Treating cancer is no easy task. Despite all the latest advances in cancer treatment, many
treatment options still fail. What’s worse, many of the most common treatments, such as
chemotherapy and radiation treatment, can leave a person feeling worse than before they
started treatment, making it hard to endure these treatments and recover afterwards.
Despite the challenges related to treating cancer, people are looking more and more for ways to
prevent cancer from starting altogether. While prevention isn’t always possible, research shows
that many lifestyle habits can help prevent cancer, such as avoiding smoking and drinking in
moderation. But other research also looks at the nutrients you put into your body and how they
One potentially viable nutrient? Vitamin D. You know, the one you get from the sun. Keep
reading to learn more about vitamin D and its role as a cancer treatment.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient that plays an important role in normal bodily function. Vitamins in
general are usually compounds that our body doesn’t make naturally that we have to get from
the food we eat.
Vitamin D is commonly found in foods such as certain types of fish and eggs. Many foods are
fortified to contain vitamin D, such as certain dairy products or even oats and cereal. You can
also get vitamin D through exposure to sunlight.
What does vitamin D do for the body?
Most notably, vitamin D plays an important role in helping the body keep your bones strong and
healthy. It does this by helping the body absorb and use calcium. Without vitamin D, your body
can absorb calcium, which is crucial to strong bone development.
Vitamin D also has many other beneficial health properties, such as offering anti-inflammatory
and antioxidative properties.
How does vitamin D help with cancer?
The concept of vitamin D playing a role in cancer came from early research into cancer
incidence and death rates. Specifically, it was noted that in certain latitudes where there is more exposure to sunlight, the lower the incidence rates were. This suggests that vitamin D may have
been playing a role in helping keep these rates low.
Part of vitamin D’s benefit has to do with its antioxidative properties. Antioxidants are extremely
important because they help the body keep free radicals in check. While free radicals are
produced normally by the body, certain activities can increase how many are in the body, such
as smoking. If free radical levels are too high, it can cause cell and DNA damage that can lead
to cancer. That’s why vitamin D has been explored for its preventative properties.
Is vitamin D an effective cancer treatment?
A lot of research has been conducted examining whether or not vitamin C therapy could be
used to treat, manage, or possibly prevent cancer from occurring. Here are some key findings
from research thus far.
- Slowing the progression of cancer. Research in animal and lab models shows that
vitamin D could have a range of benefits that helps prevent cancer from spreading
quickly. These benefits include inducing apoptosis (or cancer cell death) and reducing
the ability of tumors to create blood vessels, cutting them off from the body’s nutrients
and making it harder for them to thrive.
- Cancer prevention? Some studies, including animal and lab studies, have suggested
that vitamin D could prevent carcinogenesis and slow the progression of tumors. Onestudy even found that the use of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids could prevent the
development of advanced cancer
A more recent trial, however, poured cold water on the idea that vitamin D could be a
preventative solution to cancer. In the largest clinical trial examining vitamin D as a
cancer prevention option, researchers found that vitamin D did not meaningfully reduce
the risk of developing cancer.
Is vitamin D safe?
Generally, vitamin D is safe to take. However, talk to your doctor before you significantly
increase how much vitamin D you consume. Too much vitamin D can make certain health
conditions worse, such as kidney disease, high calcium levels, or even heart disease.
With any type of cancer treatment, it’s important to make sure you fully understand the available
treatment options and choose options that work for you. This should include talking to your
doctor before starting any cancer treatment. They can help you decide which treatment options
are right for you.