Systemic review of 7 studies finds increased risk of developing bladder cancer is associated with Vitamin D deficiency.

A systematic review of seven studies was presented on November 8, 2016, at the annual conference of the Society for Endocrinology in Brighton that showed that a Vitamin D deficiency creates an increasing risk of bladder cancer development.

Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin produced by the body mainly through exposure to sunlight at a minimum of 5 to 30 minutes a day twice a week. Nine out of 10 Americans fail to meet their daily needs and don’t eat enough foods that naturally contain Vitamin D such as egg yolks, fortified milk, and oily fish. Deficiency is even more pronounced for people living in  the northern parts of the country, especially in the winter.

Supplements of the vitamin are available in vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. One tablet of 1,000 IU Vitamin D3  is equivalent to seven three-ounce cans of tuna, or 25 egg yolks, or eight cups of fortified milk, or 25 cups of fortified cereal. The most common supplement is adding vitamin D to calcium, but it is also added to multivitamins, magnesium, fish oil, and joint support products.

In countries having low sunlight levels, it wouldn’t be feasible to obtain enough Vitamin D from just food. In the United Kingdom, one in five adults are deficient in vitamin D and three in five have low levels. In the winter, 75 percent of the dark-skinned people there have a deficiency.

In the current study, researchers from University Hospital and the University of Warwick reviewed seven studies with 112 to 1125 participants. Five out of seven showed that low levels of vitamin D are linked to an increase in bladder cancer risk. In a separate experiment, researchers looked at cells in the bladder and discovered that they respond to Vitamin D and activate and stimulate an immune response. Dr. Rosemary Bland, the study’s lead author, believes that the immune system has a role in identifying abnormal cells prior to their developing into cancer.

Although further clinical studies are necessary to confirm the above findings, the study adds more information to the evidence regarding how important it is to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.


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