The Cancer Fighter in Your Kitchen Cabinet

Vitamin D is a powerful nutrient. Compelling research has shown it can reduce the risk of several medical conditions, including osteoporosis, gum disease, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and YES, even certain cancers.

Here are three things you can do to ensure you're getting enough.

1. Incorporate vitamin D-rich food into your diet

* Wild salmon
* Atlantic mackerel
* Sardines
* Shrimp
* Skim and 1% milk
* Soy milk (vitamin D-fortified)
* Shiitake mushrooms
* Vitamin D-fortified yogurts (like Dannon Light & Fit)
* Vitamin D-fortified cereals (like Multigrain Cheerios, Post Bran Flakes, or Kashi Vive)

2. Consider supplements

Because there are limited food sources for vitamin D, it's a good idea to consider supplements. As always, check with your personal physician before taking anything new.

* Take a multivitamin that provides at least the Daily Value, 400 IUs.
* For women taking extra calcium: Buy a brand that also provides Vitamin D -- optimally D3 (cholcalciferol), the most potent form. Two good brands are Citracal Plus D and Minerals and Caltrate 600-D Plus Minerals.
* For men who want to take additional Vitamin D: Look for a supplement that provides 400 to 1000 IUs of D3, also called cholcalciferol. NOTE: Men should not take supplemental calcium (some research suggests excessive calcium may increase the risk for prostate concerns).

3. Enjoy "a little" safe sun

Our bodies produce their own vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. However, too much sun can damage the skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. Speak with your dermatologist about the safest way to get some sun. All you need is about 15 to 20 minutes a few times a week (optimally before 10 AM and after 2 PM). Remember to wear sunglasses and a rimmed hat to protect your eyes and face.

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