To Your Health
June, 2024 (Vol. 18, Issue 06)
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Vitamin D – A Life Saver?

By Editorial Staff

Is maintaining a healthy gut microbiome one way to reduce your cancer risk? According to research, a type of gut bacteria improves immunity to cancer – and one of the ways to grow that bacteria is by ensuring adequate intake of vitamin D. The bacteria: Bacteroides fragilis, which increases in response to vitamin D.

The study, findings from which were published in Science, involved administering a diet rich in vitamin D to mice, resulting in better immune resistance to transplanted cancer and improved responses to cancer treatment. While the research team isn't sure of the mechanism of action, they do know that vitamin D acts on epithelial cells in the gut, increasing Bacteroides fragilis(which is also found in the human gut).

Vitamin D - A Life Saver? - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Interestingly, when mice administered a normal diet (not rich in vitamin D) were supplemented with the same bacteria, they also had improved resistance to tumor growth. However, this was not the case when receiving a vitamin D-deficient diet, highlighting the importance of the vitamin in gut-mediated cancer immunity.

As high as one in four Americans suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which makes these findings even more relevant. Could you be among the 25% who aren't getting enough vitamin D? Your doctor can help you determine your status and recommend the right steps to ensure you're in the healthy range.