Vitamin D not linked with overall Cancer Mortality

Serum vitamin D levels are not linked with overall cancer mortality. In fact, high levels of the vitamin may be linked to reduced mortality from colorectal cancer, in particular, according to a recently study published on October 30, 2007 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The researchers, D. Michal Freedman, and colleagues noted that Vitamin D had been hypothesized to reduce cancer mortality via its effects on incidence and/or survival, but that epidemiologic studies of the link of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and the risk of cancer, have been mostly limited to incident cancers at a few sites.

Using data from Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III,) 16818 individuals aged 17 years or older at enrollment followed from 1988–1994 through 2000, the researchers examined the link between baseline levels of serum 25(OH) D and cancer mortality.  

After multivariable adjustment, the researchers found no link between vitamin D and overall cancer mortality, even on stratifying by sex and ethnicity. On the other hand, they found an inverse association between 25(OH) D levels and colorectal cancer mortality, colorectal cancer mortality decreasing significantly as vitamin D level increased.

Noted the editors, "While vitamin D may well have multiple benefits beyond bone, health professionals and the public should not in a rush to judgment assume that vitamin D is a magic bullet and consume high amounts of vitamin D."



Freedman DM, Looker AC, Chang S, Graubard BI. Prospective Study of Serum Vitamin D and Cancer Mortality in the United States. J. Natl. Cancer Inst..2007; 0: djm204v1-1602