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High level of Vitamin D may lower cancer risk

Raghu Kshitiz



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.

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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.

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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.

With Agency Inputs

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Urinary, respiratory tract infections may double stroke risk

IANS Indo Asian News Service




Urinary, respiratory tract infections may double stroke risk. Representational Image

NEW YORK — People who are suffering from urinary or respiratory tract infections may face nearly double the risk of heart attacks and strokes than obesity, researchers have warned.

The study — led by a researcher of Indian origin — found that if the frequency of these common infections causing hospitalisation continues for a longer period it may even lead to death.

Patients diagnosed with any one of these common infections were three times more likely to die than those without prior infection after developing heart disease, and almost twice as likely to die if they had a stroke.

“Our figures suggest that those who are admitted to hospital with a respiratory or urinary tract infection are 40 per cent more likely to suffer a subsequent heart attack, and 2.5 times more likely to have a stroke, than patients who have had no such infection, and are considerably less likely to survive from these conditions,” Rahul Potluri, researcher at Britain’s Aston University, said in a statement.

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The effects of the common infections were of similar magnitude among the people suffering from diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol, researchers said.

“It is notable that infection appears to confer as much, if not more, of a risk for future heart disease and stroke as very well established risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes,” Potluri added.

Researchers conducted the study over 34,027 patients who had been admitted with a urinary or respiratory tract infection with an age and sex-matched control group without infection.

Factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, obesity and tobacco use, as well as medical conditions including excess cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease, heart failure and atrial fibrillation were also taken into account.

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