Skip to comments.Confirmation that vitamin D acts as a protective agent against the advance of colon cancer
Posted on 08/16/2011 8:59:19 AM PDT by decimon
A study conducted by VHIO researchers confirms that a lack of vitamin D increases the aggressiveness of colon cancer
The indication that vitamin D and its derivatives have a protective effect against various types of cancer is not new. In the field of colon cancer, numerous experimental and epidemiological studies show that vitamin D3 (or cholecalciferol) and some of its derivatives inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. Researchers at the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), in collaboration with the Alberto Sols Institute of Biomedical Research (CSIC-UAB), have confirmed the pivotal role of vitamin D, specifically its receptor (VDR), in slowing down the action of a key protein in the carcinogenic transformation process of colon cancer cells. These results are being published in the journal PLoS One.
This protein, known as beta-catenin, which is normally found in intestinal epithelial cells where it facilitates their cohesion, builds up in large quantities in other areas of the cells when the tumour transformation begins. As a result of these changes, the protein is retained in the cell nucleus, where it facilitate the carcinogenic process, and this is the point at which vitamin D intervenes, or rather, the vitamin D receptor (VDR). "Our study has confirmed the pivotal role of the VDR in controlling the anomalous signal that sparks off the growth and uncontrolled proliferation of colon cells which, in the final instance, ends up causing a tumour to emerge", says Héctor Palmer, the coordinator of this study and head of the VHIO's Stem Cells and Cancer laboratory. He continues, "The stimulation of this receptor suppresses the action of the beta-catenin protein, intercepting the series of events that change the intestinal cell into a malignant tumour cell".
The study was conducted on mice and human colon cancer cells. The mice were used as a model to replicate the initial phases of colon cancer. "These findings show that mice of this kind, which also lack the VDR and hence do not respond to vitamin D, present larger and more aggressive tumours than mice with the VDR", explains Dr. Palmer, and concludes: "The number of tumours is not influenced by the absence of VDR, which would indicate that this factor does not protect against the appearance of the tumour but does intervene in its growth phase, reducing its aggressiveness".
The researchers then analysed the effect of the VDR on human colon cancer cell cultures and observed that the concentration of the altered protein, beta-catenin, increased in cells without the VDR. These findings were repeated in the three types of colon cancer cells studied, and confirmed the results observed in the mice.
In two-thirds of advanced colon cancer tumours there was a lack of VDR in the cancer cells, and this circumstance leads us to believe that this loss may contribute to speeding up the growth of the tumour. The findings of this study confirm this supposition.
Vitamin D: essential in the initial phases of colon cancer
In light of these findings, chronic vitamin D deficiency represents a risk factor in the development of more aggressive colon tumours. Patients in the initial stages of colon cancer, the time when the VDR still has a substantial presence in the cells, could benefit from being treated with vitamin D3. However, this would not be useful in the advanced stages of the disease when the presence of the VDR is very much reduced.
The study data support the development of anti-tumour medicines based on the structure of vitamin D, although their use in patients will require further research in the next few years.
The body not only obtains vitamin D from food, especially milk and fish oils, but also manufactures it from exposure to sunlight. Prolonged exposure is not necessary; just 10 minutes in the sun every day when it is not at its peak is sufficient to stimulate its production. During the summer, when we are more likely to sunbathe, it is important to use the appropriate protective measures against sunburn to avoid future sun damage. Use high-factor solar protection products and do not expose the skin to the sun in the middle of the day to protect against skin cancers.
For further information, please contact: Amanda Wren Communication Manager Vall d'Hebron Institut d'Oncologia (VHIO) Tel. +34 695 207886 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
THank you for keeping track and bringing of all this to us, decimon!
Here’s a question. If this finding is true, do very fair skinned people like redheads have a lower rate of colon cancer? Fair skinned people produce much more vitamin D from sunlight than dark skinned people do so it would seem the fairer skinned people would, on average, have a lower rate of colon cancer just as they have a higher rate of skin cancer.
I doubt it. I am very fair skinned and get get vitamin D in a prescription form because I am severely deficient and unable to process it properly. This week I take one 10,000id once a day and after that will take 2 per week to try to keep my levels up to normal.
I doubt it. I am very fair skinned and get get vitamin D in a prescription form because I am severely deficient and unable to process it properly. This week I take one 10,000iu once a day and after that will take 2 per week to try to keep my levels up to normal.
Before beginning to read about his stuff I'd have said I've received ample sunlight for most of my life. Now, having thought about how much beneficial sunlight there is and how much I've actually received, I would say that I haven't gotten enough beneficial sunlight. With a bit more thought I'd say that's true of most people.
Milk is a very poor source of vitamin D. An 8 oz glass contains only 100 iu.
I’ve read a couple of articles that said that Vit D taken when there is a deficiency in Vit K (which supposedly most people have) that supplementing with Vit D can actually lead to heart disease.
Oh, and I should have said, my post wasn’t aimed at you, I think you already know that, it was aimed at the writer of the article. ;)
In the FWIW category, I’d like to pass this anecdote on to Freepers:
I have had chronically low Vit D for years, starting with diagnosis with a severe autoimmune disease.
