Colorectal Cancer Possibly Linked to Insufficient Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a great vitamin. We can get our daily value of this wonderful vitamin from seafood and sunlight, and the benefits of maintaining a good level of vitamin D are too numerous to list here. A new study suggests that there may be another benefit to consider: a lower risk of colorectal cancer, known to some as “bowel cancer”. While taking a little extra vitamin D won’t replace your health insurance, this new research suggests that it may help you avoid cashing in on your life insurance any time soon.
The study, conducted by Harvard’s Shuji Ogino and a team of colleagues, involved a pool of nearly 1,000 people who gave blood samples back in the 1990s. Do note that when those involved in the study originally gave blood for one of two long-term health studies, none of them had colorectal cancer. When Dr. Ogino and his team took a look at the data, 318 of them had developed colorectal cancer, and it was here that Ogino found a possible link between vitamin D and the deadly disease.
Ogino found data that suggests that vitamin D is capable of influencing the immune cells responsible for fighting cancerous tumor cells. “People with high levels of vitamin D in their bloodstream have a lower overall risk of developing colorectal cancer,” Ogino said, “Laboratory research suggests that vitamin D boosts immune system function by activating T cells that recognize and attack cancer cells.”
Ogino and his team tested the blood samples of the 942 mentioned above for 25-hydroxy vitamin D, a form of vitamin D abundant enough in blood to be useful in measuring how much vitamin D is in a person’s entire body. As we mentioned before, 318 of those tested developed colorectal cancer while the remaining 624 did not.
The study showed that patients with a higher level of 25-hyrdroxy vitamin D were substantially less likely to develop colorectal cancer, leading the researchers to believe that there may be a link between vitamin D and the immune system’s ability to fend off cancerous cells. “In the future, we may be able to predict how increasing an individual’s vitamin D intake and immune function can reduce his or her risk of colorectal cancer,” Ogino says.
Colorectal cancer is a bigger problem than many believe, and excluding the most common kinds of skin cancer, it’s the third most common variety of cancer in both men and women according to the American Cancer Society.
Please keep in mind that these findings are the beginning of a long process of research and verification, and that at the time of writing, these findings were not proven to be substantially true. Vitamin D has plenty of other benefits including boosting your overall immune system, and it’s always a good idea to get your daily value, but if you’re looking for a surefire way to fight cancer, a few methods have already been proven effective, and you may be able to guess what they are. Simply eating healthier foods, exercising regularly, and avoiding substances like alcohol and tobacco has been proven to decrease your risk of cancer (and possibly your health insurance premiums).
How do you like to get your daily dose of vitamin D? Have you or a loved one been affected by colorectal or bowel cancer? Share your insights with us in the comments section below!