A category of fat-soluble prohormones is known as vitamin D. (substances that usually have little hormonal activity by themselves but that the body can turn into hormones). Vitamin D aids the body’s utilization of calcium and phosphorus in the formation of healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight, and it can also be taken through certain foods. Vitamin D insufficiency can induce rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, which is a weakening of the bones.
Vitamin D2, also known as ergocalciferol, and vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, are two significant forms of vitamin D for humans. Plants produce vitamin D2, and the body produces vitamin D3 when the skin is exposed to UV radiation from the sun. In the liver, both forms are converted to 25-hydroxyvitamin D. The blood then transports 25-hydroxyvitamin D to the kidneys, where it is converted to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, or calcitriol, the body’s active form of vitamin D. Measuring the level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the blood is the most accurate way to determine a person’s vitamin D status. Most people get at least some of the vitamin D they need through sunlight exposure. Dietary sources include a few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, such as fatty fish, fish liver oil, and eggs. However, foods fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, juices, and breakfast cereals, provide the majority of dietary vitamin D. Vitamin D is also available in the form of dietary supplements.
Is there a link between vitamin D and the risk of cancer?
The early epidemiologic study found that individuals living in southern latitudes, where levels of solar exposure are quite high, had lower incidence and death rates for specific malignancies than those living in northern latitudes. Because vitamin D is produced in response to UV radiation from sunlight, researchers speculated that variations in vitamin D levels could explain the link. However, more research with better study designs is needed to see if increased vitamin D levels are linked to a lower cancer incidence or death rate.
A probable link between vitamin D and cancer risk has also been shown by experimental data. Vitamin D has been reported to have numerous effects in cancer cells and tumors in mice that may slow or prevent cancer development, including encouraging cellular differentiation, slowing cancer cell proliferation, triggering cell death (apoptosis), and inhibiting tumor blood vessel creation.
What evidence exists that vitamin D can help people minimize their cancer risk?
Several epidemiologic studies have looked into whether those who consume more vitamin D or have higher vitamin D blood levels have a lower risk of certain cancers. The outcomes of these investigations have been inconclusive, presumably due to the difficulties in doing such research. Dietary studies, for example, exclude vitamin D produced on the skin as a result of sunshine exposure, and vitamin D levels measured in the blood at a particular point in time (as in most research) may not accurately reflect a person’s true vitamin D status. It’s also possible that persons who consume more vitamin D or have greater blood levels of the vitamin are more likely to engage in other healthy habits. One of these additional habits could be the culprit. There have been a few randomized trials of vitamin D intake, but they were all designed to look at bone health or other non-cancer outcomes. Although some of these studies have provided data on cancer incidence and death, the findings must be validated by other research because the trials were not designed specially to examine cancer. Colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer are the cancers for which the most human data is available. Numerous epidemiological studies have found that higher vitamin D intake or blood levels are linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer. The Women’s Health Initiative randomized trial, on the other hand, found that healthy women who took vitamin D and calcium supplements for an average of seven years had no lower risk of colorectal cancer. Some scientists have pointed out that the relatively low level of vitamin D supplementation (10 g, or 400 IU, once a day), the ability of participants to take additional vitamin D on their own, and the relatively low level of vitamin D supplementation (10 g, or 400 IU, once a day) are all factors to consider.
What function does Vitamin D have in breast cancer prevention?
Breast cancer has been identified as the second-largest cause of mortality in women worldwide during the last few decades. Dietary factors have been linked to a reduced risk of breast cancer in studies. Vitamin D-rich and fibrous-food-rich diets have been demonstrated to protect against breast cancer. The calcitriol-steroid hormone is started by vitamin D. Calcitriol is a hormone that promotes the growth of cancer cells in the body. This hormone has anti-cancer characteristics through inducing apoptosis, promoting cell differentiation, and boosting anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative effects. As a result, having a sufficient level of Vitamin D in our bodies has the potential to reduce our risk of breast cancer. Other variables, such as a sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity, smoking, being overweight, or living in colder climes, reduce the amount of circulating calcitriol. Vitamin D is acquired naturally from foods such as fish and milk.
However, cutaneous synthesis is the most natural way for the body to manufacture Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is defined as a vitamin level of fewer than 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Vitamin D in the blood is thought to have the capacity to stop breast cells from proliferating. Vitamin D’s activated form, 1,25hydroxyvitamin D, is thought to have chemopreventive properties. Not only does circulating 25hydroxyvitamin D have chemopreventive properties, but it also inhibits the proliferation of malignant breast cells by promoting differentiation, apoptosis, and angiogenesis. Vitamin D receptor interference in healthy breast cells prevents cell proliferation and differentiation (VDR).
Breast cancer risk was shown to be significantly lowered in women in their menopausal years that had adequate amounts of Vitamin D in their bodies. Breast cancer risk is increased by high levels of circulating estrogen. The expression of estrogen receptors is reduced when there is a lot of Vitamin D in the blood. Though numerous studies have revealed that Vitamin D may play a role in lowering the incidence of breast cancer; further research is needed to fully comprehend the effects.
What role does Vitamin D have in the prevention and advancement of colon cancer?
Vitamin D metabolites aid in the maintenance of a consistent calcium gradient in colon epithelial cells. Vitamin D levels in the bloodstream are high, which helps to keep non-cancerous cells from proliferating. Inducing the G1 phase of the cell cycle has an anti-proliferative impact. Vitamin D helps to prevent cancer by boosting the production of growth factors and cytokines. Vitamin D also has a synergistic effect in triggering the differentiation of colon malignant cells
Does Vitamin D play any role in skin cancer?
Overall, various studies have proved a protective effect of Vitamin D in preventing various cancers, but exposure to Vitamin D via direct sunlight triggers skin cancers including melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. Experts suggest that consuming a diet rich in Vitamin D is an ideal way of supplementing the body with adequate amounts of Vitamin D as taking in Vitamin D via direct exposure to sunlight increases the risk of skin cancer due to exposure to UV radiation.