Can Vitamin D Lower Risk of Developing Cancer?

Question: Will taking Vitamin D lower the risk of developing cancer? According to a recent study, published in the journal PLOS One, it found that it is possible that cancer risks drop when blood levels of vitamin D reach 40 ng/ml or higher.

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that the age-adjusted cancer incidence was 1,020 cases per 100,000 person-years in the Lappe cohort and 722 per 100,000 person-years in the GrassrootsHealth cohort. Cancer incidence declined with increased 25(OH)D. Women with 25(OH)D concentrations of 40 ng/ml or greater had a 67 percent lower risk of cancer than women with levels of 20 ng/ml or less.

Prof. Cedric Garland, DrPH, said “These findings support an inverse association between 25(OH)D and risk of cancer and highlight the importance for cancer prevention of achieving a vitamin D blood serum concentration above 20 ng/ml, the concentration recommended by the IOM for bone health.”

Garland said a broad effort to increase 25(OH)D concentrations to a minimum of 40 ng/ml in the general population would likely and substantially reduce cancer incidence and associated mortality.

“Primary prevention of cancer, rather than expanding early detection or improving treatment, will be essential to reversing the current upward trend of cancer incidence worldwide,” the researchers wrote. “This analysis suggests that improving vitamin D status is a key prevention tool.”