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Low levels of Vitamin D Linked to Increased Colorectal Cancer Risk

By jeremyc | June 16, 2018

It has come to light that low vitamin D levels might increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer. Conversely, people with higher than recommended levels of this vitamin are likely to be at less risk.

The primary source of vitamin D is, of course, sunlight. We also get this vitamin from certain dietary sources, like fatty fish and fortified foods.

For long vitamin D was thought to play a crucial role in bone maintenance only. However, recent research shows that vitamin D influences many key processes. Its deficiency has been associated with obesity, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and several other health conditions.

Relatively recently, scientists have also started probing whether it plays a role in cancer development or not. The aim of this new study was to find if vitamin D affects the risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is ranked at the third place in the list of most common cancers in the U.S. Data suggests that over 50,000 people would die from it this year.

Identifying the factors which increase its risk is crucial for developing new treatments. If vitamin D is found to play a role, it might be possible to come up with affordable and simple intervention.

Several studies in the past have investigated if a link between vitamin D and colorectal cancer exists. However, the results have been mixed. While some point toward a link between the two, others refute this suggestion. To settle the debate, the researchers pooled data of several previous studies and analyzed it.

The researchers have noticed a 31 percent greater risk of developing colorectal cancer among participants with vitamin D level lower than present guidelines. On the other hand, people with higher-than-normal levels of vitamin D were found to be 22 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer.

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