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3 Things To Know About New German Study Showing Vitamin D Supplements Lower Cancer Risks

3 Things To Know About New German Study Showing Vitamin D Supplements Lower Cancer Risks

vitamin D
3 Things To Know About New German Study Showing Vitamin D Supplements Lower Cancer Risks. Image: iStock

A new study by German researchers has shown that the use of vitamin D supplements by adults age 50 or older could help reduce cancer deaths by almost 30,000 per year, helping save lives and significantly cutting healthcare costs.

Here are three important things everyone needs to know about these findings:

1. Vitamin D could cut cancer deaths by 13 percent

“In many countries around the world, the age-adjusted rate of cancer mortality has fortunately declined over the past decade,” said an epidemiologist at the DKFZ).

The findings were the result of more than seven years of studies on how vitamin D affects cancer mortality rates. The conclusion was that cancer mortality could be reduced by around 13 percent with vitamin D supplements for all cancers, according to a press release published the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).

2. Vitamin D is cheap compared to the billions cancer costs governments

The research showed that preventing 30,000 cancer deaths per year would help Germany’s healthcare system save as much as 1.154 billion euros ($1.4 billion). It also showed that providing vitamin D supplements to all adults over the age of 50 would cost 254 million euros ($308 million) per year.

“… given the often-considerable costs of many new cancer drugs, this success has often come at a high price. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is comparatively inexpensive in the usual daily doses,” said Hermann Brenner, an epidemiologist at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).


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Some countries are already using vitamin D

The researcher recommended that Germany consider introducing vitamin D supplements for its older population because of its potentially significant positive effects on cancer mortality and a possible cost saving.

They cited Finland, where foods enriched with vitamin D are already being used. Finland’s cancer mortality rate is about 20 percent lower than in Germany, researchers said.

“We should look for new ways to reduce the widespread vitamin D deficiency in the elderly population in Germany,” Brenner recommended.

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Vitamin D is present in very few foods but humans produce it naturally when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun. However, dark-colored skin, advanced age, clouds and smog can reduce the amount of your skin makes, according to the National Institutes of Health. Also, your skin does not make it from sunlight through a window.

Almost all of the U.S. milk supply is fortified with about 3 micrograms (3 millionths of a gram) of vitamin D per cup. Many plant-based alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk are also fortified. But foods made from milk, such as cheese and ice cream, are usually not fortified. It is also added to many breakfast cereals and some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and other food products, according to the NIH.

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