Remember how Mom always told you to drink your milk so you would have strong bones? Researchers have discovered that vitamin D, found in fortified milk and other sources, may also reduce your risk of getting cancer.
Can Vitamin D Lower Your Risk of Cancer?
Vitamin D is actually a group of fat-soluble prohormones that the body uses to synthesize hormones. In addition to foods, sunshine is a valuable source of vitamin D, which is absorbed through the skin.
The possible link between vitamin D and cancer risk first arose during studies of cancer incidence and death rates based on geographic location. Numbers were found to be lower among people living in southern latitudes, where exposure to sunlight is more frequent.
Analysis of the results led researchers to consider the possibility of different vitamin D levels accounting for the incidence rates. Tests on mice have shown that vitamin D intake can slow down or prevent cancer cell growth, tumor blood vessel formation, and other processes that aid the development of cancer.
Ongoing Vitamin D Clinical Trials
At this point, most of the medical evidence has come from tests designed to study other health-related issues. Clinical researchers are now conducting tests specifically focused on the relationship between vitamin D and cancer. These studies include trials of vitamin D supplements and vitamin D analogs, which are substances that resemble the chemical but don’t have the calcium-boosting properties.
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At our Issels® clinics, our focus is providing treatment programs that work with the patient’s immune system and defense mechanism to naturally eliminate cancer cells.
New treatments on the forefront in the fight against cancer are always good news and when a vitamin is found to be playing a significant role in the treatment of difficult tumors, that makes the news even better.
Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease with a very low estimated survival rate of five years. A big part of the problem in treating the tumor has been the lack of a complete understanding of a pancreatic tumor’s resistance to current standard treatment.
It is understood that the tumor has the ability to send signals to surrounding cells, called tumor microenvironment. When the cells receive a signal from the tumor, a “shield” surrounds the pancreatic tumor protecting it from drugs and healthy immune cells. With the barrier in place, the tumor can continue to grow.
A study by the Salk Institute has found that a derivative from vitamin D weakens and collapses the shield protecting the tumor. The findings from the study have resulted in both human and animal clinical trials.
The outlook for vitamin D as a positive influence on weakening protective cells surrounding tumors may also mean other difficult tumors, such as those found in the liver, kidney, and lungs, will also be susceptible to treatment.
At Issels®, we are dedicated to providing quality programs and treatments for our patients. If you would like more information about our clinics and our locations in the U.S. and abroad, please contact us by phone or use our convenient online form.
Does Vitamin D offer hope for alternative cancer therapy? A new study in the journal Clinical Cancer Research suggests low blood levels of this vitamin may be linked to more aggressive, advanced cases of prostate cancer in men.
What we do know…
Vitamin D effects how cells develop and grow, regulating the differentiation of cells as they change from stem to adult cells, and regulating the growth rate of normal and cancer cells. The skin makes it when exposed to sunlight, however Vitamin D levels are known to decline with age, in certain seasons and climates, and in individuals with darker skin, which naturally blocks sunlight.
What we don’t know…
Researches haven’t yet proved a cause-and-effect relationship, and don’t yet understand how Vitamin D comes into play. They are also unsure if taking extra might reduce prostate cancer risks and offer natural cancer treatment and prevention.
What the study shows:
Among the 667 Chicago men ages 40-79 studied with abnormal prostate screenings, the majority were found to be Vitamin D deficient. In addition, among those testing positive for cancer, those with very low levels were at greater risk of advanced, aggressive varieties. In addition, black men were more likely to be diagnosed.
What about Vitamin D’s relationship to cancer?
At this point, scientists only know that the rate of prostate cell growth (in a petri dish) slows when Vitamin D is added to the mix. They are now theorizing that too little of this vitamin may cause cell growth to go awry, leading to cancer.
Researchers admit larger, more extensive studies are necessary to examine the possible connection and address the many unanswered questions prompted by the research.