Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have discovered a link between high levels of vitamin D and increased chance of colon cancer survival. Dr. Kimmie Ng said, “There has been a lot of laboratory scientific evidence that vitamin D is involved in cell growth and can inhibit or slow down cancer cell growth in animal models. There are also studies that look at vitamin D levels and the risk of getting colon cancer, and they found that higher levels conferred a lower risk of getting colon cancer.”
The researchers studied 304 participants with colon cancer in their research. They drew blood and measured their vitamin D levels. Those with in the highest quartile of vitamin D concentration had a 48% lower risk from dying of their colon cancer.
During the study period, 123 patients died, 96 of them from their colon cancer. The odds of dying from colon cancer specifically, according to Ng were 39% lower if the patient’s vitamin D levels were in the highest 25%. Ng later said, “It is significant. There’s definitely an association, which is what we showed in our study. I think definitive proof of the benefit would require vitamin D be studied in a clinical trial.” Along with surgery to remove the largest bits of cancer and regular chemotherapy, Vitamin D supplements can make colon cancer much more manageable or even curable.
In the laboratory, Vitamin D seems to slow cancer cell growth, as it appears to be involved in programmed cell death, which can kill cancer cells, and may be involved in inhibiting blood vessel growth in tumors. Essentially cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells as they are out of their cellular cycle. Vitamin D can slow the cell growth and hopefully put the cells back into their cycle. This is not surprising as many vitamins including C (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_C#Therapeutic_uses) have therapeutic uses in modern medicine.