How beneficial is Vitamin D? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

How beneficial is Vitamin D?

November 1, 2007

Tifton -- People who have been soaking up sunshine to get more Vitamin D to lower their risk of cancer are finding gray clouds in the forecast.

A large study recently found that low or high levels of Vitamin D played no role in a patient's risk of dying from cancer.

 We could all use a little sunshine in our lives, after all it's a good source of vitamin D, but news that vitamin D might not be as powerful as once thought in the fight against cancer is turning sunny skies gray.

"There are other older studies like the Womens' Health Initiative, there was a large study a few years ago that showed no beneficial effect," said Dr. Richard Pierzchajlo of Tift Regional Hospital.

Typical in life, there's an exception, the study did find people with more Vitamin D in their blood had a lower risk of death from colorectal cancer, but why the differing results?

"The things that we tell you this year, might be different recommendation next year and again those things need to be customized for the individual patient," said Dr. Pierzchajlo.

That's why doctors say early detection and routine check-ups are key. "Probably the most important thing people need to be doing now for colon cancer is early detection, with early colon rectal screening."

That means a colonoscopy if you're over 50, earlier if you're at higher risk because of a family history of colon cancer.

"It's constantly changing and you just have to be aware of all the different things that are coming out," said Dr. Pierzchajlo.

That means talking with your doctor if you've heard differing studies and developing a wellness profile that fits your body, including vitamins like D and calcium that doctor's say everyone should be getting daily.

The most recent study on vitamin D and cancer risks involved 17,000 people. Those findings were reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

    • You can click HERE to see the study.

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