When it comes to vitamins, much of the recent news has been grim. “Enough is enough: Stop wasting money on vitamin and mineral supplements” was the headline of a medical journal editorial not so long ago.
One exception may be Vitamin D, aka the sunshine nutrient.
Now, a new study by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer institute finds that high levels of vitamin D increase survival in certain patients with colon cancer.
From the Dana-Farber news release:
… clinical trial patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who had high levels of vitamin D in their bloodstream prior to treatment with chemotherapy and targeted drugs, survived longer, on average, than patients with lower levels of the vitamin. Those findings were reported today at the 2015 American Society of Cancer Oncology (ASCO) Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium in San Francisco.
…The research, based on data from more than 1,000 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who enrolled in a phase 3 clinical trial of chemotherapy plus biologic therapies, adds to vitamin D’s already impressive luster as a potential cancer-inhibiting agent. In the study, patients with the highest blood levels of vitamin D survived for a median period of 32.6 months, compared to 24.5 months for those with the lowest levels…
The study’s lead researcher Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH, a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber said in an email to me:
“There is a lot of debate about what can be concluded from observational studies of vitamin D and colorectal cancer survival, with many believing that higher vitamin D levels may just be a proxy for better health or less aggressive disease. But this is where our study truly stands out from the rest – we had very detailed and comprehensive data on patient and tumor characteristics, survival, response to chemotherapy, and diet and lifestyle factors. Even after controlling for all of these variables in our analysis, our results did not change – higher plasma vitamin D was still associated with significantly better survival. Continue reading