Foods enriched with vitamin D could save tens of thousands of lives

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Von: Karolin Schäfer


Vitamin D is essential for the body.  According to a study, fortification in food can reduce cancer mortality.
Vitamin D is essential for the body. According to a study, fortification in food can reduce cancer mortality. © Karl-Josef Hildenbrand / dpa

Vitamin D is essential for health. A new study shows that further fortification in food reduces cancer mortality.

Heidelberg – In addition to bone and muscle diseases, vitamin D deficiency is also associated with cancer. Studies have shown that taking vitamin D supplements can reduce the death rate from cancer. Therefore, in some countries such as the United States, Canada and Finland, foods are already fortified with vitamin D.

Epidemiologists from the German Center for Cancer Research (DKFZ) led by Hermann Brenner in Europe have also now investigated this. To do this, the research team collected information on vitamin D supplement policies from 34 European countries.

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Vitamin D: Fortification in food can prevent numerous cancer-related deaths

The number of cancer deaths and the respective life expectancy in the countries were therefore linked to the results of previous studies. Using the available data, the researchers estimated “the number of cancer deaths that are already prevented in food-fortified countries,” according to the May research report. They also calculated the number of deaths that could be avoided if all EU countries fortified foods with vitamin D.

The result: Enrichment could prevent around 27,000 cancer deaths in European countries each year. “According to our model calculations, if all the countries we looked at were fortifying their foods with adequate amounts of vitamin D, around 130,000 or around 9% of all cancer deaths in Europe could be prevented,” explained the leader of the Brenner study. This would correspond to a gain of almost 1.2 million years of life.

More vitamin D in the diet: “Reduction in cancer mortality”

“Current data on reducing cancer mortality show the immense potential that an improvement in vitamin D intake could have, but not just for cancer prevention,” says Brenner. “We should make better use of it in the future.” Although vitamin D does not reduce the risk of cancer, studies show that it reduces mortality. However, it is not a substitute for adequate anticancer therapy.

But how does it work? Vitamin suppresses factors that promote cancer and chronic inflammatory reactions, Tobias Niedermaier informed in an interview ntv.dewho was also involved in the study. Due to the different effects on the body, the likelihood of “surviving cancer” increases.

These foods contain vitamin D

There is hardly any vitamin D in food, which is why it is often supplemented. However, too much vitamin D can be bad for your health. However, some foods serve as good sources:

  • Fatty fish, such as herring, mackerel, and salmon
  • beef liver
  • Avocado
  • Owner
  • Edible mushrooms, such as chanterelles and champignon mushrooms
  • Fortified foods, such as margarine

Most of our reserves of vitamin D, also known as the sun vitamin, are replenished by sufficient exposure to the sun. The DKFZ therefore recommends spending about twelve minutes in the sun two or three times a week. “The face, hands and parts of the arms and legs should be uncovered and without sunscreen for this period of time,” the research center pointed out. (cheese)

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