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If you’ve already gone through the rite of passage that turning 50 brings — a colonoscopy — you know that for every year that passes, your chance of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer goes up (which is why age brings the screening that everyone dreads).
But, the truth is that no matter how much you dread it and would like to never go through the prep that keeps your tied to the toilet, much less a procedure where a camera is put where you’d rather have nothing put ever, it’s necessary.
That’s because every one of us has a one in 20 (or five percent) chance of developing colorectal cancer — the second deadliest cancer in the US. By comparison, only one in 5,000 of us will die in a car wreck.
Luckily, new research has found a way for you to improve your odds and ward off colorectal cancer, and it’s as simple as popping a vitamin pill each day.
Higher levels recommended
So, what vitamin am I talking about?
Research that found a link between how much vitamin D is circulating in your blood on a regular basis and your chances of developing colorectal cancer.
Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), the research was actually an analysis of 17 different independent scientific studies around the world and took into account the data of over 12,800 participants.
And, after controlling for body weight, physical activity, and known risk factors for colorectal cancer, it all came down to this one thing…
People with higher blood levels of vitamin D are less likely to end up with cancer.
In fact, the lowest risk of colorectal cancer was found to be in people with blood levels of vitamin D between 30 and 40 ng/mL (75 to 100 nmol/L). Beyond that level, the risk didn’t continue to decline.
But, there are two factors you need to take into consideration.
First, the benefit that higher levels of vitamin D delivered was apparently stronger in women than in men.
As the researchers put it, “Higher circulating 25(OH)D (vitamin D) was related to a statistically significant, substantially lower colorectal cancer risk in women and non–statistically significant lower risk in men.”
To put simply, it can help both sexes, but women especially should up their D levels to avoid colorectal cancer.
The second thing you need to know is that the current recommendations for how much vitamin D you need is based on levels that are scientifically proven to improve bone health — not stave off colon cancer — and they’re not enough.
Upping your D game
For a while, the skinny on vitamin D was a little confusing. Some studies came out disputing earlier ones that had attributed many disease-fighting benefits to vitamin D. Perhaps those who were skeptical just hadn’t found the vitamin D sweet spot.
To know your vitamin D status, Dr. Michael Cutler, a board-certified family physician with more than 20 years of experience, recommends first having your levels checked by your doctor.
The test you want to ask for is the 25(OH)D blood test.
If your levels come back below 35ng/ml, he recommends a three-step process to boost your D:
- Eat foods rich in vitamin D like cold-water fish, dairy, butter, and mushrooms.
- Spend 20 minutes per day in bright sunlight (but shield your face with paraben-free sunscreen).
- Take 1,000 International Units (IU) daily or 5,000 IU twice weekly of vitamin D3.
So, up your vitamin D game starting today, to prevent colorectal cancer tomorrow.
Editor’s note: Discover how to live a cancer prevention lifestyle — using foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs — as well as little-known therapies allowed in other countries but denied to you by American mainstream medicine. Click here to discover Surviving Cancer! A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Causes, Treatments and Big Business Behind Medicine’s Most Frightening Diagnosis!
- Circulating Vitamin D and Colorectal Cancer Risk: An International Pooling Project of 17 Cohorts — JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute
- Vitamin D and Colorectal Cancer — Berkeley Wellness