(RxWiki News) It's well known that vitamin D can be protective against the development and growth of a number of cancers. New research shows low levels of this vitamin can make one cancer more aggressive.
A recent study has shown that low levels of vitamin D can increase the aggressiveness of colon cancer.
"Take at least 400 IU of vitamin D daily."
A number of studies have demonstrated that vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) can slow or block the growth of colon cancer.
Researchers at Vall d´Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) and collaborators at Alberto Sols Institute of Biomedical Research (CSIC-UAB) have now shown that a vitamin D receptor - VDR - slows down an intestinal protein that turns healthy cells into cancerous ones.
VDR keeps the protein called beta-catenin from doing its deadly work.
In the study on both mice and human colon cancer cells, scientists found that lack of the vitamin D receptor produces larger and more rapidly growing tumors.
So, chronic vitamin D deficiencies are seen as a risk factor for colon cancer.
Patients with early stages of colon cancer could benefit from being treated with vitamin D, according to the researchers. However, this benefit is lost in more advanced states of the disease.
Vitamin D is found in foods - dairy products and fish oils. Exposure to sun - as little as 10 minutes a day - also produces vitamin D.
Results of this clinical trial are published the journal PLoS One.