Making vitamin D a staple part of our diet is important for essential functions like maintaining strong muscles and bones as we age. According to new research, getting enough of the nutrient can also greatly reduce our risk of colorectal cancer!
A study published in the journal Gastroenterology looked at how daily vitamin D intake might prevent colorectal cancer in participants before turning 50. Researchers compared the results of individuals who consumed either more or less than 300 IU of vitamin D daily from 1991 to 2015. They found that getting at least 300 IU of vitamin D a day (the same as drinking three 8-ounce glasses of milk) cut the participants’ risk of early onset colon cancer by 50 percent.
One of the study’s authors, Hanseul Kim, MS, shared with us that food and drink sources were much more effective at decreasing colon cancer risk than supplements. “One possible explanation could be that dietary vitamin D may capture long-term dietary patterns even before the baseline. Whereas, supplemental vitamin D might not reflect supplemental vitamin D intake before the baseline,” she said.
Basically, diet is a better measure of vitamin D intake because it’s a longer established habit compared to starting a new supplement, which could take about three to four months before you start seeing improvements.
“Another possible explanation might be that certain nutrients in multivitamins could offset the beneficial effects of vitamin D. There could also be additional factors in diet such as calcium that might work with vitamin D to lower risk,” Kim added.
In other words, any additional nutrients in vitamin D supplements might override its positive effects, but you can’t go wrong loading your diet with vitamin-filled foods. Thankfully, there’s plenty of tasty options beyond drinking three glasses of milk a day to get your daily dose. Try adding foods like chicken breasts, broccoli, and almonds to your plate more often. Fatty fish like rainbow trout and white mushrooms are also yummy choices that can boost your vitamin D levels!
Whatever gets you at least 300 IU of this vitamin every day will protect your body against colorectal cancer over time. And the great news is, even if you’re over 50 eating a diet loaded with vitamin D is still beneficial and can help to maintain a healthy colon! Plus, you’ll also avoid a vitamin D deficiency, which can cause body aches, fatigue, and blue moods. It’s definitely worth getting your fill of vitamin D from delicious foods to ward off any health troubles down the line!