Findings of a new study have revealed that low levels of vitamin D may increase a person's risk of developing bladder cancer.
Bladder cancer is the the fourth most prevalent form of cancer in men and accounts for about 5 percent of new cancer cases in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, the condition is likely to kill more than 16,000 individuals, most of whom are men, in the United States in 2016.
Results of a new study presented at the annual conference of the Society for Endocrinology in Brighton, UK show how vitamin D deficiency may be a contributing factor to the development of the disease.
How Vitamin D Influences Bladder Cancer
To investigate the link between vitamin D and the risk for bladder cancer, researchers reviewed seven earlier studies and discovered that five of these studies found an association between low levels of the sunshine vitamin to an increased risk of developing bladder cancer.
In experiments involving cells lining the bladder, researchers discovered that the cells activate and respond to vitamin D, which can stimulate an immune response.
Study lead author Rosemary Bland, from the University of Warwick in England, said that the finding is important in that the immune system may help in the prevention of cancer by identifying and destroying abnormal cells before these develop into cancer.
"Our work suggests that low levels of vitamin D in the blood may prevent the cells within the bladder from stimulating an adequate response to abnormal cells," Bland said.
The researcher added that vitamin D is not only cheap but it is also safe, which makes it an accessible tool for preventing cancer that can impact many people's lives.
Sources Of Vitamin D
Exposure to sunshine helps the body produce vitamin D, which helps control the body's calcium and phosphate levels. The vitamin can also be obtained from food sources such as egg yolks and fatty fish, albeit it is difficult to get vitamin D from food alone in countries having little sunlight.
Vitamin D And Health
Earlier studies have found an association between vitamin D deficiency and a range of health problems, including cognitive impairment, cardiovascular disease, cancer and autoimmune conditions.
A number of research have also shown the benefits of vitamin D in both adults and young children. Babies who are breast-fed beyond their first birthday, for instance, are recommended to be given vitamin D since breast milk is not a very good source of the vitamin.
Vitamin D supplements are also recommended for individuals who want to reduce their risk of having a serious asthma attack. Research also showed that vitamin D supplements may help improve heart function in heart failure patients.