Vitamin D supplements can reduce risk of cancer. But here’s why you shouldn’t pop those pills just yet

It has taken us a while to understand the importance of vitamin D. Now, as a study claims that it slash the risk of cancer, here’s why we need to stay off the supplements.
vitamin D and cancer
We might have been underestimating vitamin D all this while. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Meghna Kriplani Published: 20 Nov 2020, 14:28 pm IST
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It is safe to assume that most of us know our vitamins. We know vitamin A is what we get from carrots and it’s good for our eyesight. Vitamin C can found in citrus fruits, and it keeps the cold and cough away. And soaking in sunlight can give us vitamin D, which is what we need for strong bones.

While we have our school textbooks to thanks for this lowdown on nutrition, the truth is that of all the vitamins—the role of vitamin D is the most understated. The sunshine vitamin not just helps our body absorb calcium better, but also keeps the immune system in check. In fact, research also suggests that it can keep certain kinds of cancer at bay.

Vitamin D can reduce your risk of developing advanced cancers

A study from the United States of America suggests that taking vitamin D supplements can slash your risk of advanced cancers.

According to a news report published in the British news daily, Express, the US study shows that people with normal BMIs on vitamin D supplements were 38% less likely to develop an advanced cancer.

Vitamin D deficiency is a growing concern amongst youngsters. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The author of the study, Dr Paulette Chandler of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston told Express: “These ­findings suggest vitamin D may reduce the risk of developing advanced cancers.”

“Vitamin D is a supplement that’s readily available, cheap and has been used and studied for decades,” she added.

“Our findings, especially the strong risk reduction in individuals with ­normal weight, provide new information about the relationship between vitamin D and advanced cancer,” says Dr Chandler.

These findings need to be taken with a pinch of salt

There is no denying that vitamin D is truly beneficial for the body and that being deficient in it comes with its own set of consequences. But popping vitamin D supplements just like that can also pose health risks.

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Vitamin D is NOT a water-soluble vitamin—which means, that an excess of it won’t be flushed out of your body when you pee. Rather, it can give you vitamin D toxicity which manifests as a build-up of calcium in the blood stream. This can further put you at the risk of kidney problems.

Furthermore, the study authors are yet to reveal clinical recommendations about how much vitamin D one must eat for how long to see these anti-cancer benefits.

Talk to your doctor about vitamin D supplements before popping one yourself, and in the meantime soak in the sunshine to get your dose of vitamin D.

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About the Author

Waging a war against diets one cookie at a time, Meghna is a content creator and editor focusing on women's issues, wellness, and lifestyle. ...Read More

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