A simple internet search on the benefits of vitamin D produces a surprising array of results. Low levels of the sunshine vitamin are linked to obesity, poor brain function, increased risk for respiratory infections, and now - colon cancer.
So many researchers are concentrating on the role vitamin D plays in our immune systems, that two major studies were released within a vary short period of time; both of which concentrate on colon cancer. The first study, out of Harvard, looks at a group of patients with advanced colon cancer. The group was split into two subgroups depending on their Vitamin D blood levels. The group with high levels of vitamin D fared much better, across the board, then their counterparts in the low level group:
- Their cancer grew at a slower pace, taking over 2 months longer to reach the same growth levels
- They lived an average of 8 months longer, living an average of 32.6 months as compared to 24.5 months.
Another study published in Great Britain found an even more intriguing link - prevention. As we always state, prevention is far better than treatment. Prevention is the whole reason we do screening colonoscopies for our patients - a small precancerous polyp is much easier to deal with than a large malignancy.
The Great Britain study focused on the role vitamin D plays in our immune system. The study found that patients with high vitamin D levels were producing more T-lymphocytes, or T-cells, than patients with low levels. T-cells are on the front line in the battle against tumor production in the body, destroying cells before they have a chance to form tumors.
Unfortunately, many americans are vitamin D deficient. Why? We are not outside as much, especially in the winter, and when we are we wear sunscreen to reduce the risk of skin cancers, and it is hard to get enough of the vitamin in our diet. The good news is that dietary supplements are small and affordable. If you are under a doctor’s care. please seek advice before adding any supplements to your diet.
If you are ready to wage war on colon cancer, call and make an appointment for a screening colonoscopy - you do not need a referral from your family physician. Use this form to contact us.