Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Higher vitamin D reduces cancer risk

Higher vitamin D reduces cancer risk

While the benefits of vitamin D on bone diseases are well known, there is growing evidence that Vitamin D may benefit other chronic diseases, including some cancers. However, most studies were conducted in European or American populations, data from Asian populations have been limited.

High levels of vitamin D may be linked to a lower risk of developing cancer, including liver cancer, revealed a new study.

Compared with the previous studies, this research collected the greatest number of vitamin D measurements and showed that vitamin D protects against cancer but also that, when taken in excess the vitamin D become useless.

"To clarify the optimal concentration of vitamin D for cancer prevention, further studies are needed", said the scientists. For approximately 8,000 subjects, researchers examined the relationship between the concentration of vitamin D in their blood and the occurrence of cancer.

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They analyzed the public health records of 33,736 men and women aged 40 to 69.

Researchers then monitored the study participants for a mean period of 16 years, during which 3,301 new cancer cases were registered.

The study, conducted by a team of worldwide researchers in Japan, stated that the findings support the theory that vitamin D might help protect against some cancers.

Participants were required to disclose a comprehensive overview of their lifestyle, diet and medical history and have blood samples taken to assess their vitamin D levels.

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The risk of liver cancer dropped even more, by up to 50 percent, especially for men. It also involved researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NY. Samples were then assigned to one of four groups, based on levels.

Adults with the highest levels of vitamin D saw their chances of liver cancer fall by 55 per cent, with a 36 per cent lower chance of prostate tumours, and 22 per cent lower risk of breast cancer. And while they adjusted for several known risk factors, they can not rule out the possibility that other unmeasured (confounding) factors may have influenced the results, making it hard to draw firm conclusions about cause and effect.

The result reinforce the theory that vitamin D has a role in defending against the risk of cancer, but the authors emphasize that vitamin D may carry additional health benefits too, that were not measured in this study.

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