Maintaining sufficient levels of vitamin D can help improve the chances of survival in bowel cancer, latest research shows.
In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, bowel cancer patients who had high blood vitamin D levels had half the risk of mortality than those with lower amounts.
The University of Edinburgh study included 1,600 bowel cancer patients. For analysing the link, researchers collected blood samples after the patients underwent surgery for bowel cancer and recorded levels of vitamin D in them.
Results showed that vitamin D has a major role in fighting the cancer. During the five-year-study, a majority of the patients with high levels of vitamin D continued to live, while most of the patients scoring lowest vitamin D levels (nearly two thirds) had died.
"Our findings are promising but it is important to note that this is an observational study. We need carefully designed randomised clinical trials before we can confirm whether taking vitamin D supplements offers any survival benefit for bowel cancer patients," Professor Malcolm Dunlop of the Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh, said in a news release.
Previous research conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine on breast cancer has shown similar results. They found that high levels of vitamin D in blood helped to survive the deadly disease.
The role of vitamin D in keeping bone and teeth healthy is well-known. It also plays a major role in the regulation of calcium and phosphate in the body. Levels of vitamin D in the body can be maintained either through exposure to sunlight or through regular consumption of certain foods, including oily fish, egg yolks, cheese, beef liver, shiitake and button mushrooms. It can also be acquired through supplements.
However, research shows that nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from vitamin D deficiency. This information is highly concerning as countless studies in the past have shown adverse health outcomes associated with vitamin D deficiency.
Following are some of the research-proven facts about vitamin D:
- Sufficient levels of vitamin D help to slow down progression of multiple sclerosis (MS), a nervous system disease.
- Low levels of vitamin D in blood increase the risk of early death.
- Vitamin D deficiency increases risk of brain strokes.
- Having adequate levels of the nutrient helps reduce childhood wheezing, type 1 diabetes in children.
- Severe vitamin D deficiency can cause bone-softening diseases in children (rickets) and adults (osteomalacia).
- Vitamin D deficiency after conceiving can increase the risk of severe pregnancy-related complications, poor birth outcomes and autism in children.
- Vitamin D prevents tooth decay.
- Vitamin D supplements can protect children against many respiratory infections in winter.