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Vitamin D may increase lifespan in cancer: Research

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 Anish Narda
Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) organized trials to find out if vitamin D can extend the duration of life among cancer patients.

Towards this end, comparison between people who took Vitamin D supplements and people who took placebo for at least 3 years was held. A total of 79,055 people, 78% of them female, were examined over the period of 10 trials. Their average age was 68 years.

The MSU team found a major link between people who took vitamin D supplements and low risk of dying from cancer. A 13% lower risk of dying through cancer was found among cancer patients who took Vitamin D supplements than those who took placebo over the same period.

All this information was presented in detail at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago, Illinois, on June 3, 2019.

The Journal of Clinical Oncology added an abstract saying “The disagreement in the mortality rate among vitamin D and placebo groups was statistically substantial enough that it showed just how essential it might be among the cancer people,"

Cancer is the second main cause of death worldwide according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The record in 2018 shows around 18.1 million people had cancer out of which 9.6 million died due to it.

There are many questions that are still unanswered such as whether taking vitamin D supplements could prevent osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases.

Tarek Haykal, a resident doctor in internal medicine at MSU and one of the study’s lead authors, said that while he and his colleagues were studying the evidence in prevention of cancer by vitamin D supplements, even though the study’s findings are promising, there is still a lot to find out, including the correct dosage and blood levels of vitamin D.

He added, "More investigation on vitamin D is required as to how many years its can add to the life of the individual with cancer and how the underlying mechanism of action works”. He argues, “There’s plenty of potential here as it carries benefits with very minimal side effects”. He went on to say that “vitamin D has the ability to lower the death rate of people with cancer but has not shown any signs that it can prevent getting cancer”.


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