Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Step 3: Soak up the sun

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester found one more way for cancer patients to prep their bodies for the fight. Logging optimal vitamin D levels upped patients' likelihood of responding to treatment and surviving. The good news adds to the mounting evidence that vitamin D plays a role in determining cancer risk and outcomes.

The study tracked 374 lymphoma patients -- 50 percent of whom had vitamin D deficiencies. Matthew Drake, M.D., Ph.D., and his team concluded the vitamin D-light patients were one-and-a-half times more likely to watch their disease progress than participants with ideal vitamin D levels. Sub-par vitamin D patients were also twice as likely to die from their cancer than the patients with sufficient levels. Check out more on the study here.

So do your body a favor and get enough vitamin D. Besides its cancer benefits, vitamin D helps you absorb calcium, a.k.a. good bone health. The sun is one of the top sources. Spend 15 minutes catching some rays, three times a week in the summer to be vitamin D optimal, according to Drake in his study's press release. If the weather's not cooperating, look for vitamin D-fortified milk, orange juice and cereals. Or, try a daily supplement. Check out more vitamin D guidelines from the National Institute of Health here.

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