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Two nutrients to cut colon cancer risk

Watch your colon cancer risk plummet

Among cancers, it’s the second biggest killer in the United States (and the third most common cancer). In your lifetime, you have about a 1 in 20 chance of getting it.

Obviously, then, we want to do everything we can to prevent it. The mainstream might have plenty of (dangerous) offerings when it comes to fighting cancer, but when it comes to preventing it–well, they often come up empty-handed. Luckily, the natural world has plenty to offer.

Recent research reveals two colon-cancer-preventing powerhouses that you should add to your diet right away–chances are, though, if you’re an e-Tip reader, you’re already taking them!

First up is folate. The National Cancer Institute found that people who eat plenty of folate have a lower risk of colon and rectal cancers. They also found that, despite fears from past researchers, eating “too much” folate doesn’t bring on higher cancer risk.

Instead, they found that people who ate the highest levels (at least 900 micrograms per day) were 30 percent less likely to get colorectal cancer than people who ate less than 200 micrograms per day. Now, here’s something that strikes me. Guess what the RDA for folate is.

It’s 400 micrograms. That’s right…less than HALF of what researchers found to be most effective in preventing colon cancer.

No wonder most of us who are “in the know” see this RDA business as a joke.

The second powerhouse is good old vitamin D. One of my favorites.

A new analysis of 18 earlier studies found that colon cancer risk was as much as 33 percent lower in people with the highest blood levels of D compared to people with the lowest levels. People who had the highest intake of vitamin D had a 12 percent lower risk.

Despite the government’s bright idea to add synthetic folate (folic acid) to foods, Dr. Wright still sees several patients a week who are deficient in folate. To combat this, he recommends getting it from…here’s a novel idea…food.

Anything green is good. Beans, nuts, and wheat germ are also great sources. Liver and other organ meats (organic!), oysters, salmon, and brewer’s yeast will also give you plenty of folate. Now here’s the thing–all of these need to be fresh and raw. Folate breaks down incredibly quickly. Just a day after picking, more than 50 percent of the folate in a given veggie is gone. Freeze or heat the food, and you’re down to 10 percent of the folate it once contained. Even so, there’s enough left to warrant getting your folate from food sources.

As for vitamin D, almost 60 percent of people in the US are deficient in the nutrient, so there’s a good chance you could be one of them.

Here are Dr. Wright’s recommendations, straight out of the February 2011 issue of Nutrition & Healing: “For infants, 1,000 IU daily would appear to be a safe minimum. After four years of age, 2,000 daily, after eight to 10 years, 3,000 IU daily, and for 10-year-olds to adulthood, 4,000 IU daily. But remember, these are general recommendations; check with a physician skilled and knowledgeable for what’s best for you and your family, and if necessary have your blood levels checked.”

Sources:
“Folate tied to lower colon cancer risk,” MedlinePlus (www.nlm.nih.gov)
“Vitamin D levels tied to colon cancer risk,” MedlinePlus (www.nlm.nih.gov)