A recent paper published by a team of researchers from Heidelberg Germany has revealed a correlation between lower life expectancy rates and vitamin D deficiencies in colorectal cancer patients. This is potentially very good news for colorectal cancer survivors as Vitamin D supplementation is widely available and considered safe.
The researchers reviewed studies that included a total of 7718 patients to find connections between Vitamin D levels and survival rates. The meta-analysis of 11 studies concluded that there is “robust evidence of an association between higher blood vitamin D concentrations and better survival in CRC (colorectal cancer) patients”. A meta-analysis study is done by combining and reviewing available data from previously conducted studies.
Vitamin D is produced by the body when skin is exposed to sunlight. It can also be found naturally in a few foods and in many common fortified foods. As people age they are less able to convert vitamin D and run a higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency. Colorectal Cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the USA. The majority of colorectal cancers are diagnosed in adults over the age of 50 so there is a greater chance of a preexisting Vitamin D deficiency. Side effects of cancer and cancer treatment frequently cause mobility and nutrition challenges which could also contribute to a vitamin deficiency.
The reviewers also conclude that further exploration should be done using a randomized trial. A randomized trial would allow for a random group participants to be given Vitamin D while the rest of the group would not. This would allow for an unbiased result showing the effects of Vitamin D supplementation on a group of patients with similar physical conditions.