Vitamin D supplements may prolong life for those living with cancer, new research suggests.
Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing analyzed data from randomized controlled trials that had compared people who took vitamin D supplements with those who took a placebo for at least 3 years.
They only included trials that had examined the use of vitamin D supplements to prevent disease over a minimum follow-up of 4 years and had also recorded the incidence of cancerand cancer-related deaths.
In all, the analysis took in 10 trials with a total of 79,055 participants. Their average age was 68 years, and 78% of them were female.
The team found a significant link between the use of vitamin D supplements and a lower risk of death to cancer over the follow-up period.
The analysis showed that people who took vitamin D supplements had a 13% lower risk of dying from cancer than those who took a placebo over the same period.
There was no significant association, however, between vitamin D use and prevention of cancer.
The findings featured at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago, IL, on June 3, 2019.
A recent supplement of the ASCO’s Journal of Clinical Oncology also includes an abstract of the study.
“The difference in the mortality rate between the vitamin D and placebo groups was statistically significant enough that it showed just how important it might be among the cancer population,” says Tarek Haykal, a resident doctor in internal medicine at MSU and one of the study’s lead authors.
Cancer and vitamin D
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second main cause of deaths worldwide. In 2018, around 18.1 million people found out that they had cancer, and 9.6 million died of the disease.