Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is needed for the proper functioning of the body. Researchers have recently found a possible like between vitamin D and colon cancer: it has been observed that patients with higher levels of the vitamin survive for a longer period of time after the disease.
Vitamins are primordial for our well-being – that is a well-established fact. We need a variety of vitamins to stay in good health; each has its own function in the body, acting on different organs. Research is still ongoing as to the action of each – that is how it has recently been discovered that vitamin D might be extremely beneficial for patients suffering from colon cancer. Newly published research has demonstrated that the likelihood for colon cancer patients to survive through the disease is higher when they have, flowing in their blood, increased concentrations of vitamin D. The study entailed analysis of a considerable of data, amassed from 1600 patients. It was observed that those having great levels of the vitamin have 50 % less chance of dying than those having little amounts of vitamin D.
Blood samples of the 1600 patients were taken post-surgery for colon cancer. These samples were later analysed for vitamin D. The observations were particularly more pronounced for stage 2 cancer patients: this is the stage where the tumour is large but the disease has not yet extended its deadly tentacles to other parts of the body. These patients demonstrated greater benefit, probably conferred by the high levels of vitamin D. Furthermore, 75 % of the patients with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood were still alive and breathing after five years, while less than 60 % of those with lower vitamin D levels were alive after the same period of time. The authors have then decided to test the effect of vitamin D tablets on patients who are undergoing chemotherapy – study which is yet to be done.
As a result, the authors of the study have suggested that these findings could be exploited in colon cancer treatment: vitamin D could be made part of the treatment program. However, the results yielded are only observational ones; that is, they only found that patients with high vitamin D levels have an increased chance of survival, but that does not mean that vitamin D itself can, in fact, increase the chance of survival. The results only dealt with observations linking vitamin D to survival likelihood and it did not show that vitamin D is a causative agent. Therefore, clinical trials have to be done to actually gauge the effect of the vitamin on the survival chance of patients, if there is any effect at all, that is.
The sources of vitamin D are many. The most commonly known one is exposure to sunlight which triggers the synthesis of the vitamin in the skin. Food sources include eggs, milk, fish, fish liver oil, yogurt, margarine, beef, and liver. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with many diseases like diabetes, heart disease and other cancers.