Soy and Vitamin D: Two Ways to Prevent Colon Cancer

Soy and Vitamin D: Two Ways to Prevent Colon Cancer

According to the Centers for Disease Control, colon cancer is the third-most common cancer in both men and women, and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US.

Since colon cancer tends to strike people over the age of 50, parents with kids at home might not be thinking about colon cancer prevention right now, especially if you’re dealing with everything from potty training to soccer practice to keeping everyone in the house flu free. I’d guess that most of the DrGreene.com community hasn’t had a colonoscopy, which is recommended for older age groups.

We who are busy wiping noses and going to PTA meetings are fortunate, in a way, that colon cancer has gotten so much attention as more cases come to light. This means that researchers are looking into more ways to prevent the problem so that we may not have to face the dismal news of a cancer diagnosis.

Aside from the always-applicable advice to eat more fresh vegetables and other fiber-rich whole foods, two recent studies give us even more hope for colon cancer prevention and provide more reasons to love two of my favorite nutritional building blocks: soy and vitamin D.

In one exciting recent study, results suggest that a family of natural fat molecules in soy, called sphingadienes, both prevent colon tumor cells from forming within the body (prevention) and are even potent at causing already cancerous cells to die (possible treatment) Click here for more information to help you sort out the soy facts from the myths.

The vitamin D study reported that people with higher levels of vitamin D have a 40 percent lower risk of colon cancer. This is consistent with a number of other studies about the protective effects of vitamin D.

It’s so simple to make changes to your life today to capitalize on these newfound insights into this deadly disease. Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin: our body makes its own nutrients when our skin is exposed to sunshine. But most of us have learned to cover up with sunscreen and protective clothing (which we should). Click here to learn how much sun exposure is needed to get plenty of vitamin D. If you’re not sure your child is getting enough from the sun, I recommend getting at least 400 IU a day from some kind of milk or from a multivitamin or vitamin D3 supplement.

And adding soy to your diet in the form of foods made from the whole soybean can also give you the other health benefits of this wonderful bean. With the other benefits of vitamin D and soy, you’ll get much more out of the switch than just a reduction in the risk for colon cancer.

Your turn… what’s your favorite soy recipe or food, and how do you get your vitamin D?

Fryst H., Oskouian, B., Bandhuvula, P., Gong, Y., Byun, H.S., Bittman, R., Lee, A.R., Saba, J.D. “Natural Sphingadienes Inhibit Akt-Dependent Signaling and Prevent Intestinal Tumorigenesis.” Cancer Research, 15 Dec 2009, 69(24):9457-64.

Jenab, M., et al. “Association Between Pre-Diagnostic Circulating Vitamin D Concentraion and Risk of Colorectal Cancer in European Populations: A Nested Case-Control Study.” BMJ, 2010, 340:b5500.

Dr. Alan Greene

As a father of four himself, Dr. Greene has devoted himself to freely giving real answers to parents' real questions -- from questions about those all too common childhood conditions to those that address the most recent and rare pediatric illnesses. His answers combine cutting edge science, practical wisdom, warm empathy, and a deep respect for parents, children, and the environment. He is also an electrifying public speaker, and has personally touched many during his talks in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Dr. Greene is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of California at San Francisco. Upon completion of his pediatric residency program at Children's Hospital Medical Center of Northern California he served as Chief Resident. He entered primary care pediatrics in January 1993.

Dr. Greene is the Past President of The Organic Center and on the Board of Directors of Healthy Child Healthy World. He is a founding partner of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment. He also consults for the Environmental Working Group.

In 1995, he launched DrGreene.com, cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site” on the Internet. His award-winning site has received over 80 million Unique Users from parents, concerned family members, students, and healthcare professionals. In addition to being the founder of DrGreene.com, he is the Medical Director for HealthTap.

In 2010 Dr. Greene founded the WhiteOut Movement to change how babies in the United States are fed. In 2012 he founded TICC TOCC - Transitioning Immediate Cord Clamping To Optimal Cord Clamping. He is also the founder of KidGlyphs, a free iPhone app that provides a tool for young children to express themselves beyond their verbal skills while teaching them important language skills.

Dr. Greene is the Founding President of the Society for Participatory Medicine and has served as both President and Board Chair of Hi-Ethics (Health Internet Ethics. He is on the Board of Directors for Healthy Child Healthy World, The Lunchbox Project, and The Society for Participatory Medicine. He has also served as an advisor to URAC for both their inaugural and their updated health web site accreditation program. He is a founding member of the e-Patient Scholars Working Group, and a founding board member of the Center for Information Therapy.

Dr. Greene is a regular columnist for Parenting Magazine. He is also the Pediatric Expert for The People’s Pharmacy (as heard on NPR) and Healing Quest (seen on PBS stations). He was the original Pediatric Expert for both Yahoo! and iVillage.

Dr. Greene is the author of Feeding Baby Green (Wiley, 2009), Raising Baby Green (Wiley, 2007), From First Kicks to First Steps (McGraw-Hill, 2004), The Parent's Complete Guide to Ear Infections (People's Medical Society, 1997), and a co-author of The A.D.A.M. Illustrated Family Health Guide (A.D.A.M., Inc., 2004). He is the medical expert for three additional books, The Parent's Soup A-to-Z Guide to Your New Baby, (Contemporary Books, 1998) The Parent's Soup A-to-Z Guide to Your Toddler, (Contemporary Books, 1999), and The Mother of All Baby Books, (Hungry Minds, Inc., 2002).

Dr. Greene is a frequent keynote speaker at important events such as Health 2.0 2011 held in San Diego, CA, IFOAM 2008 (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements), held in Modena Italy, the first European Internet health conference, held in Maastricht, the first International eHealth Association Conference, held in Jeddah, and the largest e-Healthcare World Conference, held in Las Vegas, and the first Green Power Baby Shower, held in Hollywood. Dr. Greene also appears frequently on TV, radio, websites, and in newspapers and magazines around the world, including such venues as the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, The Dr. Oz Show, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC network news, NPR, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time Magazine, Parade, Parenting, Child, Baby Talk, Working Mother, Better Home's & Gardens, and the Reader's Digest.

Dr. Greene loves to think about challenging ideas, he enjoys being where nothing manmade can be seen, and he wears green socks.

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