September 11, 2006
Vitamin D Reduces Risk Of Pancreatic Cancer

Yet more evidence that vitamin D reduces the risk of cancer.

PHILADELPHIA -- Consumption of Vitamin D tablets was found to cut the risk of pancreatic cancer nearly in half, according to a study led by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard universities.

The findings point to Vitamin D's potential to prevent the disease, and is one of the first known studies to use a large-scale epidemiological survey to examine the relationship between the nutrient and cancer of the pancreas. The study, led by Halcyon Skinner, Ph.D., of Northwestern, appears in the September issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.

The study examined data from two large, long-term health surveys and found that taking the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin D (400 IU/day) reduced the risk of pancreatic cancer by 43 percent. By comparison, those who consumed less than 150 IUs per day experienced a 22 percent reduced risk of cancer. Increased consumption of the vitamin beyond 400 IUs per day resulted in no significant increased benefit.

The conclusions were reached by analysis of two prospective studies.

Skinner, currently in the Department of Population Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and his colleagues analyzed data from two long-term studies of health and diet practices, conducted at Harvard University. They looked at data on 46,771 men aged 40 to 75 years who took part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, and 75,427 women aged 38 to 65 years who participated in the Nurses' Health Study. Between the two studies, they identified 365 cases of pancreatic cancer. The surveys are considered valuable for their prospective design, following health trends instead of looking at purely historical information, high follow-up rates and the ability to enable researchers like Skinner to incorporate data from two independent studies.

If you get pancreatic cancer you die.

Pancreatic cancer is a rapidly fatal disease and the fourth-leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that 32,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed. About the same number of people will die this year from the disease. It has no known cure, and surgical treatments are not often effective. Except for cigarette smoking, no environmental factors or dietary practices have been linked to the disease.

Vitamin D is probably the best supplement to take to reduce the risk of a wide range of cancers.

Also see my posts Vitamin D Could Decrease Overall Cancer Risk 30%, Vitamin D Reduces Breast Cancer Risk, and Higher Vitamin D Reduces Aging Bone Fracture Risks.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2006 September 11 11:35 PM  Aging Diet Cancer Studies

Richard said at September 12, 2006 5:46 AM:

Okay Randall,

You have just about convinced me. Question, are there any studies that have indicated any dangers to VD (i.e Vitamin D) and what is considered the safe and effective dosage?


Randall Parker said at September 12, 2006 5:29 PM:


It is reassuring to be reminded that persistent presentation of new evidence can at least sway rational people. ;>

The "official" recommendation is to stay below 5000 IU of vitamin D per day. But vitamin D researcher Michael Holick claims that recommendation is way too low. You do not need to get all the way up to even the official recommended limit in order to derive most (perhaps all) of the cancer risk reduction benefit. So I'm not advising you to get cutting edge and follow Holick's advice.

Richard said at September 12, 2006 6:43 PM:

Thanks Randall,

Alternatively, one could go naked outside all the time, though it is getting a mite chilly lately here in Nova Anglia.

Tom said at September 12, 2006 6:47 PM:

I would like to know if the study only covered subjects living in low sun locations or if there are studies done in other countries whwre the sun is more intense all over the year.

Richard, it seems 400 IUs is enough. Maybe you can find information at

also: The researchers conservatively recommend 1000 international units (IU) of vitamin D, which by weight is only 25 micrograms, or 1/4th of one milligram, to prevent cancer.,%20Vitamin%20D

Randy said at September 13, 2006 12:12 PM:

>I would like to know if the study only covered subjects living in low sun locations or if there are studies done >in other countries where the sun is more intense all over the year.

Last January I spent some time searching Pubmed for an adequate daily dosage of vitamin D and decided
to vary my dosage depending on the time of year. I now take 1000 IU between the March and September equinox and 2000 IU between the September and March equinox.

momochan said at September 13, 2006 2:12 PM:

I hope that the California government will reconsider its restriction of sales of Vitamin D supplements.

Randall Parker said at September 13, 2006 4:47 PM:


You can buy 2000 IU capsules mail order. I do it and I'm in California. I happen to use Carlsons since for years they were the only ones who sold 2000 IU capsules. Other suppliers have stepped in more recently.

I wasn't aware that the California state government regulated vitamins. I thought it was a federal responsibility.

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