"A four-year clinical trial involving 1,200 women found those taking the vitamin had about a 60-per-cent reduction in cancer incidence, compared with those who didn't take it, a drop so large -- twice the impact on cancer attributed to smoking -- it almost looks like a typographical error."
The women were apparently given 1,100 IU of vitamin D3 per day over the four years.
These claims are exciting but given their grandeur must also be greeted with skepticism. I am therefore anxious to examine the data myself. Unfortunately the article failed to mention when, or in which peer-reviewed (I assume) journal these results will be published. However the article did cite one of the authors as Robert Heaney, MD, of Creighton University, who "has worked for over 45 years in the study of osteoporosis and calcium physiology, and has published more than 300 original papers, chapters, monographs, and reviews in scientific and educational fields".
Check back for updates here on the bayblab as more information becomes available.
Also, see the slashdot post for interesting discussion, including why vitamin D has nothing to do with the evolution of human skin colour.
Update: A representative from the Creighton University Medical Center has informed me that the principal author of the study is in fact Joan Lappe, PhD in Nursing and Associate Professor and Creighton.
Update 2: I have also been informed that the article will appear in the June edition of The Journal of Clinical Nutrition. However, upon my request (wherein I identified myself as a member of the cancer research community), the authors informed me that no further information will be made available until the study is published. Which leaves me scratching my head as to how the Globe and Mail got a hold of the results and chose to jump on the story when the results haven't even yet been made available to members of the scientific community for discussion and scrutiny. Interestingly, no other media outlet accessible to Google news has reported on the study to date.
Update 3: Interesting paper that Jim Wint pointed out is in fact real and recently appeared in Cell - see "Central Role of p53 in the Suntan Response and Pathologic Hyperpigmentation". Good to see even tanning bed proprietors are up on the scientific literature. I love it! (Haven't read the paper yet though, so can't say at this point whether I think it supports his claims.)
Update 4: I just bought 120, 000 IU of vitamin D3 at Shopper's Drug Mart for $6.99. Figured it couldn't hurt. Based on my previous experience with supplements, I'll take it faithfully for a couple of days then forget the whole thing.