Vitamin D deficiency increases cancer risk

Scientists from the University of Eastern Finland and the Autonomous University of Madrid conducted a systematic review of research and concluded that vitamin D can act as a preventive and therapeutic agent against the development of a number of cancers, especially colon cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma. Anticancer properties are mainly manifested through immune cells, such as monocytes and T-lymphocytes. Vitamin D has an effect through the VDR receptor, which participates in the expression and epigenetic regulation of multiple genes. Vitamin D deficiency in the body is associated with an increased risk of cancer (e.g. breast and prostate), as well as a worse prediction of disease.

The researchers argue that vitamin D is essential for bone health, reproductive, and immune systems. It is also important for blood cell differentiation during the hematopoiesis process, as well as for stem cells in the regeneration process of tissues, such as the colon and skin. Too low vitamin D status in the body leads to VDR dysfunction and increases the risk that such cells do not fully differentiate and begin to turn into uncontrollably growing cancer cells. Hence the increased risk of many cancers.

The review also noted that taking additional vitamin D did not reduce the likelihood of mortality from cancer. However, the authors add, this can be explained by individual sensitivity - some people are less responsive to the vitamin, so they need higher doses for prevention. The results might have been different if this factor had been taken into account, they conclude.

You can find out your status of vitamin D by blood testing. Scientists do not recommend taking the supplement independently without laboratory tests and appointment of a specialist.

June 15, 2020, 11:27 a.m.

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