HealthDay News — Higher circulating levels of vitamin D are tied to significantly lower colorectal cancer risk, particularly in women, according to a study published online June 14 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Marjorie L. McCullough, ScD, from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues pooled participant-level data from 17 cohorts consisting of 5,706 colorectal cancer case participants and 7,107 control participants in order to assess the association between circulating vitamin D levels and colorectal cancer risk. 

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The researchers found that deficient 25(OH)D levels (<30nmol/L) were associated with 31% higher colorectal cancer risk (relative risk [RR], 1.31), while 25(OH)D levels above sufficiency (75 to ≤87.5 and 87.5 to <100nmol/L) were associated with lower risk (RR, 0.81 and 0.73, respectively), compared to those within the lower range of sufficiency for bone health (50 to <62.5nmol/L). The risk did not continue to decline with 25(OH)D ≥100nmol/L. Colorectal cancer risk was 19 percent lower in women (RR, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.75 to 0.87) and 7 percent lower in men (RR, 0.93; 95% confidence interval, 0.86 to 1) for each 25nmol/L increment in circulating 25(OH)D.

“Optimal 25(OH)D concentrations for colorectal cancer risk reduction, 75 to 100nmol/L, appear higher than current Institute of Medicine recommendations,” the authors write.

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