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How much vitamin d per day should I take to prevent cancer?

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By Jimmy Downs

Friday Oct 26, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Dr. Michael F. Holick of Boston University Medical Center in Boston, MA published a report most recently in Anticancer Agents Medicinal Chemistry saying that in order for vitamin D to have an anticancer effect, one needs to maintain 40 to 60 ng/mL serum vitamin D.

Dr. Holick says increased sun exposure which leads to producing sufficient serum vitamin D levels reduces risk of dying of cancer, which has been known for more than 100 years.

The association between high serum vitamin D and low risk of developing cancer and dying from the disease has been ascertained in many epidemiologic studies.   Vitamin D is believed to have a chemopreventative effect against cancer because most cells in the body not only have vitamin D receptors but also the capability of converting 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D.

And 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, once formed, according to the author, can inhibit cellular proliferation, promote cellular maturation, and prevent angiogenesis, and cause apoptosis, together leading to the prevention of cancer.

The cancers vitamin D can help prevent include deathly cnacers like colon cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and ovarian cancer, Dr. Holick says.  

People diagnosed with cancer often suffered vitamin D deficiency.  Taking vitamin D supplements, sun exposure and eating vitamin D rich foods all can help improve the vitamin D status, which can not only help bone health, but also reduce risk of developing cancer and dying of cancer.

Dr. Holick says in order to prevent the development of cancer and death from the disease, a serum level of 40 to 60 ng of 25-hydroxyvitamin D /mL blood is needed.   This level can be reached in children by taking 600 to 1000 IU of vitamin D and in adults by taking 1500 to 2000 IUs of vitamin D daily from diet, supplements and sun exposure. 

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