Slash risk of dying from cancer by 12% by taking a supplement – study findings

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Many people rely on daily vitamin supplements to support their health and wellbeing.

Certain nutrients are vital when it comes to our bodies functioning to the best of their ability.

However, new research suggests this could even help reduce your likelihood of dying from cancer.

A study, published in Ageing Research Reviews journal, found that taking vitamin D3 (a form of vitamin D) daily could reduce the risk of cancer death by 12 percent.

As part of the research, a team from the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg, analysed 14 existing studies which included almost 105,000 participants.

The potential effects of vitamin D supplementation and the development or prognosis of cancer have already been considered in various previous studies.

Ben Schöttker, an epidemiologist at the German Cancer Research Centre, explained: “Based on current studies, vitamin D3 supplementation probably does not protect against developing cancer, but it could reduce the likelihood of dying from cancer.

“However, previous studies on cancer mortality have yielded very different results, and we were interested in the reasons for this.

“By re-evaluating all previous studies on the topic, we wanted to help produce robust results on this issue, which is so relevant to population health.”

When evaluating the studies the researchers focused on those whose participants had been randomly assigned injections of either vitamin D3 or a placebo.

When all 14 studies were pooled, no statistically significant results emerged.

However, when the studies were split according to whether vitamin D3 was taken daily in a low dose (400 to 4,000 IU per day) or in higher doses administered at longer intervals (60,000 to 120,000 IU once per month or less), a large difference was seen.

Among the four studies with the infrequent higher doses, there was no effect on cancer mortality.

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But in the summary of the ten studies with daily dosing, the researchers determined a 12 percent reduction in cancer mortality.

“We observed this 12 percent reduction in cancer mortality after untargeted vitamin D3 administration to individuals with and without vitamin D deficiency,” Mr Schöttker said.

“We can therefore assume that the effect is significantly higher for those people who are actually vitamin D deficient.”

A more detailed analysis of the studies with daily intake further showed that people aged 70 and older benefited most from vitamin D3 therapy.

The effect was also most evident when vitamin D intake was started before the cancer diagnosis.

Hermann Brenner, epidemiologist and prevention expert at the centre, added: “This work underlines the great potential of vitamin D3 administration in the prevention of cancer deaths.

“Regular intake at low doses is associated with almost negligible risk and very low cost.”

The daily low dose of 400 to 4,000 international units referred to in the study fits the range of standard supplements that can be bought in shops in the UK.

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