Vitamin D Helps Lung Cancer Survival

Vitamins, minerals, natural compounds and supplements


Researchers at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health have concluded that good levels of vitamin D in the body may help people with early stage lung cancer survive longer after surgery.

Open quotesGood levels of vitamin D in the body may help people with early stage lung cancer survive longer after surgeryClose quotes

Patients who had surgery in the sunny summer months where vitamin D levels are higher were more than twice as likely to be alive 5 years after surgery compared with those with low vitamin D levels having winter time surgery. Apart from fish oils, sunshine is the only other significant ’provider’ of vitamin D.

Dr David Christiani said the survival differences were ’dramatic’; the highest levels of vitamin D saw 72 per cent 5- year survivals compared with just 29 per cent for people with the lowest levels.

’It looks like vitamin D is antiproliferative, as it inhibits proliferation of abnormal cells’, added Christiani, ’and there was also evidence to suggest vitamin D inhibits the spread of tumours’.

(Ed: Fish oil consumption in the UK has declined from 75,000 tonnes to just 20,000 tonnes across the last 40 years. In winter people in the UK simply do not get sufficient sunlight to generate vitamin D (see i c o n report - February 2004). We strongly advise all people concerned about cancer to take fish oils (but not cod liver oil unless vitamin D enriched), during the winter months.) Meanwhile here are three more recent studies that say that sunshine is good for you.)


In the Journal of Clinical Oncology (Jan 20, 2005) men with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood were half as likely to develop prostate cancer, as those with poor amounts. Research has shown that vitamin D inhibits prostate cancer cell growth. The provider of the vitamin in the research? Sunshine!


The University of New Mexico (Journal of Nat Cancer Institute 2005, 97) has shown that its research findings conclude people with high exposure to the sun are less likely to die from melanomas. They too conclude vitamin D might be the protecting factor.


Finally the Swedes have their study too. Sunshine reduces risk of Hodgkin’s by 40 per cent (Karolinska Institute).

(Ed: As readers know we think this don’t smoke, avoid strong sunshine’ approach to cancer prevention from some quarters is both naïve and misleading. We have previously run articles on supposed ’protective suncreams’ and how their ingredients, or the contraceptive pill, can greatly pre-disposed people to skin cancer.)

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