Vitamin D supplementation may reduce risk of cancer death, says new meta-analysis

August 16, 2019

A meta-analysis recently published in The BMJ found that vitamin D supplementation significantly reduced the risk of cancer death. 

A meta-analysis recently published in The BMJ found that vitamin D supplementation significantly reduced the risk of cancer death. Based on 52 randomized controlled trials containing 75,454 participants, researchers found that while vitamin D supplementation did not have any effect on all-cause mortality, it did reduce the risk of cancer death by 16%. In subgroup analysis, it was also found that vitamin D3, specifically, was associated with a significant reduction in cancer mortality, while vitamin D2 did not produce statistically significant results.

“Scientific evidence demonstrating the benefits of vitamin D continues to grow, and this new research, which finds an association between vitamin D supplementation and reduced risk of cancer death, is no exception. CRN considers the newest findings to be promising, and we strongly encourage further investigations into the association between vitamin D and this particular outcome,” said Andrea Wong, Ph.D., vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, in a press release. Wong notes however, that cancer is multifactorial, and optimal nutrition is only one component of many that may reduce the risk of cancer death.

“Everyone, at any life stage, has a nutritional need for vitamin D. It is an essential nutrient, critical to overall health, and yet most people do not get enough, which is why the most recent Dietary Guidelines identified vitamin D as a nutrient of public health concern,” Wong adds. “Additionally, the prevalence of vitamin D shortfalls - and the adverse health outcomes affiliated with under-consumption of this nutrient - is why so many healthcare practitioners recommend their patients take a vitamin D supplement.”