Fortifying vitamin D in food could prevent more than 100,000 deaths

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Von: Stella Henrich


Researchers from the German Center for Cancer Research have found that systematic administration of vitamin D could prevent hundreds of thousands of cancer deaths.

Bonn / Heidelberg / Munich – According to Hermann Brenner’s calculation models, if all countries fortified food sufficiently with vitamin D, this could prevent around 130,000 cancer deaths in Europe. “This corresponds to a gain of nearly 1.2 million years of life,” says Brenner. Man is not a prophet or a soothsayer, Brenner is a scientist at the German Cancer Research Institute (DKFZ) of the Heidelberg Helmholtz Association. So you’d think he knows what he’s talking about.

As part of a study, DKFZ epidemiologists, led by Brenner, examined the possible influence of targeted enhancement of foods with vitamin D on cancer mortality in Europe. Scientists collected information on the topic of vitamin D in 34 selected European countries, determined cancer deaths and life expectancy in individual countries. The scientists then linked this information with the results of studies on the influence of vitamin D administration on cancer death rates.

Information sign for the DKFZ of the University of Heidelberg. (Image of the emblem) © imago

Cancer Research: Vitamin D supplementation prevents thousands of cancer deaths every year

From the information and data obtained, the researchers used statistical methods to estimate the number of cancer deaths that are already prevented in food-fortified countries. They also calculated the number of additional deaths that could be avoided if all European countries introduced vitamin D fortification in food. The researchers concluded that vitamin D fortification currently prevents around 27,000 cancer deaths per year in all European countries considered.

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.

Furthermore, Tobias Niedermaier, a member of the Brenner research group, explains that vitamin D does not reduce the risk of cancer, “but it does reduce the risk of dying from cancer,” said the scientist in an interview with the Helmholtz Association in – home publishing. Niedermaier is therefore clearly in favor of vitamin D fortifying foods. So people would come out of their vitamin D deficiency almost automatically.

Fight cancer with vitamin D supplements: orange juice, bread, milk, yogurt and oatmeal

You could fortify a range of foods “that are absolute staples that everyone consumes or should consume,” says Niedermaier. Such as orange juice, bread, milk, yogurt, oat milk, and cereal. “It’s not like you can fortify everything, because even vitamin D is lost through processing and preparation.” But the range of suitable foods is wide enough to reach everyone, according to the researcher.

In addition to the intake of vitamin D through food, an adequate intake can also be guaranteed through exposure to the sun: the Cancer Information Service of the DKFZ therefore recommends spending about twelve minutes outdoors 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.

  • That German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) is the largest biomedical research facility in Germany with over 3000 employees. Over 1,300 DKFZ scientists research how cancer develops, record cancer risk factors, and look for new strategies to prevent cancer development. New methods are being developed by which cancers can be diagnosed more accurately and cancer patients can be treated more successfully. To the Krebsinformationsdienst of the DKFZ, affected individuals, affected citizens and specialist groups receive individual answers to all cancer questions.

    Source: DKFZ

Researchers have long warned of the risk of cancer. According to the International Cancer Research Agency IARC, around 500,000 people develop cancer in Germany every year. According to a forecast from the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2040 there will be around 29-37 million people worldwide who will receive a new cancer diagnosis. If diagnosed early, patients have a better chance of recovery.

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