A new research paper examines the role of vitamin D in reducing the risk of lung cancer, in particular, among patients with vitamin D deficiency. The meta-analysis of ten short-listed studies revealed a significant 5% reduction in the risk of lung cancer associated with each 10 nmol/L increase of vitamin D intake. The paper has been published in the Journal of Cancer Causes & Control and is part of DSM’s ongoing advocacy of the importance of vitamin D in maintaining adequate health and preventing conditions associated with its deficiency.

Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin under exposure to sunlight and is converted to the circulating form 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) in the liver. Observational studies have found that an increase in vitamin D is associated with lower incidence and mortality of various types of cancers, suggesting that 25(OH)D affects their development. However, so far, prospective observational studies examining the 25(OH)D and lung cancer association have reported inconsistent findings. DSM’s meta-analysis concluded that there is a non-linear relationship between 25(OH)D and lung cancer. The greatest reduction in its risk proved to be at vitamin D status of nearly 53 nmol/L, which remained protective up to 90 nmol/L.

“This is a significant result, as lung cancer is one of the top five cancers diagnosed among men and women, as well as being among the most common causes of death in the world,” said Prof. Li-qiang Qin and his research team at Soochow University, China. “More research is needed to determine whether a further increase has positive effects in reducing the risk of cancer, however this outcome helps us raise awareness of vitamin D health benefits.”

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