Posts Tagged ‘vitamin d’

Vitamin D Linked To Higher Risk Of Cancer

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

New research reports that higher levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer.  The levels fall within the normal range of vitamin D levels the researchers report.

People with levels of higher serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D were more likely to develop squamous cell or basal cell carcinoma the scientists found.  Other factors, including increased exposure to sunlight, likely complicate the relationship.  The news was reported online in Archives of Dermatology.

The relationship between vitamin D and skin cancer is complex and studies have yielded conflicting results acknowledges Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance which tracks news related to cancer and heart disease.

“Some research suggests that vitamin D might reduce the risk of basal cell carcinoma, but other studies have had the opposite outcome,” explains Jesse Slome, AACII’s director.  The researchers analyzed data, over an average of 9.8 years of follow-up, from over 3,200 white members of a health maintenance organization who had a high probability of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer.

The researchers found, 240 patients developed nonmelanoma skin cancer, including 49 with squamous cell carcinoma, 163 with basal cell carcinoma, and 28 with both.  Some 80% of the cases occurred in sites frequently exposed to the sun.

When patients were divided into four groups according to their D levels, there was a trend linking the higher levels and skin cancer risk that was significant.

The findings add “to the limited and conflicting epidemiological investigation regarding the relationship between vitamin D and [nonmelanoma skin cancer], the researchers concluded.  They added that, aside from UVB light, the finding might also be confounded by such things as participants’ vitamin D levels over a lifetime and consumption of vitamin D supplements, which they were unable to investigate.

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Women With Breast Cancer Have Low Vitamin D Levels

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

The finding comes from scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center who recommend women should be given high doses of vitamin D.   The U.S. Institute of Medicine suggests that blood levels nearing 32 nanograms per milliliter are adequate.

Vitamin D, obtained from milk, fortified cereals and exposure to sunlight, is well known to play an essential role in cell growth, in boosting the body’s immune system and in strengthening bones. 

In a study of women undergoing treatment for breast cancer, nearly 70 percent had low levels of vitamin D in their blood, according to a study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Breast Cancer Symposium in San Francisco. The analysis showed women with late-stage disease and non-Caucasian women had even lower levels. 

Scientists analyzed vitamin D levels in each woman.  They found the average level was 27 nanograms per milliliter.  More than two-thirds of the women had vitamin deficiency. Weekly supplementation with high doses of vitamin D — 50,000 international units or more — improved the levels, according to the researchers. 

Previous studies have shown that nearly half of all men and women are deficient in the nutrient, with vitamin D levels below 32 nanograms per milliliter.   Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include muscle pain, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, symptoms of depression and sleep irregularities.

Some 692,000 American women are diagnosed annually with cancer in the United States according to the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance, the national trade group.  Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting 26 percent of women diagnosed with the illness.

Vitamin D Proves Heart Healthy

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

An estimated 800,000 Americans will have a first heart attack this year and the combined financial cost of heart attacks and strokes is over $225 billion.  Most personal bankruptcies today are directly tied to medical and healthcare costs.

A new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Denver and Massachusetts General Hospital studied the association between vitamin D levels in the blood and the death rates of those 65 and older.  

Researchers found that older adults with insufficient levels of vitamin D die from heart disease at greater rates that those with adequate levels of the vitamin.  The results are published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

It’s likely that more than one-third of older adults now have vitamin D levels associated with higher risks of death and few have levels associated with optimum survival noted the lead author on the study. 

The study noted that older adults are at high risk for vitamin D deficiency often because their skin has less exposure to the sun as a result of less time spent outdoors as well as the body’s reduced ability to make vitamin D.

The study analyzed data from the National Center for Health Statistics that was of the 24 million older adults in the United States. Compared to those with optimal vitamin D status, those with low vitamin D levels were 3 times more likely to die from heart disease and 2.5 times more likely to die from any cause.

“Vitamin D has health effects that go beyond strong bones,” one of the researchers explained. “It’s likely that it makes a vital contribution to good health.”