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Harvard Study Finds Vitamin D May Boost Immune Response to Colorectal Cancer Tumors

Previous studies have suggested that vitamin D may provide protective effects against colorectal cancer. A recent study suggests that higher vitamin D levels may help lower the risk of developing colorectal cancer by boosting the immune system’s response to tumor cells.

Participants in the study included 942 people who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. They had blood samples drawn in the 1990s, at which time none of them showed signs of cancer. By the end of the study, 318 people had developed colorectal cancer.

The researchers compared the blood samples of the participants with colorectal cancer and those without. They found that the cancer-free participants had higher amounts of vitamin D in their blood at the beginning of the study compared with the group that had colorectal cancer.

The researchers believe that the vitamin D is converted from its 25(OH)D form to the bioactive D3 form, which helps prime an immune response to combat the tumors.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School conducted the study. It was published online ahead of parting on January 15, 2015, in the journal Gut.

Previous studies have associated vitamin D with reducing the risk of skin damage, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, combating diabetes, and improving age related macular degeneration.

Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.

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