Taking a daily vitamin D supplement could reduce the risk of dying from cancer by 13 percent, new research finds.
Vitamin D is produced by the body when the skin is exposed to sunshine.
Vitamin D may work to protect the body against cancer through the production of an enzyme that attacks acids linked to cancer.
Modern lifestyles mean many people do not get outside enough.
Up to half of the world’s population is deficient in vitamin D.
Depression symptoms like energy loss, concentration problems and lack of pleasure can be signs of vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is found in oily fish, egg yolks, fortified cereals and some margarine spreads.
The conclusions come from three new separate studies presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago.
One study found that vitamin D deficiency is linked to double the risk of pancreatic cancer and a higher risk of bowel cancer.
Dr. Shifeng Mao, study author, said:
“We are living in a modern society with a fast-paced lifestyle.
People spend significant amount of time at work in a concrete building and have much less time for leisure, let alone being exposed to nature and sunlight, so Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent.”
A second study including 79,000 people found that taking a vitamin D supplement reduced the risk of cancer by 13 percent.
Dr Tarek Haykal, that studies author, said:
“I would like to see more oncologists and primary care doctors consider prescribing vitamin D for their patients as it carries many benefits with minimal side effects.”
A third study involving 2,280 men found that those given vitamin D, along with statins, were at a 38 percent lower risk of dying of prostate cancer.
Other studies presented at the same conference found that exercise helps cancer patients to survive for longer.
The studies were presented at American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago in 2019.