Vitamin D study offers hope in the prevention of lung cancer

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    Vitamin D

    Vitamin D could be crucial in the fight against cancer. (Shutterstock photos)

    Vitamin D — really a hormone, not a vitamin —  could greatly decrease the development of certain cancers, particularly lung cancer, according to researchers.

    A University of California study examined lung cancer data collected from 111 countries. What they found indicates that higher incidence of lung cancer goes hand in hand with smoking habits and significant lower UVB ray exposure.

    Vitamin D production is directly linked to sun exposure. The direct correlation between UVB ray deficiency and cancer prevalence led researchers to believe vitamin D to be essential in preventing multiple forms of cancerous growth.

    Vitamin D functions

    Vitamin D controls the growth and death of cells, essentially keeping cancer — the uncontrolled multiplication and mutation of cells — at bay.

    According to lead researcher Cedric Garland, from the UC San Diego School of Medicine, and quoted in the study report by Science Daily, “the first event in cancer is loss of communication among cells due to, among other things, low vitamin D and calcium levels.”

    The findings also suggest that lower levels of vitamin D could be related to the incidence of chronic diseases, including different types of cancer. Could then this be the answer to the great cancer cure question?

    For those individuals who do not spend much time in the sun, dietary supplementation of vitamin D might be necessary. There are few foods with substantial amounts of the hormone, making oral supplements the most reasonable option. The U.S. government currently recommends that children and adults up to 70 years of age take 600 IU of vitamin D daily. Adults over 70 years are recommended to take 800 IU daily. For cancer prevention, the Anticancer Research Journal recommends 4,000 to 8,000 IU daily for adults.

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