DSM highlights a new study demonstrating vitamin D linked to reducing the risk of lung cancer


Observational studies have found that an increase in vitamin D is associated with lower incidence and mortality of various types of cancers

A new research paper examines the role of vitamin D in reducing the risk of lung cancer, particularly among patients with vitamin D deficiency.

The meta-analysis of ten shortlisted studies revealed a significant 5% reduction in the risk of lung cancer associated with each 10nmol/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 synthesised 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 53nmol/L, which remained protective up to 90nmol/L.

Prof. Li-qiang Qin and his research team at Soochow University, China, comment: '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. 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.'

Dr Weiguo Zhang, corresponding author from DSM Nutritional Products, China, says: '88% of the world’s population has sub-optimal vitamin D levels (<75nmol/L). Given that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent worldwide, we are obligated to address this public health matter immediately. Studies like this help to understand how micronutrients affect the human body and how certain conditions can be prevented with increased and targeted intake.'

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Dr Manfred Eggersdorfer, Senior Vice President, Nutrition, Science and Advocacy at DSM and Professor for Healthy Ageing at Groningen University, comments: 'There is even stronger proven evidence that vitamin D is one of the micronutrients that are essential to human health. It not only helps maintain bone mineral density and muscle strength, but also helps to prevent the onset of non-communicable diseases as well as supporting the overall wellbeing. The new study adds to a larger body of evidence which demonstrates the emerging roles of vitamin D in protecting populations from developing other cancer risks, such as colon and breast cancer.'