Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

Childhood in the sun protects against MS

Childhood in the sun protects against MS

The cancer risk for people who have a sufficient vitamin D intake is about 20 percent lower than that for people who lack the vitamin, a study by researchers at Japan's National Cancer Center indicates.

Dr Wagner said more work was needed to determine whether there is a "ceiling" beyond which vitamin D has no further effect and cautioned that there could be another reason for the apparent link between increasing the vitamin and reduced cancer risk.

Taiki Yamaji, section head at the National Cancer Center Division of Epidemiology, who was involved in the study, commented, "To ingest vitamin D, it is important to have a balanced diet and get an appropriate amount of sunlight".

The importance of the "sunshine" vitamin is not yet fully understood but the colder Scottish climate and its effects have always been linked to the nation's high levels of MS.

This new study has shown that vitamin D, and especially its activated form, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, could have a blocking effect on the actions of the cancer cells across multiple signaling pathways of the cells involved in the cell death process (scientifically known as apoptosis), the creation of blood vessels (angiogenesis), and inflammation, all of which have been reported in colon and breast cancer forms.

The researchers did not specify whether the trial participants used vitamin supplements or not.

Vitamin D did not appear have any impact in warding off lung or prostate cancer, however. After accounting for this seasonal variation, the samples were divided into four groups: from the lowest to the highest level.

"Our findings support the theory that vitamin D may protect against the risk of cancer".

The participants were then monitored for an average of 16 years, during which time 3,301 new cases of cancer were recorded. Its results took into account all the factors that could have disrupted the validity of the analysis, such as age, sex, weight, seasons, alcohol consumption, smoking, etc...

The study is published in the journal The BMJ.

Exposure to sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D by our skin. It helps to maintain calcium levels in the body to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy - as well as reducing the risk of cancer.

None of the cancers examined showed an increased risk associated with higher Vitamin D levels.

One way to increase vitamin D levels in the less sunny months is to eat foods that are rich in it.

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