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July 2020 (Vol. 5 Issue 5)

Vitamin D lowers blood cancer risk
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Vitamin D lowers blood cancer risk image

High vitamin D levels protect against Covid-19—and they also lower the risk of some cancers and make others less malign.

The 'sunshine vitamin' plays a key part in preventing colon cancer and blood cancers, including leukaemia and lymphoma, and can also slow the progress of breast and prostate cancers.

As Covid-19 researchers have been discovering, the vitamin is vital for regulating a healthy immune system, and especially the immune cells such as monocytes and T-cells.

This is probably why it protects against blood cancers, say researchers from the Autonomous University of Madrid, who have reviewed the published research into the vitamin.

Evidence that vitamin D also treats cancer isn't quite so strong, but people whose breast and prostate cancer is more virulent also tend to be low in the vitamin, suggesting it could play some part in the cancers' progress.

For most people, and especially those in the northern hemisphere, daily exposure to sunshine may not be enough to top up levels, and supplements should be taken as well, the researchers say.

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References

(Source: Seminars in Cancer Biology, 2020; doi: 10.1016/j.semcancer.2020.05.018)

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