By inducing a specific gene to increase expression of a key enzyme, vitamin D protects healthy prostate cells from the damage and injuries that can lead to cancer, University of Rochester Medical Center researchers report.
“Many epidemiological studies have suggested the beneficial properties of vitamin D,” said Yi-Fen Lee, associate professor of urology at the Medical Center who led the research. “Our findings reflect what we see in those studies and demonstrate that vitamin D not only can be used as a therapy for prostate cancer, it can prevent prostate cancer from happening.”
Vitamin D turns up the activity of an enzyme that breaks down reactive oxygen species (ROS or free radicals).
Lee found that vitamin D links with a gene known as G6PD, increasing its activity and the production of an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. Increased activity of the enzyme clears cells of ROS, the molecules that can damage and injure cells.
“If you reduce DNA damage, you reduce the risk of cancer or aging,” Lee said. “Our study adds one more beneficial effect of taking a vitamin D supplement. Taking a supplement is especially important for senior citizens and others who might have less circulation of vitamin D, and for people who live and work areas where there is less sunshine.”
Women who had a vitamin D deficiency when they were diagnosed with breast cancer were 94% more likely to have their cancer metastasize and 73% more likely to die within 10 years, Canadian researchers reported Thursday.
The team also found that only 24% of the women in its study had what are normally considered adequate levels of vitamin D at the time of the diagnosis.
The study represents "the first time that vitamin D has been linked to breast cancer progression," said Dr. Pamela Goodwin of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, who led the study.
Surprisingly, the researchers also found that only 24 percent of the patients had adequate levels of vitamin D when they were diagnosed.
"This study found that vitamin D deficiency is very common among women with breast cancer, and it suggests that vitamin D deficiency is linked to poorer outcomes in these women," Dr. Nancy Davidson, director of the breast cancer program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, said during a May 6 press conference. Davidson is president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Vitamin D deficiency is very common because we spend so much time indoors and few eat a lot of food high in vitamin D.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2008 May 20 10:24 PM Aging Diet Cancer Studies|