Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases in the world, but the causes of the disease are still unclear. Some studies show that a single vitamin deficiency is more likely to lead to the development and spread of cancer.
Cancer occurs when the body loses control of body cells that divide and multiply too quickly. Certain vitamins have been shown to reduce tumor invasion and its tendency to spread and thus reduce the risk of death. Vitamin D deficiency is more common in patients with advanced cancer.
This nutrient is found in some foods, such as oily fish, milk, and fortified cereals, but it can also be obtained from exposure to sunlight.
There is conflicting evidence about the relationship between low vitamin D levels and cancer risk.
While some studies have linked deficiency to the development of cancer, others have found no evidence for this.
Early laboratory studies have shown that this nutrient has anticancer properties, which it imparts by regulating genes involved in the proliferation and spread of cancer cells.
In an early 2011 study, researchers studying 160 men and women with cancer assessed vitamin D levels in blood samples.
The most common diagnoses were breast, prostate, lung, thyroid and colorectal cancer.
WebMD reports: “Mean vitamin D levels were around 24 ng/mL. People with levels below 24 ng/mL were three times more likely to develop stage 3 cancer than people with higher levels of vitamin D.”
Additional research has shown that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to the spread of some breast cancer metastases.
However, Cancer Research UK notes that there is not enough evidence to link low vitamin D levels to cancer.