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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cancer patients with high levels of vitamin D - the sunshine vitamin - are more likely to survive, research has found.

Cancer patients with high levels of vitamin D more likely to survive
Article in the Telegraph


"The study carried out by a team at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard School of Public Health, both in Boston, USA, found colon cancer patients who had abundant vitamin D in their blood were less likely to die than those with a deficiency.

Previous studies have found high levels of the vitamin can reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer by around half but it its effect on patients who already have the disease has never been investigated."

"Kimmie Ng, and Charles Fuchs, of Dana-Farber, wrote: "Our data suggest that higher prediagnosis plasma levels of [vitamin D] after a diagnosis of colorectal cancer may significantly improve overall survival.

"Future trials should examine the role of vitamin D supplementation in patients with colorectal cancer."

Vitamin D is found in eggs, oily fish and many cereals and powdered milk are fortified with it.

Pregnant women and small children are recommended to take supplements.

The body can also make the vitamin when exposed to sunlight, 15 minutes of exposure on the hands and face is enough for a daily dose although many parts of Northern England do not receive the right kind of sunlight in the winter to ensure sufficient levels.

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with rickets and other bone problems but too much can also weaken bones."