Vitamin D has long been considered a highly valued vitamin. Fat-soluble, it works to enhance intestinal absorption of iron, magnesium, phosphate, calcium and zinc.
A newly published meta-analysis of 25 different studies that involved over 17,000 participants with cancer, researchers believe they have discovered a link between vitamin levels in cancer patients and improved outcomes in cancer treatment, although their findings show the improved outcomes only relate to certain subtypes of cancer.
Scientists from the Institute for Nutritional Sciences at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, China, led by study co-author Hui Wang, MD, PhD, said they found it very likely that "vitamin D may influence the prognosis for people with breast cancer, colorectal cancer and lymphoma, in particular."
Patients in the studies had had their vitamin D levels checked at the time of diagnosis as well as prior to beginning cancer treatment.
They found that vitamin D levels were linked to higher survival rates in breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and lymphoma.
"Considering that vitamin D deficiency is a widespread issue all over the world, it is important to ensure that everyone has sufficient levels of this important nutrient," said Wang in a press release. "Physicians need to pay close attention to vitamin D levels in people who have been diagnosed with cancer."
Vitamin D levels were found not to be linked with better outcomes in other cancers, however, including lung cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma.
The findings have been reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).
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