Vitamin D is normally created in the body following exposure to sun. A recent study has shown that this vitamin protects us from breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer.
The relation between vitamin D and cancer has been discovered by Dr. Cedric F. Garland, of the University of California’s San Diego Moores Cancer Center. According to several studies, vitamin D effectively prevents cancer by disabling the growth of cancer cells, stimulating cellular differentiation, averting the production of blood vessels into the tumors, and triggering apoptosis.
The Journal of Cancer reported the conclusion which stated that 4000 IU/d of vitamin D3 may inhibit cancer development, measured by the main biomarker 25-hydroxycholecalciferol [(OH)D].
The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine conducted a study which showed that there is a link between this vitamin and aggressive prostate cancer.
Researchers discovered that vitamin D lower the risk of prostate cancer development, as it inhibits the proliferation and differentiation of cancer cells.
The study was conducted within the period from 2009 to 2014, and involved a big epidemiologic research of 1760 cancer screenings, in comparison to healthy controls.
Adam Murphy, lead author and assistant professor of Urology, Northwestern University claimed:
- “If you add prostate cancer cells into a dish with vitamin D, their development decelerates and they become less invasive, which greatly lowers the possibility of their apoptosis.
Our late research has proven that people who aren’t impacted by prostate cancer have higher vitamin D levels than prostate cancer patients.”
This vitamin prevents rheumatoid arthritis, various cancer types, and strengthens the bones. Studies have shown that vitamin D3 supplements prevent the growth of cancer.
2. Breast Cancer
Breast cancer studies found that adequate to high vitamin D serum levels could lower cancer mortality by 44%.
In fact, women with very low levels of vitamin D at diagnosis were 94% more likely to develop metastases than women with normal levels, and were 73% more likely to die.
“Doctors should emphasize the importance of maintaining adequate serum vitamin D levels, which would be 40 to 60 ng/mL for cancer prevention, and encourage their patients to have their vitamin D status regularly checked, especially in winter, to ensure that adequate serum levels are being maintained,” said first author Sharif B. Mohr, MD, from the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego.
For women already diagnosed with breast cancer, vitamin D levels could go as high as 80 ng/mL, he told Medscape Medical News.
Low levels of vitamin D were not only found to increase risk of developing breast cancer but is also linked to more-aggressive tumors and worse outcomes.
“Although much more research needs to be done, research from our lab and others suggests that people at risk for breast cancer should know their vitamin D levels and take steps to correct any deficiencies,” said Brian Feldman, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics.
3.Other cancer types
Vitamin D and calcium combination can lower the risk of all cancer types in postmenopausal women by an incredible 77%.
This is explained by Cedric F. Garland, DrPH, from the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego:
“These vitamins produce E-cadherin, a substance that structures cells and holds them together. This disables the penetration of cancer cells into organs and tissues in the human body.
When the vitamin D level is reduced, the cells of the breast epithelium don’t stick to each other, and the cell that isn’t stuck to the surrounding cells has its stem cells undergone rapid mitosis.
The cells that multiply quickest can create a cancerous clone, which can infiltrate through the basal lining. If the organism lacks vitamin D for longer, the cells will get out into lymphatics, metastasize to the brain, bone and lungs and eventually cause death.”
Not all medical organizations agree on the optimal amount of vitamin D. This is because your body produces vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. Depending on your age, sex, ethnicity and where you live, you may require lots of supplementation or simply none at all.
There are two different forms of vitamin D: vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D2 is made by plants whereas D3 is made from sun exposure by the body after being processed by the liver and kidneys.
D3 is required for calcium absorption in the gut and keeps teeth and bones healthy. It also serves to modulate cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduce inflammation. It’s even used to manage heart disease, chronic pain and diabetes.
The Institute of Medicine recommend 600IU in most healthy adults and 800IU for adults over the age of 70.
Some experts warn that the large doses used in cancer treatment, which is around 4,000 to 10,000 IU daily can lead to organ damage, particularly to kidneys and cardiovascular system.
That’s why it’s important to be followed by a reputable doctor, oncologist or naturopath before using vitamin D as a treatment option.