As winter approaches for many Americans, it’s time to once again take note of vitamin D levels. This vitamin is crucial for so many important things when it comes to your good health. In particular, it’s been shown to help protect against cancer growth. Vitamin D has a special ability to attach to the receptors of cancerous cells, and stop their growth.
You already know that the best source of vitamin D is the sun. UV rays from the sun trigger vitamin D synthesis in your skin. Ten to 15 minutes of sun exposure, at least two times a week to your face, arms, hands, or back, are enough to give you a healthy dose of vitamin D. Except, of course, in winter.
For those living north of the equator, sunlight is too indirect from about October to March. Your body isn’t able to synthesize much vitamin D from the sun at all. In fact, even Australians—who by all accounts live in a sunny climate year-round—are often deficient in vitamin D.
A recent study conducted all across Australia aimed to record the effects of vitamin D supplementation for the reduction of cancer incidence, and overall mortality. Participants were 60- to 84-year-old residents of one of the four eastern Australian states, who did not have any vitamin D-related disorders, and who were not taking more than 400 international units (IU) of supplementary vitamin D per day. A total of 644 participants were randomized, and 615 completed the study (two persons withdrew because of non-serious adverse events). The researchers ultimately found that a dose of 2,000 IU/day is needed to ensure that a large proportion of the population reaches the target serum vitamin D levels.
If you want to make sure you have adequate vitamin D in your body this winter, you will likely need to supplement. Get your doctor’s advice about how best to supplement and to establish a target dose. Keeping up with vitamin D levels year-round is good health advice.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
The Link Between Vitamin D and Cancer Prevention Revealed
Tran B et al., “Recruitment and Results of a Pilot Trial of Vitamin D Supplementation in the General Population of Australia,” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. October 12, 2012.