Health Watch -- Preventing Cancer Deaths: Vitamin D (part 2)

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


We're talking about fighting cancer this week on Health Watch. Previously, we reported on a recent study that found vitamin D could help prevent cancer. People with lower levels of vitamin D had a greater risk for developing cancer.

You get vitamin D either through your diet or from sun exposure. People who live in areas with less sun, those who don’t get outside much and those with dark skin may not get adequate vitamin D from the sun. Elderly people are also at risk because age diminishes the ability to convert vitamin D to a usable form, and obese people may have trouble metabolizing vitamin D through fatty tissues.

Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, says most adults can meet their vitamin D needs with two glasses of fortified milk a day. Those older than 50 may need to take a supplement. Taking a daily walk outside in sunlight will also help.

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January 2006

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