Vitamin D no cancer cure-all

WASHINGTON — A large new study found no sign that vitamin D lowers the overall risk of dying from cancer, although people with more vitamin D in their blood did have a significantly lower risk of death from colorectal cancer.

Getting enough of the so-called sunshine vitamin — the skin makes it from ultraviolet rays — is vital for strong bones.

But vitamin D has made headlines in recent years because of research saying it may be a powerful cancer fighter, sparking a push for people to get more than currently recommended amounts, either through diet or sun exposure.

The first-of-a-kind government study released Tuesday shows the issue is far from settled.

National Cancer Institute researchers analyzed vitamin D levels measured in almost 17,000 people as part of a national study that tracked their health. About a decade after enrolling, 536 of those people had died of cancer.

Whether people had low or high vitamin D levels played no role in their risk of dying from cancer in general, they reported Tuesday in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Then the researchers examined different types of cancer. There were just 66 deaths from colorectal cancer, and people with high levels of vitamin D appeared 72 percent less likely to die of colorectal cancer than people with the lowest levels.

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