Vitamin D Helps Reduce Risk of Cancer and Chronic Diseases, Research Shows
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the United States have found that weight loss combined with vitamin D supplementation reduces inflammation in the body associated with chronic disease and cancer.
Scientists came to these results after assessing 218 overweight, elderly women who had a below-recommended rate of vitamin D in the body - which is 32 ng / ml (nanograms per milliliter).
Participants underwent a 12-month experiment in which they followed a routine of moderate to vigorous physical activity, 45 minutes a day, five days a week. Before beginning tests with them, the researchers measured the biomarkers related to inflammation in women.
In addition, half of them were randomly chosen to take 2,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D supplementation - which corresponds to 50 mcg (micrograms). Meanwhile, the other group received a placebo (a pill that does not contain any pharmacological substance inside) that looked similar to the vitamin tablet.
By the time the experiment was completed, the scientists looked again at the biomarkers of inflammation in the participants and found that they all had a reduction in their inflammation levels, which demonstrates that, by itself, losing weight is already a beneficial factor for the decreased inflammation.
However, they also identified that women who, in addition to having eliminated 5 to 10 percent of their body weight, also took vitamin D supplementation, had an even greater fall than the others in relation to inflammation.
While those taking the placebo tablet showed a 17.2% decrease in the presence of a substance called interleukin-6 (IL-6) - a cytokine that when it is in excessive amounts in the body is associated with a high risk of cancer development and diabetes and which could be cited as one of the causes for depression - the participants who received the supplement reduced their IL-6 levels by 37%.
The result for women who lost more than 10% of the weight and took the vitamin D supplement was similar to that of the participants who lost 5 to 10% of their kilos and also ingested the substance.
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"We were quite surprised to see that vitamin D affects biomarkers of inflammation among women who lost at least 5% of their baseline weight. This suggests that vitamin D may increase the effect of weight loss on inflammation, "said Dr. Fred Hutchinson, PhD and Catherine Duggan, a research scientist at the Center for Cancer Research.
Catherine also said previous scientific work had already shown that weight loss could actually decrease inflammation levels, but that the research done at the institution she works on is the first to show what the effect of vitamin D is on that score.
Overweight or obese people "live in a state of chronic inflammation," which, according to Dr. Duggan, stimulates the growth of cancer cells.
"Weight loss reduces inflammation and therefore represents another mechanism to reduce the risk of cancer. If you ensure that vitamin D levels are complete, or at an ideal rate, you can decrease inflammation beyond what weight loss does on its own, this can be an important addition to the tools people can use to reduce the risk of cancer, "the scientist explained.
However, Dr. Duggan also pointed out that before women decide to increase their vitamin D levels in the body by using a supplement, it is important that they talk to their doctors about the optimal dosage should ingest.
The study was published in the July issue of this year's publication Cancer Prevention Research (Cancer Prevention Research, free translation), which is maintained by the American Association for Cancer Research.