Washington, Feb 17: Vitamin D dubbed ''the sunshine vitamin'' could become a useful weapon in the fight against one of the most devastating diseases of our time, cancer, a new reasearch says. Researchers say Vitamin D could block the development of some cancers, strengthen bones, prevent multiple sclerosis and alleviate winter depression.
"As time has gone by, Vitamin D has raised its head as a sort of ambrosia for cancers," says Dr Louise Parker, an epidemiologist and a world expert in the environmental exposures that can lead to cancer."One of the most important sources of Vitamin D is from the sun and through your skin," she adds. "On the average, 1,000 units a day is safe and is probably effective in reducing the risk of colon cancer, and maybe other cancers as well,'' The Science Daily quoted Dr Parker as saying. She says 1,000 units a day is well beyond what you can obtain from your diet. Vitamin D is a bit of a rare vitamin, appearing only in fatty fish, cod liver oil and egg yolks. Even if you were to sunbathe in southern climates, you would not take in 1,000 units.
She notes Vitamin D as a factor is turning up in study after study. It turns out people with lung and colon cancer are Vitamin D deficient. And it helps the body absorb calcium. In a study examining whether women who took Vitamin D had a lower risk of osteoporosis, it was found the women taking Vitamin D had stronger bones than those who did not take the vitamin. Years later, researchers went back to that study and found that the women who took Vitamin D also had fewer cancers.
However, more research needs to be carried out in this regard. Vitamin D works in very complicated ways, she says. It changes the way cells work. In fact, there is medical speculation that it may block cancer cell proliferation or improve immune system functions. But its role is not fully understood.
Meanwhile, there is very little evidence that taking Vitamin D can harm you. Perhaps in huge doses it could cause kidney stones, but that has not been proven, she adds.