Medical experts advise to catch some sun and increase vitamin D intake to help prevent bowel cancer
We know that the sun is fairly elusive in Britain’s January, however there is now a medical reason for you to catch some rays when it does make an appearance as new research reveals vitamin D may help prevent bowel cancer.
According to the latest research, those with the highest levels of vitamin D had a 40% lower risk of developing the disease when compared with those of the lowest levels.
The study, published in the British Medical Journal, was the largest ever study of the subject with 2,496 participants, and comes after medical experts have expressed concern over the rising cases of rickets, caused by vitamin D deficiency.
However, the research team are quick to highlight that although there is evidence of a link between the vitamin and bowel cancer, it has not yet been proven that taking vitamin D supplements prevents the disease.
‘The next step is to carry out new clinical trials to try to confirm whether vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risk of bowel cancer and whether there are any harmful effects of higher levels of vitamin D, said Dr Panagiota Mitrou, science programme manager for WCRF.
‘Looking at the figures in this latest study, it suggests that increasing the UK’s vitamin D intake by 10% could prevent 7% of cases.
‘And when you think that there are about 37,500 cased diagnose in the UK every year, that could have a big impact.’
Vitamin D is mainly sourced from the sun through skin exposure, although it is also present in certain foods such as oily fish.
Lack of time spent outside, and poor diets are blamed for the vitamin, leading nutritional experts to call for it to be added to other foods such as breakfast cereals and milk.
‘The best advice for reducing risk of bowel cancer remain to stop smoking, maintain a healthy weight, be regularly physically active, to eat more fibre and less red and processed meats and to cut down on alcohol.’