Researchers looked at data from nearly 95,000 women who took part in a long-term study on diet and lifestyle. They found that those who had high amounts of vitamin D in their diets, particularly from dairy products, had a 50% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer at a young age than those with lower amounts of the vitamin.
“These findings support how vitamin D may be important for younger people in terms of colorectal cancer prevention, not just those who are older,” said study co-author Kimmie Ng, MD, of the Department of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber. Cancer Institute.
Overall, the incidence of colorectal cancer has decreased, which experts think this is due to more effective screening as well as better acceptance of lifestyle changes such as healthy eating and exercise. However, this decrease does not apply to young people. In fact, The number of colorectal cancers is rising so fast among people under the age of 40, a consortium of academic and government experts was assembled last year to tackle the problem.
Looking at possible causes, they pointed to diet as one of the main risk factors, especially the lack of fruits and vegetables in many diets. Findings such as the vitamin D connection are part of solving the puzzle of why the number of cases is rising so rapidly, Ng says.
Another important aspect of the research is that: the results were especially pronounced for those who received the vitamin from dietary sources, compared with participants who took a vitamin D supplement. That probably applies to any form of vitamin or beneficial compound, adds: Seema Bonney, MD, founder of the Antiaging and Longevity Center of Philadelphia.
“Use food as medicine whenever possible,” she says. “That way you get the full range of what healthy foods have to offer, such as fiber, vitamins and minerals.”
Also, vitamin D is fat-soluble, she adds, meaning it does not dissolve in water and absorbs better when combined with some type of fat. That’s why, for example, it’s so much more effective to choose dairy products that are not fat-free. The fat in the dairy helps facilitate your body’s absorption of vitamin D.
Plus, Bonney adds, loading up on vitamin-rich foods helps every other part of your body — not just your digestive system.
For more, be sure to read 5 Amazing Benefits of Vitamin D, According to Experts.