In recent years, mounting scientific evidence has made two facts unequivocally clear—that natural sunlight and vitamin D are both essential to good health.
Now, groundbreaking new research has proven that people exposed to natural sunlight and vitamin D are nearly 50 percent less likely than those who lack sun exposure to develop pancreatic cancer (one of the deadliest of all cancers).
The new study was presented recently at the American Association for Cancer Research Pancreatic Cancer Conference in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Dr. Rachel Neale, Ph.D., and colleagues from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia conducted the study.
The team conducted a case-control study of 704 patients with pancreatic cancer, and 709 healthy individuals with no history of pancreatic cancer. Each study participant was evaluated based on blood serum levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D (the hormonal marker of vitamin D in the body). Researchers also recorded participants’ birth location, skin cancer history, skin cancer type, tanning ability, and predisposition to sunburn.
The researchers then assessed each participant’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure using NASA’s Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer. Natural News reported on the study:
[R]esearchers found that participants who lived in areas with the highest amount of sunlight exposure were 24% less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than individuals who lived in low sunlight areas.
Additionally, individuals with the most sun-sensitive skin, who are typically lighter-skinned individuals, were found to be roughly 50% less likely to develop pancreatic cancer than individuals with the least amount of sun sensitivity. Overall, there was a direct correlation between high sunlight and vitamin D exposure and low rates of pancreatic cancer in the study, a result that suggests vitamin D plays a critical role in pancreatic cancer prevention.
How Much Vitamin D is Needed?
The Vitamin D Council reports that high levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of pancreatic cancer based on both observational studies of individuals and geographic studies of populations. According to the council, studies of breast, colon, and rectal cancer show that vitamin D levels above 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L) reduce the risk of cancer.
For this reason, the Vitamin D Council states “maintaining vitamin D blood levels above 40 ng/mL may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer.”
How to Find Out Your Vitamin D Level
If you are concerned about your vitamin D blood level, you may want to ask your doctor to run a vitamin D blood test. However, it’s important to make sure you get the right test.
“Ask your doctor for a 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D, test,” recommends the Vitamin D Council. “In the past, doctors have been known to order a 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D test. This is the wrong test, as it cannot determine vitamin D deficiency. Make sure your doctor orders the correct test.”
If you don’t have medical insurance or your insurance won’t pay for your doctor’s test, another option is to order a test for home use. These are readily available through online retailers.
Once you know your vitamin D blood level, you and your doctor can determine whether additional sun exposure or vitamin D supplements (or both) are the best option for you.