A large European study has found that low levels of circulating vitamin D are associated with a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
From 1992 to 1998, more than 520,000 participants from 10 western European countries completed detailed dietary questionnaires and gave blood samples. After tracking the subjects for several years, researchers identified 1,248 cases of colorectal cancer.
After matching those cases with the same number of healthy controls, the study’s authors found that participants with high levels of vitamin D experienced a 40 percent decrease in colorectal cancer risk when compared to subjects with the lowest levels.
However, while below average vitamin D levels were associated with an increased risk of developing the disease, extremely high levels of the nutrient were not related to any additional reduction in colon cancer risk.
Separate studies have also linked vitamin D to the regulation of glucose control, blood pressure and inflammation, three important risk factors associated with heart disease.
The best known sources for the nutrient are the flesh of salmon, tuna and mackerel as well as milk. The vitamin can also be taken in the form of nutritional supplements.