Links between cancer and vitamin intake have been around for awhile. Recent studies emphasize the importance of vitamin supplements in the prevention of cancer. You are suggested to rely on supplements (rather than soley on foods that are rich in vitamins), because the foods cannot supply the amount that is necessary for the prevention of this disease.
Preventing Cancer with Vitamin D
The Canadian Cancer Society attested that vitamin D supplementation is an effective cancer preventive measure. In fact, this organization recommends supplementing with 1,000 IU a day during the fall and winter (when the immune system is weakened). On the other hand, people who fall into the following categories need to take vitamin D supplements during all the seasons:
- Older people
- Persons with darker skin
- People who spend a lot of time indoors
- Persons who wear clothes that cover a great part of their skin
The last three criteria are related to the fact that vitamin D is synthesized by your body in the presence of sunlight. The aforementioned dosage may reduce the risk of the following types of cancer by 50 percent:
- Colon cancer
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
More than that, if you increase the dosage to 1,500 UI per day, you manage to reduce the risk of developing any type of cancer by 17 percent, according to a study conducted by Harvard School of Public Health. Such a dosage is able to reduce the risk of digestive cancers by 45 percent. Postmenopausal women may decrease the risk of all types of cancer, by taking vitamin D and calcium supplements.
Sources of Vitamin D
Even though relying solely on foods for the necessary amount of vitamin D may be difficult, you are recommended to include the following in your diet:
- Fatty fish
- Egg yolks
- Breakfast Cereals
Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention
Antioxidants, such as the ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and beta carotene (vitamin A), are also helpful when preventing cancer. Vitamin C is particularly helpful because it:
- Improves the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells
- Accelerates collagen formation, fact that is essential in avoiding tumors
- Prevents metastasis, by inhibiting hyaluronidase
- Deactivates oncogenic viruses
- Resolves vitamin C deficiency, which is rather common in cancer patients
- Accelerates wound healing after cancer surgery
- Improves the effect of chemotherapeutic agents
- Decreases the toxicity of chemotherapeutic agents
- Fights free radicals
- Neutralizes carcinogenic substances
The effectiveness of beta carotene, on the other side, is not accepted in unanimity. While some researchers consider this antioxidant to be effective in the prevention of cancer, others consider that it increases the risk of lung cancer. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, unlike ascorbic acid, which is water soluble. Because of this fact, high amounts of vitamin A lead to toxicity, as it cannot be assimilated correctly by the liver. However, you must rely on food for getting this vitamin, rather than on supplements, which have been proved to be harmful.
Whether you decide to use vitamin B17 or vitamins A, D, and C, following a diet that is rich in such nutrients will never be harmful and will help you with more than just prevention of cancer. A certain balance needs to be established between foods and dietary supplements, so your body gets all the required nutrients.