Vitamin D deficiency may increase risk of developing bladder cancer

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of developing bladder cancer, according to a systematic review of seven studies presented today at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in Brighton. Though further clinical studies are needed to confirm the findings, the study adds to a growing body of evidence on the importance of maintaining adequate vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D, which is produced by the body through exposure to sunshine, helps the body control calcium and phosphate levels. Vitamin D can also be obtained from food sources such as fatty fish and egg yolks. Previous studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with a host of health problems including cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, autoimmune conditions, and cancer.

In countries with low levels of sunlight, it is difficult to obtain enough vitamin D from food alone. In the UK, 1 in 5 adults are vitamin D deficient and 3 in 5 have low levels. This is especially prevalent in people with darker skin: in winter, 75% of dark-skinned people in the UK are vitamin D deficient.

In this work, researchers from the University of Warwick investigated the link between vitamin D and bladder cancer risk. They reviewed seven studies on the topic which ranged from having 112 to 1125 participants each. Five out of the seven studies linked low vitamin D levels to an increased risk of bladder cancer.

In a separate experiment, the researchers then looked at the cells that line the bladder, known as transitional epithelial cells, and found that these cells are able to activate and respond to vitamin D, which in turn can stimulate an immune response. According to lead author of the study Dr Rosemary Bland, this is important because the immune system may have a role in cancer prevention by identifying abnormal cells before they develop into cancer.

"More clinical studies are required to test this association, but our work suggests that low levels of vitamin D in the blood may prevent the cells within the bladder from stimulating an adequate response to abnormal cells," said Dr Bland. "As vitamin D is cheap and safe, its potential use in cancer prevention is exciting and could potentially impact on the lives of many people."

Source:

University of Warwick

Comments

  1. Marc Sorenson Marc Sorenson United States says:

    Sun exposure, of course,  is the best method of producing vitamin D in the body. Sun exposure has also been shown to be a stronger protective factor against bladder cancer than having health insurance. Sun exposure is absolutely necessary for optimal human health. Here are some of the other well-documented health attributes of regular sun exposure:

    1.  As sun exposure in the U.S. has DECREASED by 90% during the last century, melanoma incidence has INCREASED BY 3,000%.
    2.  A 20-year Swedish study shows that sun avoidance is as bad for the health as cigarette smoking.
    3.  A Spanish study shows that women who seek the sun have one-eleventh the hip fracture risk as those who avoid sun.
    4.  Men who work outdoors have half the risk of melanoma as those who work indoors.
    5.  Women who totally avoid the sun have 10-times the risk of breast cancer.
    6.  Women who sunbathe regularly have half the risk of death during a 20-year period compared to those who stay indoors.
    7.  Sun exposure increases nitric oxide production, which leads to a decrease in heart attack risk.
    8.  Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is essential to human survival, and sun exposure is the only natural way to obtain it. Sunbathing can produce 20,000 units of vitamin D in 20 minutes of whole-body exposure.
    9.  Sun exposure dramatically improves mood through the production of serotonin and endorphin.
    10.  Beyond vitamin D, sun exposure also stimulates the production of endorphin, nitric oxide and BDNF, all of which are vital to human health.
    11.  Regular sun exposure also reduces high blood pressure, heart disease, psoriasis and multiple sclerosis (MS).
    12.  As sunscreen use has increased dramatically, melanoma has increased exponentially.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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