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November 30, 2010 | 2 minute read

Vitamin D for Cancer Prevention: No Supplements Needed

After years of tantalizing research suggesting that Americans need more vitamin D to prevent cancer and other diseases,  the Institute of Medicine (IOM) announced new dietary level recommendations for vitamin D and calcium today. The IOM said people ages 1-70 should get 600 international units (IUs) daily.  Those 71 and over should get 800 IUs daily.

They also stated that most Americans do have adequate vitamin D blood levels and therefore get enough vitamin D in their diet and from sun exposure.

This report supports the AICR’s recommendation that “Dietary supplements are not recommended for cancer prevention.”

The IOM panel reports that research does not show any benefit for vitamin D intake above the 600 IUs so that vitamin D supplementation is not recommended for general public health.

The researchers increased the levels for calcium and vitamin D based on strong data for bone health.

Some proponents of vitamin D supplements point to reports of widespread vitamin D deficiency and some research suggesting that many diseases, including cancer, are caused by lack of vitamin D.  The experts noted that research on vitamin D and cancer prevention, for example, was far less consistent than even they had thought and so much more research needs to be done in areas other than bone health.

The bottom line on vitamin D for most Americans:  eat a balanced diet that includes fatty fish, milk and other vitamin D fortified foods.

How to get the 600 IUs daily?

1.     3 oz of Sockeye salmon provides over 700 IUs.

2.     2 cups milk fortified with vitamin D (~230 IU), 3 oz tuna (154 IU), 1 serving cereal fortified with 25% Daily Value vitamin D (100 IU), 1 cup vitamin D fortified juice (~100 IU)

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