Colorectal Cancer Fears Vitamin D

Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosis, and the fourth leading cause behind cancer deaths worldwide, but the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Although, even with such high chances of infection and mortality, colorectal cancer still fears vitamin D. It has been proven through a study that vitamin D (25(OH)D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D) can help prevent someone from contracting the cancer.

The recent study by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute investigators makes it clear that vitamin D can protect people diagnosed with colorectal cancer by enhancing their immune system’s aggression toward tumor cells. The research was published Gut, and it represents the debut of a connection between vitamin D and the immune system’s response to cancer that have been documented in a huge population. The finding contributes to the growing body of research revealing that vitamin D, a.k.a. the “sunshine vitamin” since the body creates it when struck by sunlight, holds a crucial role in cancer prevention.

Shuji Ogino, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber, said that persons who possess high levels of vitamin D coursing through their bloodstreams have a low risk of developing colorectal cancer. The laboratory experiments suggest that 25(OH)D enhances immune system functions by activating T cells. The T cells respond and target the cancerous cells throughout the body. During the experiment, Ogino and his fellow researchers wanted to determine if the two factors are related.

Ogino and his colleagues agreed that if they were connected, then the patients with greater levels of 25(OH)D would be less likely to suffer from colorectal tumors. Colorectal tumors that do develop in these individuals would, based on similar reasoning, be more resilient against the T cells. So the stronger and larger the amount of vitamin D in someone’s system, the more that colorectal cancer has to fear.

To confirm if their hypothesis was true, the research team compared their results with data from 170,000 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study, both of which were long-term observational studies. Of the participants, researchers compared carefully chosen parties of 318 colorectal cancer patients and 624 persons who were now cancer free.

All 942 of them had their blood drawn in the 1990s, before any of them showed cancerous symptoms. The investigators tested these samples for 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a byproduct of vitamin D that forms in the liver. They discerned that patients with high amounts of 25(OH)D had lower-than-average risks of developing tumors.

Ogino mentioned how this was the first study to explore the effects that vitamin D can impose on cancer immunity functions. The experiment also cleared up the issue with how 25 (OH)D can be used as a supplement for the immune system as a whole.

However, the way in which the vitamin restricts the cancer cells, and how to accurately predict or administer the treatments, is still far from perfect. Until the time where that process is developed, colorectal cancer will just have to settle for blindly fearing vitamin D. With medical treatments progressing at the rate they are now, the future of healthcare worldwide is bound to save even more lives than ever before.

By Matthew Austin Bowers

Sources:
Medical Xpress
Medical Daily
Medical News Today

Photo by Bradley Stemke – Flickr License

One Response to "Colorectal Cancer Fears Vitamin D"

  1. vivky   January 19, 2015 at 12:05 am

    Vitamin D is known to have many benefits in various diseases and also has a impact on inflammatory pathways. Due to its effect on inflammatory mediator it may be effective for cancer but there is no evidence on it. For evidenced based guidelines to treat cancer check http://www.treatmentguideline. com cancer section. If recommended by these guidelines than Vitamin D can be used in appropriate does for cancer.

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