Vitamin D May Raise Survival Rates Among Cancer Patients
1st May 2014
Cancer patients who have higher levels of vitamin D when they are diagnosed tend to have better survival rates and remain in remission longer than patients who are vitamin D-deficient, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The body naturally produces vitamin D after exposure to sunlight and absorbs it from certain foods. In addition to helping the body absorb the calcium and phosphorus needed for healthy bones, vitamin D affects a variety of biological processes by binding to a protein called a vitamin D receptor. This receptor is present in nearly every cell in the body.
“By reviewing studies that collectively examined vitamin D levels in 17,332 cancer patients, our analysis demonstrated that vitamin D levels are linked to better outcomes in several types of cancer,” said one of the study’s authors, “The results suggest vitamin D may influence the prognosis for people with breast cancer, colorectal cancer and lymphoma, in particular.”
The meta-analysis looked at the results of 25 separate studies that measured vitamin D levels in cancer patients at the time of diagnosis and tracked survival rates. In most of the research, patients had their vitamin D levels tested before they underwent any treatment for cancer. The study found a 10 nmol/L increase in vitamin D levels was tied to a 4 percent increase in survival among people with cancer.
Researchers found the strongest link between vitamin D levels and survival in breast cancer, lymphoma and colorectal cancer. There was less evidence of a connection in people with lung cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, melanoma or Merkel cell carcinoma, but the available data were positive.
Considering that vitamin D deficiency is a widespread issue all over the world, it is important to ensure that everyone has sufficient levels of this important nutrient and supplement when necessary.
Li M et al., Review:The Impacts of Circulating 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels on Cancer Patient Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2014; jc.2013-4320 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2013-4320
Categories: Nutritional News, Hormonal Health, Healthy Aging