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Vitamin D and the Effect on Lung Cancer Risk

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Vitamin D, which the body synthesis’s with the help of sunlight, has an important bearing on the functioning of our auto-immune system. Vitamin D is a steroid vitamin, a group of fat-soluble prohormones, which encourages the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous. People who are exposed to normal quantities of sunlight do not need vitamin D supplements because sunlight promotes sufficient vitamin D synthesis in the skin.

Increasing vitamin D may now be a matter of life or death, as recent studies have shown that it may play a vital role in the fight against lung cancer. To date, lung cancer is one of the three most common cancers that kill men and women in developed countries with a statistic of one million deaths every year.
Traditionally, vitamin D was thought to be mostly responsible for bone health and was the medical answer to the rickets phenomenon decades ago. More recent findings have shown that the body has cells and tissues which contain vitamin D receptors necessary for its proper functioning, spurring a lot of interest in the potential of what it can do. The fact that it has just been discovered to prevent a spectrum of chronic diseases, cancer included, has stimulated a debate about whether it is the answer to the cancer problem that has plagued the world.

Vitamin D has been found to not only reduce the risk for contracting lung cancer, according to a recent study conducted at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, it may also increase the survival rate in patients who have already been diagnosed with it. The researchers of this study found that levels of CYP24A1 (a naturally occurring enzyme) are up to 50 times higher in the lungs of lung cancer patients than they are in healthy lung tissue.  The researchers also found that as CYP24A1 levels rose, so too did the lung cells aggressiveness and the patients risk for fatality.  What does this have to do with vitamin D you may ask? Well CYP24A1 breaks down the active form of vitamin D in the body.
Researchers are now working on developing a drug that prevents CYP24A1 levels from rising and/or reduces elevated CYP24A1 levels. This would be extremely beneficial because more than half of lung cancer patients who undergo surgery experience a return of the cancer.

How we approach cancer may hold a vital clue to its solution. The present treatment of cancer involves procedures such as chemotherapy, invasive procedure and use of pharmaceuticals. This narrow-minded focus on finding a cure practically ignores other options which have been around far longer than conventional medicine – such as the concept of a nutritional cure.


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  • Posted On April 6, 2012
  • Published articles 10

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