Researchers believe vitamin D may be the key to preventing ovarian cancer, one of the deadliest, because they found it halts a key transformation in cancer metastasis.
Additionally, vitamin D actively reversed a process by which ovarian cancer turns host defenses against it, suggesting that it may also be essential as part of a treatment plan for a early diagnosis.
Ovarian cancer often undergoes a process called peritoneal metastasis, whereby its cells break away from their primary site in the ovary and travel to a secondary site, such as the peritoneal wall or the diaphragm.
The peritoneum defends itself with a barrier made up of mesothelial cells, which prevent the adhesion of cancerous cells and limit their spread. However, ovarian cancer bypasses this defense by transforming protective mesothelial cells into cancer-associated mesothelial cells. This creates an environment that promotes metastasis, helping cancer spread throughout the body.
For this reason, ovarian cancer has been called a “silent killer” because it often causes few other symptoms until it is advanced. Nine out of ten women diagnosed early survive. If it is collected late, only one in ten lives more than five years.
Now, researchers at Nagoya University School of Medicine, led by Dr. Masato Yoshihara, have found that vitamin D not only counteracts this process, but also returns cancer-associated mesothelial cells to their original state. . This process reinforced the barrier effect of mesothelial cells and reduced the spread of cancer.
“We demonstrated the potential of vitamin D to normalize mesothelial cells associated with cancer, which is the first study of its kind,” said Dr. Kazuhisa Kitami, first author of the study.
“The most interesting point of this study is that, in situations where early detection of ovarian cancer remains extremely difficult, we show that the peritoneal environment can be restored to its normal state, where it prevents adhesion and the growth of cancer cells”.
The Sunshine vitamin accomplishes this by interrupting the pathway of a tumor growth factor protein called TGF-B1 to produce changes in the expression of genes that are specialized for the process of peritoneal metastasis mentioned above.
This is another reason why women should seriously consider a vitamin D supplement of 2,000-4,000 IU, unless they are spending time outdoors for work. By some estimates, 42% of Americans suffer from vitamin D deficiency, although deficiency depends on what a particular researcher decides to use as a minimum level, and this is often not agreed upon.
If you consider what some recent work considers to be optimal levels of vitamin D not only to prevent disease, but also to improve health and fitness, then deficiency in the United States could affect more than half of population.