Over the years, I have taken all kinds of supplements and prescriptions, and made dietary changes, to try to raise my Vit D to normal levels. One prob I always had with that is I knew there were several different types of Vit D and no pill was going to get it right in terms of what my body actually needed. and anyway, no matter what I took or ate, my Vit D levels remained stubornly very low.
At the same time, I took meds that advised “stay out of the sun,” plus I fell for the ubiquitous admonition to use massive amounts of sunscreen whenever I was at the beach or wherever. So I wasn’t getting any natural Vit D and I can tell you no doctor ever recommended that either.
Recently I said the hell with this and started sunning, sunbathing, whatever you want to call it — laying out in the sun with as few clothes on as possible.
I started with about ten minutes a day. As soon as my skin felt hot, I went in. I worked up to about 45-60 minutes a day. Again, changing position as soon as I could feel my skin getting hot. (This amount of sun has not been enough to make me tan, if that means anything.)
I did this about two months, then had some bloodwork done. Would you believe that for the first time in at least two decades my blood Vit D levels were normal?
I feel that not only am I “getting” more Vit D, that my body is making the right mix of Vit Ds, unlike any pill I could take.
Yes, it’s a very “duh” point after the fact. But anyway, just throw it out there for people interested in Vit D.
I recently read that there is no some question about whether Vit D in milk is absorbable at all if it is not whole milk.
Wear a hat and a longsleeve cotton shirt if you will be out for a long time....and Stop the sunscreen.
Other times....walk in the sunshine, hum a little tune and smile.
Yep that is what My Dr said.If you use sunscreen you block all the vitamin D s using it and being out in the sun defeats to purpose of the sun in reference to vitamin D.She is a diabetes specialist and says she fears that many more kids will be diagnosed with type1 from the over use of high powered sunscreens since vitamin D deficiency is a major thing with type ones like me.
I hadn’t ready that, but wouldn’t that just figure? What a waste then. I just worry that parents think the small amount in milk was just fine and I am not sure there is really much in cheese or yogurt either (and I bet if you quizzed parents they would say, sure, it’s also got just as much as milk so my kids are getting enough if they eat cheese). I don’t think it’s the govt’s business to force people to eat right, but I think that when they start interfering by doing things like putting vitamins in milk for instance, they give people a false sense of security. And in this case, they appear to have been wrong anyway.
Probably if you go in the sun when it’s comfortable, get a base tan early in the season and don’t have a skin type that is particularly prone to skin cancer (some people are genetically unlucky) you are ok. I suspect in a natural setting people didn’t strip naked and lay in the sun during the point when the sun was at it’s highest. They probably found some shade and took a little siesta (or did something that could be done in the shade— if they could and went back out and worked when it got a little cooler.
Nothing feels better than a little sun on your skin. I think there’s a reason for that. Of course, when I had mine tested I was extremely low. It took me almost a year to bring mine into the normal range.
I get my check every three years...and take my D-3 religiously (5,000IU).
Thanks again for the excellent article.
While I have brought my levels up (after a YEAR) on supplements, I find your story interesting. I think the very best way to get it is via the sun. After all it is the way we were designed to get vitamin D. I’m glad to hear your story. GOOD for you. I hope you it helps your other problems. I have started feeling better, altho I think I was so low for so long that even bringing my levels up won’t undo everything.
Dunno. Dr. Cannell hawks a vitamin D product containing K2.
If that's true then beach bums should make sure they get vitamin K.
That’s one a them good anecdotes.
I don’t know where you live but, if you haven’t already, you might want to read up on the possibility of beneficial sunlight at different latitudes.
It's mad dogs and Englishmen that go out in the midday sun. My experience is that fair-skinned people tend to avoid the midday sun.
If most of them avoided the sun that much, they wouldn’t be over-represented among skin cancer patients
There are multiple forms of Vit D used by the body and the pills the doctor gives you are only of one type. I believe that wise sun use will allow your body to manufacture the “right” Vit D, in the right ratio with other forms of Vit D, for your body at that time in your life.
Thank you so much for you well wishes. I’m glad you’re feeling somewhat better; I am, too. But still have a lot of challenges!
I am finding my sunbathing is really adding to my sense of wellbeing, though, and this must be because it is correcting my Vit D deficiency.
This is exactly what happened to me: I thought upping my Vit D by drinking more milk (skim) and after several YEARS of doing that with no result, I found out it wasn’t “me,” it was the fact that the milk supplementation doesn’t really work.
Yes, you are right: if the government is going to do it, do it right.
There's also the regulation of melatonin production.
Yes, you’re right, my supplement is only D3 (I think—I would have to look, but I think that’s correct).
Interesting you bring that up. Buried in lots of reading about research on tumor necrosis factor inhibitors, I found that these can decrease melatonin production. So maybe sunbathing also gives the body the opportunity to maintain better homeostasis on melatonin as well.
I've read a little on this before. Seems to me I'm justified in wanting a tropical vacation at least once a year, preferably in winter.
One problem I have: since air travel has become such a hassle that we just won't do it, we're literally limited to where we can go!
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