Vitamin D may improve colorectal cancer survival
Higher blood levels of vitamin D may double survival rates of
colorectal cancer patients according to the results of a new study from
Harvard researchers. People with the highest average levels of
25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-(OH)D) – the non-active storage form
of the vitamin – had a cancer-specific mortality half that of
people with the lowest average levels.
Furthermore, high levels of the vitamin were associated with
an overall mortality level 40 % lower than people with the lowest
average levels, state the Boston-based researchers led by Prof Kimmie
Ng, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Higher predicted 25(OH)D levels
after a diagnosis of colorectal cancer may be associated with improved
survival,” stated the researchers. The link
between vitamin D intake and protection from cancer dates from the
1940s when Frank Apperly demonstrated a link between latitude and
deaths from cancer, and suggested that sunlight gave "a relative cancer immunity".
The new study analysed data from 1,017 participants in the Nurses'
Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study previously
diagnosed with colorectal cancer. It appears to add to the potential
vitamin D benefits for colorectal health by indicating that higher
levels may also improve survival rates amongst people already living
with the disease. The study is published in the British Journal of Cancer, Volume 101.