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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of colon cancer

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According to new research, countries with more overcast days had higher colon cancer rates. Vitamin D deficiency, sometimes known as the “sunshine vitamin,” might be to blame.

Experts at the University of California claim increasing your vitamin D levels through exposure to sunlight may help lower your risk of colon cancer.

“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.

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.

What about colon cancer? To find out, the San Diego researchers looked at data from 186 nations to see whether there were any links between local UVB light exposure and the incidence of colon cancer.

They discovered a link between reduced UVB exposure and a greater risk of cancer in persons aged 0 to 75 years old.

Cuomo’s group found that after controlling for variables including skin pigmentation, life expectancy, and smoking, the link between reduced UVB and the risk of colorectal cancer remained substantial for individuals over 45.

Other factors that may impact UVB exposure and vitamin D levels, such as the usage of vitamin D supplements, clothes worn by people, and even air pollution, were not included in the study, according to the researchers.

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.”

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