High levels of vitamin D may be linked to a lower risk of developing cancer, including liver cancer, a study published in the British Medical Journal has said.
The study, conducted by a team of international researchers in Japan, stated that the findings support the theory that vitamin D might help protect against some cancers.
Vitamin D is made by the skin in response to sunlight. It helps to maintain calcium levels in the body to keep bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. While the benefits of vitamin D on bone diseases are well known, there is growing evidence that Vitamin D may benefit other chronic diseases, including some cancers.
“We believe vitamin D has a maybe weak, but beneficial effect across many cancers,” said Taiki Yamaji, co-author of the study from the Center for Public Health Sciences at the National Cancer Center in Tokyo.
But so far, most studies have been carried out in European or American populations, and evidence from Asian populations is limited.
As Vitamin D concentrations and metabolism can vary by ethnicity, it is important to find out whether similar effects would be seen in non-Caucasian populations.
Researchers analysed data from the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective (JPHC) Study, involving 33,736 male and female participants aged between 40 to 69 years.
Participants, at the start of the study, provided detailed information on their medical history, diet, lifestyle, and blood samples were taken to measure vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D levels varied depending on the time of year the sample was taken, tend to be higher during the summer and autumn months than in the winter or spring.
After accounting for this seasonal variation, samples were split into four groups, ranging from the lowest to highest levels of vitamin D.
Participants were then monitored for an average of 16 years, during which time 3,301 new cases of cancer were recorded.
After adjusting for several known cancer risk factors, such as age, weight (BMI), physical activity levels, smoking, alcohol intake and dietary factors, the researchers found that a higher level of vitamin D was associated with a lower (around 20 percent) relative risk of overall cancer in both men and women.
Higher vitamin D levels were also associated with a lower (30-50 percent) relative risk of liver cancer, and the association was more evident in men than in women.
No association was found for lung or prostate cancer, and the authors note that none of the cancers examined showed an increased risk associated with higher vitamin D levels.
Findings were largely unchanged after accounting for additional dietary factors and after further analyses to test the strength of the results.
The authors said their findings support the theory that vitamin D may protect against the risk of cancer, but that there may be a ceiling effect, which may suggest that there are no additional benefits beyond a certain level of vitamin D.
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Adding glass of milk in breakfast can lower blood glucose
Several research studies have attempted to find a link between drinking milk and a reduced risk for experiencing type 2 diabetes and a new research has found that adding a glass of milk in breakfast is the perfect energy boost for body needs to get through the day.
According to a study published in the Journal of Dairy Science, consuming milk with breakfast cereal reduced postprandial blood glucose concentration compared with water, and high dairy protein concentration reduced postprandial blood glucose concentration compared with normal dairy protein concentration.
H Douglas Goff, PhD, and the team of scientists from the Human Nutraceutical Research Unit at the University of Guelph, in collaboration with the University of Toronto, examined the effects of consuming high-protein milk for breakfast on blood glucose levels.
The high-protein treatment also reduced appetite after the second meal compared with the low-protein equivalent.
“Metabolic diseases are on the rise globally, with type 2 diabetes and obesity as leading concerns in human health. Thus, there is an impetus to develop dietary strategies for the risk reduction and management of obesity and diabetes to empower consumers to improve their personal health,” Goff and his team noted.
Although the team only found a modest difference in food consumption at the lunch meal when increasing whey protein at breakfast, they did find that milk consumed with a high-carbohydrate breakfast reduced blood glucose even after lunch, and high-protein milk had a greater effect.
Milk with an increased proportion of whey protein had a modest effect on pre-lunch blood glucose, achieving a greater decrease than that provided by regular milk.
Likewise, a 2014 study from Lund University in Sweden published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found eating high-fat milk and yogurt reduces a person’s type 2 diabetes risk by as much as one-fifth.
Another study published in the 2011 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition tracked the relationship between a person’s dairy consumption during adolescence and their risk for type 2 diabetes as an adult. The researchers concluded that “higher dairy product intake during adolescence is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.”Follow @gorkhapost