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Experts warn of a new deadly disease due to low levels of ‘Sunshine’ Vitamin D

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The lack of vitamin D can be harmful in many ways for health. Although, during the Covid-19 pandemic it has also been found that the vast majority of hospitalized patients had low levels of this micronutrient.

Vitamin D has been shown to be a vital micronutrient for bone health, helping to prevent or delay diseases such as rickets, osteoporosis, or osteomalacia. In addition, the possible links between this vitamin and Covid-19 have recently been verified.

Now, a new scientific study carried out by the researchers of the University of California and led by Timothy McKay investigated possible correlations between global levels of UVB radiation in 2018 and colorectal cancer rates in different countries and age groups in the same year.

According to data from 186 countrieslower exposure to UVB radiation is significantly associated with more diagnosed cases of this cancer at all ages, from 0 to 75 years. In fact, the risk is higher for people over 45, regardless of other risk factors, such as skin color, life expectancy and smoking.

“Differences in UVB [ultraviolet-B] light accounted for a large amount of the variation we saw in colorectal cancer rates, especially for people over age 45,” said study co-author Raphael Cuomo.

Researchers estimate that lower exposure to UVB radiation reduces levels of vitamin D, a deficiency of which has already been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer. 

Future studies will examine whether taking supplements to repair vitamin D deficiency can be beneficial in preventing this common cancer.

Cuomo emphasized the data can’t prove cause-and-effect and is “still preliminary.”

But “it may be that older individuals, in particular, may reduce their risk of colorectal cancer by correcting deficiencies in vitamin D,” Cuomo said in a journal news release.

Human skin produces vitamin D naturally when it comes into contact with sunshine, and having low levels of Vitamin D has been linked to a higher risk for a number of health issues.

Dr. Elena Ivanina, a gastroenterologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, called the findings “provocative.” She wasn’t involved in the research.

“It is difficult to draw any steadfast conclusions from this study, but it certainly raises a thought-provoking consideration of the role that vitamin D plays in colorectal cancer formation,” Ivanina said.

She said it might add a bit more impetus for anyone already “contemplating a move to a sunnier climate.”

Image Credit: iStock

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