People with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis are often deficient in vitamin D. Researchers in Boston wondered whether a lack of vitamin D would make them even more vulnerable to developing cancer. Such patients are already at higher risk of gastrointestinal malignancy than healthy people.
The health care records from 2800 patients with inflammatory bowel diseases showed that during 11 years of follow-up, about 7 percent developed cancer. The patients were included in the study because each had a circulating vitamin D measurement (25-hydroxyvitamin D) before the study began. Nearly one-third of them were deficient, as determined by a level below 20 ng/ml.
Vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of a subsequent cancer by about 80 percent, while higher levels of vitamin D were associated with a reduced risk of both colorectal and lung cancer.
You can learn more about vitamin D and its benefits as well as how to get enough from our 8 page Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency.