Cancer: Vitamin D deficiency found in three quarters of patients

Cancer occurs when the body loses control over the cells in the body, which divide and multiply at lightning speed. Certain vitamins have been shown to reduce tumor invasiveness and the propensity to metastasize, thereby reducing the risk of mortality. Vitamin D deficiency is three times more common in patients with advanced cancer.

Cell growth must be regulated for organs to function properly, and any interference with this regulation can lead to cancer.

The disease, which kills about 6.7 million people every year, is not yet cured, but treatments have improved survival rates.

In early research, scientists found that more than three-quarters of people with a variety of cancers have high levels of vitamin D, and the lowest levels were associated with more advanced cancers.

The nutrient is found in some foods, such as fatty fish, milk and fortified cereals, but can also be obtained through exposure to sunlight.

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There is conflicting evidence about the link between low vitamin D levels and cancer risk.

While some studies have linked the deficiency to cancer progression, others have found no evidence for it.

Early lab studies have suggested that the nutrient has anti-tumor properties, which it confers by regulating the genes involved in the multiplication and spread of cancer cells.

In an early 2011 study, researchers examining 160 men and women with cancer assessed their vitamin D levels through blood samples.

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The most common diagnoses were breast, prostate, lung, thyroid, and colon cancer.

Of the sample, 42 percent had vitamin D deficiency and another 32 percent had vitamin D deficiency.

WebMD reported, “The average vitamin D level was approximately 24 ng/mL.

“People with levels less than 24 ng/mL were nearly three times more likely to develop stage III cancer than those with higher vitamin D levels.”

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“Vitamin D supplements are helpful in preventing certain health problems. But there is not enough evidence that taking it also reduces the risk of cancer.”

Symptoms of deficiency can include muscle weakness, pain, fatigue, and depression.

While these complications can be easily avoided by getting the nutrient through sun exposure and diet, supplements may be necessary during the winter months.

However, vitamin D supplementation should not be initiated without the approval of a qualified physician.

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