Studies reveal that Vitamin D has substantial benefits beyond just contributing to healthy bones. Findings from a study by physicians at Michigan State University have found that vitamin D could help cancer patients live longer if taken for three or more years. Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death in the United States, according to the CDC.
Lowering the risk of cancer death
Vitamin D showed a substantial effect on reducing the risk of death among patients with cancer. There was no significant proof that it could protect people against getting cancer, although this is still up for debate, particularly by those in the field of alternative medicine.
Zeroing in on the information that involved cancer incidence and mortality, researchers found that the difference in mortality rate between the placebo control group and the vitamin D group was statistically significant. Significant enough, in fact, to demonstrate just how vital boosting vitamin D levels might be for cancer patients.
Researchers are still working to establish the amount of the vitamin to take in supplemental form, and what level is needed in the blood. It is also unclear how much longer vitamin D can extend the lifespan of cancer patients and why it has this result. However, they do feel that taking a vitamin D supplement for at least three years is required to see the benefit.
Results show enough promise to recommend that more doctors and oncologists prescribe vitamin D to their patients. Vitamin D supplementation carries numerous benefits with minimal side effects.
Boosting vitamin D levels for health
Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” and is produced by the human body in response to sun exposure. Vitamin D can be synthesized by the body when sunlight hits the skin. It can be consumed in food or supplements as well. Having adequate vitamin D is essential for numerous reasons, including:
- Maintaining the health of bones and teeth
- Supporting the health of the brain, immune system, and nervous system
- Regulating insulin levels and aiding in diabetes management
- Supporting cardiovascular health and lung function
- Protecting against a variety of conditions such as type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis
- Influencing the expression of genes involved in cancer development
Even just sensible sun exposure on your bare skin for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per week can support adequate vitamin D production. However, vitamin D breaks down quite quickly, so stores may run low, particularly in the winter months.
If possible, get your required Vitamin D from natural sources. Foods with vitamin D include:
- Cod liver oil
- Herring, fresh, raw
- Maitake mushrooms, raw
- Swordfish, cooked
- Sockeye salmon
- Canned tuna
- Canned sardines
- Fortified milk
- Chicken eggs
If you choose to take a vitamin D supplement, select your brand with care, as the FDA does not oversee the safety or purity of supplements. An alternative medicine doctor can evaluate your vitamin D levels and recommend a vitamin D supplement that is highly pure, bioavailable, and convenient.