Foods fortified with vitamin D could save tens of thousands of lives
Created: 07/03/2022, 20:08
By: Caroline Schäfer
Vitamin D is essential for the body.
According to a study, fortification in food can reduce cancer mortality.
© Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa
Vitamin D is essential for health.
A new study shows that additional fortification in foods reduces mortality from cancer.
Heidelberg – In addition to bone and muscle disease, vitamin D deficiency is also associated with cancer.
Studies have shown that taking vitamin D supplements can reduce the death rate from cancer.
Therefore, in some countries such as the USA, Canada and Finland, foods are already fortified with vitamin D.
Epidemiologists at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) led by Hermann Brenner in Europe have now also investigated this.
To do this, the research team collected information on vitamin D supplement policies from 34 European countries.
German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)
number of employees
Number of departments and junior research groups
Vitamin D: Fortification in food can prevent numerous cancer-related deaths
The number of cancer-related deaths and the respective life expectancy in the countries were then linked to previous study results.
Using the available data, the researchers estimated "the number of cancer-related deaths that are already prevented in the countries with food fortification," according to the research report in May.
They also calculated the number of deaths that could also be avoided if all EU countries were to fortify foods with vitamin D.
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The result: enrichment could prevent around 27,000 cancer-related deaths in European countries every year.
“According to our model calculations, if all the countries we looked at were to fortify foods with adequate amounts of vitamin D, around 130,000 or around nine percent of all cancer deaths in Europe could be prevented,” explained study leader Brenner.
That would correspond to a gain of almost 1.2 million years of life.
More vitamin D in the diet: "Reduction of cancer mortality"
"The current data on reducing cancer mortality show the immense potential that an improvement in vitamin D supply could have, but not only for cancer prevention," says Brenner.
"We should make better use of that in the future." Even if vitamin D does not reduce the risk of cancer, the studies show that it reduces mortality.
However, it does not replace appropriate cancer therapy.
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The vitamin suppresses the cancer-promoting factors and chronic inflammatory reactions, informed Tobias Niedermaier in an interview with
, who was also involved in the study.
Due to the diverse effects on the body, the probability of "surviving cancer" increases.
These foods contain vitamin D
There is hardly any vitamin D in food, which is why it is often supplemented.
However, an oversupply of vitamin D can be bad for your health.
Still, some foods serve as good sources:
Oily fish, such as herring, mackerel, and salmon
Edible mushrooms, such as chanterelles and button mushrooms
Fortified foods, such as margarine
Most of our vitamin D reserves, also known as the sun vitamin, are replenished by sufficient exposure to the sun.
The DKFZ therefore advises spending around twelve minutes in the sunshine two to three times a week.
"The face, hands and parts of the arms and legs should be uncovered and without sun protection for this period of time," the research center pointed out.