D from a combination of our dietary choices and supplements, not by making an effort to get more sun exposure which helps out bodies produce it.

“For those who are concerned about vitamin D inadequacy, diet and vitamin D supplementation are the most appropriate methods to obtain adequate vitamin D – it is not appropriate to seek exposure to ultraviolet radiation,” says dermatologist Henry W. Lim, MD, FAAD, chairman of dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michighan.

Since few natural foods contain vitamin D, this underscores the importance of supplementation with a multivitamin or even fish oil. The latter is particularly good, since cod liver oil has 1,360 IU, about a third of the new recommendations. Other than supplements here are a few natural food sources for vitamin D:

  • Fish, such as salmon (447 IU in 3 oz.), mackerel (388 IU in 3 oz.), tuna (154 IU in 3 oz.)

Foods fortified with vitamin D (amounts vary, so check the label, but this is a ballpark idea):

  • Milk (154 IU)
  • Orange Juice (100 IU)
  • Yogurt (80 IU)

There’s no need to panic and think that you have to scurry for foods with vitamin D, partly because if you are in the midday sun for as little as 10 minutes you can get ample amounts to produce it yourself. That’s because when the sun’s UV rays hit your skin, there’s a reaction that enables skin cells to manufacture vitamin D.

This is not an endorsement of tanning or even extra exposure. Most of us get enough – frankly more than enough – exposure to the potentially harmful rays of the sun. Just consider supplementation, adding fish to your diet, and some vitamin D fortified food and you should be fine.

(via: Nutrition Research Center)

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