Bowel cancer and vitamin D

Dr Paul Clayton 2003

Research from the Portland VA Medical Centre in Oregon saw over 3000 people screened for polyps in the colon. (These polyps are a common precursor to full-blown colorectal cancer, which can often be prevented if the polyps can be removed early enough). Some interesting findings ensued; it transpired that those who ate a diet rich in Vitamin D (645 IU/day or more) were significantly protected; as were those who consumed 4g or more of cereal fibre, or took daily aspirin. Multivitamins helped to a lesser extent. Conversely, in cigarette smokers, the risk increased by 85%.

These important findings indicate that the risk of colorectal cancer, a major killer in the UK, can be dramatically reduced by simple life-style changes. Don’t rely on screening; stop smoking, take a micronutrient support program containing Vitamin D, take aspirin (unless you have a good reason not to) and eat more fibre – particularly the resistant starches.


Lieberman D et al, JAMA 290:2959-2967, 2003.