What do you think is the best way to prevent colon cancer? Eat plenty of veggies? Don't eat processed meat? While both of those are great, an exciting new study says it's something much easier.
The study examined people who had no symptoms of colon cancer. The goal was to determine what role diet, exercise, smoking, and other behaviors played in the development of colon polyps. These are small growths in the colon that can turn into cancer if you allow them to remain.
Here's what proved to be the most effective way to stop colon cancer - vitamin D. That's right! Vitamin D cut the risk almost in half!
The protective role of vitamin D was amazing. Patients who consumed the amount of vitamin D normally contained in daily servings of milk and fish were 40% less likely to develop polyps than those who got little or no vitamin D. This means you can cut your risk of colon cancer almost in half simply by paying attention to your levels of a simple vitamin!
The study also confirmed previous research that found cereal fiber and regular use of pain relievers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can reduce your risk of having advanced polyps. Not surprisingly, they also learned that smoking, heavy drinking, and a family history of polyps raises your risk.
The researchers conducted the study at 13 VA medical centers. It lasted three years and involved over 300 people. All 300 were between the ages of 50 and 75, and almost all of them (97%) were men. Each person began with a colonoscopy to look for colon polyps. This diagnostic tool is a long flexible tube that is snaked through the rectum into the entire large intestine, and can detect and remove abnormal growths. The American Cancer Society recommends we all have a colonoscopy starting at age 50 to help detect colorectal cancer, which is diagnosed in about 147,000 Americans each year.
Men who consumed more vitamin D in their diet each day were less likely to develop colon polyps. And men who consumed the most of the vitamin (more than 645 IUs) daily reduced their risk the most. Most people – especially those who are at higher risk of colon cancer – should take 5,000 IUs daily. Taking this much could reduce your risk even more than the low amount used in the study.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
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Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 290, no. 22: 2959-2967.