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Wednesday, 04 April 2018
The Irish Times recently reported on a study from the British Medical Journal that stated high levels of vitamin D may be linked to a lower risk of developing cancer, including liver cancer.*1
The findings support the theory that vitamin D might help protect against some cancers.
Vitamin D is produced by the skin in response to sunlight. It helps to maintain calcium levels in the body to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.
The article states, while the benefits of vitamin D on bone diseases are well known, there is growing evidence vitamin D may benefit other chronic diseases, including some cancers.*2
So far, most studies have been carried out in European or American populations, and evidence from Asian populations is limited.
As Vitamin D concentrations and metabolism can vary by ethnicity, the research was carried out to see whether similar effects would be seen in non-Caucasian populations.
The researchers analysed data from the Japan Public Health Centre -based Prospective (JPHC) Study, involving 33,736 male and female participants aged between 40 to 69 years of age.
At the start of the study, participants provided detailed information on their medical history, diet and lifestyle, and blood samples were taken to measure vitamin D levels.
Not surprisingly, vitamin D levels varied depending on the time of year the sample was taken, tending to be higher during the summer and autumn months than in the winter or spring.
After accounting for this seasonal variation, samples were split into four groups, ranging from the lowest to highest levels of vitamin D.
Participants were then monitored for an average of 16 years, during which time 3,301 new cases of cancer were recorded.
The British Medical Journal reported, after adjusting for several known cancer risk factors, such as age, weight (BMI), physical activity levels, smoking, alcohol intake and dietary factors, the researchers found that a higher level of vitamin D was associated with a lower (around 20 per cent) relative risk of overall cancer in both men and women.
Higher vitamin D levels were also associated with a lower (30-50 per cent) relative risk of liver cancer, and the association was more evident in men than in women.
No association was found for lung or prostate cancer, and the authors note that none of the cancers examined showed an increased risk associated with higher vitamin D levels.
The authors said their findings support the theory that vitamin D may protect against the risk of cancer, but that there may be a ceiling effect, which may suggest that there are no additional benefits beyond a certain level of vitamin D.
Other benefits of vitamin D to the body include:
· Maintains the health of bones and teeth.
· Supports the health of the immune system, brain, and nervous system.
· Regulates insulin levels and aid diabetes management.
· Supports lung function and cardiovascular health.
· Influences the expression of genes involved in cancer development.
There is a range of Sona vitamin D products available in pharmacies or from our website. Check out our product list for more information.
*Irish Times, article published on 7th March, 2018
*British Media Journal, Circulating vitamin D concentration and risk of seven cancers: Mendelian randomisation study