Vitamin D3 could protect against breast and prostate cancer28 August 2012
Taking vitamin D3 could prevent against and provide effective treatment for breast and prostate cancer, according to a US study.
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine writing in the journal Endocrinology found that immunosuppressed mice with breast cancer showed a 50% cut in the size of the tumor after consuming a vitamin D3 supplemented diet. A similar effect was observed in mice carrying PC-4 prostate cancer.
The scientists concluded that vitamin D3 is equally at protecting against or treating against breast or prostrate as calcitriol (the hormonally active metabolite of vitamin D produced by the kidney which has previously been shown to have anti-cancer qualities).
However, the study observed that unlike calitriol, vitamin D3 supplementation did not cause hypercalcemia in the blood. The study suggests that taking vitamin D3 increased levels of calcitriol (which has anti-cancer qualities) but not serum calcium.
The researchers said that vitamin D3 consumption prompted a calcitriol conversion to take place in the cancer mass as well as the kidney.
The team also found that calcitriol and vitamin D3 were similarly effective at suppressing estrogen synthesis and signaling and other proinflammatory signaling pathways. Estrogen is a cancer promoter in breast cancer and could have a role in prostate cancer.
"These preclinical data demonstrate the potential utility of dietary vitamin D3 supplementation in cancer prevention and therapy," said the researchers.
Around 460,000 people are diagnosed with breast or prostate cancer each year in the US resulting in 80,000 deaths, according to National Cancer Institute.
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