Vitamin D may lower pancreatic cancer risk

Taking vitamin D supplements and eating foods rich in the nutrient may reduce a person`s risk for getting pancreatic cancer, one of the most rapidly fatal forms of the disease, a preliminary study has shown.

In a 16-year prospective study of more than 100,000 Americans, researchers found that people who took the recommended intake of vitamin D -- 400 IU a day -- lowered their chance of getting pancreatic cancer by 41 percent, as compared to those who did not take the vitamin. Study participants who took 150 IUs daily also saw a lesser reduction in risk of 22 percent. Intake beyond 400 IUs daily showed no additional benefit, reports Monsters and Critics.

According to ABC News, the researchers conclude that vitamin D may have some role in the prevention of pancreatic cancer, possibly as a type of tumor-fighting vitamin that keeps cancers from growing and multiplying.

Thankfully, vitamin D is not hard to find. It is found in many foods, and skin naturally makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. It also may fight off more cancers than just this one.

"We have enough data to conclude that vitamin D is linked to many types of cancer," said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. "I was originally skeptical, but the data from multiple studies changed my view."

In addition to vitamin D's link to pancreatic cancer, connections between vitamin D and breast, prostate and colon cancer have also been suggested.

Lichtenfeld said there should be more study of the link between the vitamin and cancer, but the research is at an early stage.

"There is not enough data to make recommendations at this point," he said.