About three-quarters of American adults are deficient in a crucial nutrient: vitamin D.
Many experts say we don’t get enough vitamin D because of the widespread use of sunscreen and constant warnings about skin cancer from sun exposure.
But the risks of low vitamin D may be worse than those from sunburn. Deficits of the “sunshine vitamin” are linked to heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and low immunity.
Now, a new study shows that vitamin D may protect against cancer.[i]
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Researchers reviewed 10 randomized, controlled trials with 79,055 subjects. Scientists found that patients who took vitamin D had a 13% lower risk of dying from cancer.
Dr. Tarek Haykal was one of the study’s lead authors. He said he wishes more doctors would prescribe vitamin D, especially for cancer patients.
“We know it carries benefits with minimal side effects,” he said. “There is plenty of potential here.”[ii]
How to Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Vitamin D
Have your doctor check your vitamin D level. It’s a simple blood draw.
If your reading is less than 20 ng/mL, you need more vitamin D (ideal levels are 40-60 ng/mL.
You can raise your levels by getting 15 minutes of sun a day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. with your arms and legs exposed.
This can be difficult for people who work indoors or live in cold climates. An alternative is to take a quality vitamin D3 supplement. Don’t bother with D2, which isn’t absorbed by the body as well. We recommend 5,000 IUs a day.[iii]
You can also raise your levels by eating foods high in vitamin D3. The best sources are pasture-raised eggs and wild-caught salmon and other oily fish such as sardines, herring, and mackerel.
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