CanHOPE is a non-profit cancer counselling and support service provided by Parkway Cancer Centre, Singapore.


See the Light – Vitamin D

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Importance of Vitamin D in Nutrition

Most people know Vitamin D as the "sunshine vitamin" since you only need about 15 minutes of exposure to sunlight daily to get enough Vitamin D for your body's needs. It encourages the absorption of calcium and phosphorous in the body, as well as regulating the production of proteins responsible for cell division and growth.

However, due to treatment requirements, cancer patients spend less time in the sun and may not get enough Vitamin D through food due to loss of appetite. As such, they are prone to Vitamin D deficiency and may experience muscle, joint and bone discomfort, as well as fatigue. A Vitamin D supplement, especially when taken along with a calcium supplement, will greatly reduce their risk of such symptoms.

What is Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a steroid vitamin, a group of fat-soluble prohormones, which encourages the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous. It is a fat-soluble substance, meaning it is stored by fat deposits in the body, and is crucial for healthy bones.

How does Vitamin D help

Vitamin D plays an important role in many normal bodily functions, including the regulation of cell growth. Cancer patients often experiencing ache and pain during their treatment, a diet rich in calcium and Vitamin D greatly assists in reducing nonspecific aches and pains.

Vitamin D is also an immune system regulator, reducing the risk of infections and diseases. It promotes hair growth, muscle strength, and reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases.

Sources of Vitamin D

The best source of Vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. It is also found in some types of fish and cod liver oil, as well as foods fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, dairy products, breakfast cereals and biscuits.

What our experts say

Sunlight, dairy products and fortified soy products are known to be the best source of calcium and vitamin D in our diet. However, when dietary restrictions or medical conditions do not allow you to consume them sufficiently through dietary sources, it is important to obtain the required amount with good supplement. Do follow the specific dosage recommendations for a healthier and stronger body.

This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, is for general information purposes only. For more advise, please consult your doctor.