Vitamin D, one of America’s most popular natural supplements, is linked to a very long list of health benefits. It is an essential nutrient in every possible sense of the word. A new piece of health news shows that more than 75% of cancer patients have insufficient levels of vitamin D. That is a very suggestive figure.
More and more it seems that vitamin D helps protect the body against cancer. On top of the above figure, having very low levels of vitamin D is linked with more advanced cancer. The news was released at the recent Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.
Recently, studies have been trying to see if vitamin D impacts the prognosis or course of cancer. Could the nutrient impact specific features of cancer, such as how a tumor spreads, patient prognosis, recurrence or relapse of disease, and even sub-types of cancer? To this end, they studied 160 patients who were on average 64 years old.
The five most common primary cancers were those of the breast, prostate, lung, thyroid, and colon. A total of 77% of patients had vitamin D concentrations either deficient or “sub-optimal.” Regardless of the age or sex of the patient, levels of vitamin D were below the median predicted for advanced stage disease in the patient group.
Patients who were found to be vitamin-D deficient were administered replacement therapy, and investigators will be analyzing if vitamin-D supplementation had an impact on aspects of treatment or survival over the long term. Stay tuned on that front.
So far, the benefits of vitamin D — outside of improving bone health — are considered controversial. But boy is there a rising tide of evidence supporting the notion that vitamin D could either prevent cancer or predict how it will all unfold.
One thing is for sure: vitamin D and cancer will appear together in many, many studies well into the future.