Higher Vitamin D Levels Associated With Lower Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sharon L. McDonnell MPH
Encinitas, California

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Higher vitamin D levels in the blood have been associated with a lower risk of multiple cancer types including colorectal and breast. Using data from two study cohorts of women aged 55 years and older (N=2,304), we investigated the association between serum 25(OH)D concentration, the marker of vitamin D in the blood, and risk of all non-skin cancers combined across a broad range of 25(OH)D concentrations. We found that women with 25(OH)D concentrations ≥40 ng/ml had a 67% lower risk of cancer compared to women with concentrations <20 ng/ml. We also found that the greatest decrease in risk occurred between ~10-40 ng/ml. These findings suggest that increasing 25(OH)D concentrations to a minimum of 40 ng/ml could substantially reduce  cancer incidence and associated mortality in the population.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Clinicians should be aware that vitamin D levels well above the 20 ng/ml level recommended by the IOM for bone health are needed to reduce the risk of cancer. It is important to measure their patient’s vitamin D levels and encourage patients to achieve a level between 40 and 60 ng/ml for the prevention of cancer.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future studies should base their study design on nutrient physiology, taking into account the sigmoidal nature of nutrient response by assessing participants whose basal status was deficient (<20 ng/ml) and using a vitamin D dose sufficient to raise 25(OH)D concentrations to above the response range (~40 ng/ml).

Medical Research: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Patients can also discover for themselves how much vitamin D is in their blood through organizations like GrassrootsHealth and take control of their nutritional health by choosing to increase their levels through supplements and/or modest sun exposure.


Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations ≥40 ng/ml Are Associated with >65% Lower Cancer Risk: Pooled Analysis of Randomized Trial and Prospective Cohort Study

Sharon L. McDonnell , Carole Baggerly, Christine B. French, Leo L. Baggerly, Cedric F. Garland, Edward D. Gorham, Joan M. Lappe, Robert P. Heaney

PLOS One 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0152441

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