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The Importance and Benefit of Vitamin D

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The Importance and Benefit of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for Canadians, not only in the winter, but also during the summer months. Find out why in this blog post from InspireHealth.

We’re posting monthly blogs from the integrative cancer care clinic InspireHealth. This month we learn about the importance of vitamin D—not only in the winter, but also during the hot summer days.

Vitamin D may make a substantial difference in cancer prevention and survival outcomes, yet many Canadians have sub-optimal levels of vitamin D.  This is even more prevalent during the winter months where there are fewer hours of sunlight, but you may want to think twice before you dismiss the importance of vitamin D in the summer! When we wear sunscreen to protect our skin our ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight is hindered. Plus, we synthesize less vitamin D as we age, so we may not be soaking up as much vitamin D as much as we think during the summer months.

Vitamin D is an essential component of healthy living, and can easily be incorporated into everyone’s lifestyle.  The benefits of vitamin D are substantial, and perhaps even surprising to learn. 

There is no doubt that vitamin D helps boost the immune system, but it also has the added benefit of potentially reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, multiple sclerosis, depression, and even the flu!

We get a relatively small amount of vitamin D from food and therefore the vast majority of our vitamin D stores come from sunlight.  Supplementation with vitamin D could prevent approximately 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 cases of colorectal cancer in North America each year, as concluded by a study published in the Annals of Epidemiology.

Blood vitamin D level at the time of diagnosis for breast and colon cancer is also highly correlated with survival.

This one small thing carries a lot of weight for our overall health and development—at least 200 human genes are regulated by vitamin D! Ensuring that your vitamin D level is adequate is a simple and safe approach to cancer prevention and treatment, as well as many other diseases. 

Health Canada recommends 600 IU per day for adults 70 and younger but some experts suggest taking 2,000 IU per day for both skeletal and extraskeletal benefits.

Residents of British Columbia with stage 4 colon or rectal cancer interested in participating in a vitamin D trial at InspireHealth clinic can get more information at this website.

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