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Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Date:2/28/2011

SUNDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A new study says it takes far more vitamin D than initially thought to dramatically cut the risk of several major diseases, including breast cancer.

"We found that daily intakes of vitamin D by adults in the range of 4,000-8,000 IU are needed to maintain blood levels of vitamin D metabolites in the range needed to reduce by about half the risk of several diseases -- breast cancer, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes," study co-author Dr. Cedric Garland, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California at San Diego, said in a university news release.

Garland admitted that he was surprised that the levels required were so much higher than the 400 IU a day needed to vanquish rickets in the 20th century.

Vitamin D supplements often come in pills or capsules containing 1,000 or 2,000 international units. But 4,000 to 8,000 IU a day is still much lower than the range considered safe by the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine, the researchers noted.

The study -- which also involved the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha -- was based on a survey of several thousand people who took supplements ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 IU per day. The volunteers also underwent blood tests to determine the levels of vitamin D metabolites circulating in their blood.

Some studies suggest that only 10 percent of people in the United States have the appropriate level of the vitamin D-related form in their blood to prevent disease linked to a deficiency of the vitamin. These people tend to work outdoors, where their vitamin D levels are boosted through sun exposure.

Last year, a National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee announced that 4,000 IU a day of vitamin D appears safe for adults and kids aged 9 and up.

The IOM's recommended minimum daily level is 600 IU, however, and the Institute not
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