One Common Vitamin Boosts Cancer Immunity, According to a Study: “Intrigue and Optimism”

Eating a diet rich in one vitamin has been shown to improve responses to immunotherapy and reduce tumor growth

According to recent studies, vitamin D may be an unexpected weapon in the fight against cancer.

According to a mouse study that was just published in the journal Science, consuming a diet high in vitamin D altered the gut flora in a way that increased protection against cancer.

It has been demonstrated that the micronutrient enhanced the Bacteroides fragilis bacterium, which enhances the immune response against cancer.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Aalborg University in Denmark, and the Francis Crick Institute in London have reported that mice given vitamin D had better responses to cancer immunotherapy and greater immunity against the development of new tumours.

“We weren’t expecting to find that vitamin D could control the gut microbiome to support a particular strain of bacteria that increases mice’s resistance to cancer,” senior study author Caetano Reis e Sousa, who oversees the Immunobiology Laboratory at Crick, stated in a news release.

Foods high in vitamin D, such as salmon, raise the levels of the bacteria Bacteroides fragilis, which has been demonstrated to enhance the immune system’s ability to fight cancer. (iStock)

“This could one day be important for cancer treatment in humans.”

The reason why vitamin D appears to support a “good” microbiome is yet unknown to the researchers.

“If we can figure this out, we could find new ways in which the microbiome affects the immune system, which could lead to exciting opportunities in cancer prevention or treatment,” co-author Evangelos Giampazolias, who is currently group leader of the Cancer Immunosurveillance Group at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute and a former postdoctoral researcher at the Crick, stated in the release.

While not participating in the study, Shama Farooq, M.D., a neuro-oncologist at Jersey Shore University Medical Center’s Hackensack Meridian Neuroscience Institute, offered his thoughts on the results.

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“As a doctor who treats patients with cancer, my initial reaction to this study was one of intrigue and optimism,” he stated to Fox News Digital.

“The findings suggest a potential link between vitamin D levels, the microbiome and cancer immunity, offering potential new avenues for improving cancer treatment and prevention strategies.”

It’s “crucial,” according to Farooq, to keep researching ways to strengthen the body’s defence against cancer.

“Cancer is a complex disease with diverse mechanisms of evasion,” he stated.

“By exploring new ways to boost the immune system’s ability to recognise and destroy cancer cells, researchers can develop more effective and targeted treatments, ultimately improving patient outcomes and survival rates.”

In light of the study’s results, Farooq said he advises individuals to check their vitamin D levels “as part of a comprehensive approach to potentially lowering their risk of cancer.”

“While more research is needed to fully understand the relationship, maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D is generally beneficial for overall health and may contribute to reducing cancer risk,” he stated.

The researchers noted that further study with human subjects is necessary to clarify the relationship between vitamin D and cancer immunity.

“More work is needed before we can conclusively say that correcting a vitamin D deficiency has benefits for cancer prevention or treatment,” Sousa stated.

Farooq highlighted the need for additional study.

“Moving forward, I would like to see further research delve deeper into the mechanisms underlying the interaction between Vitamin D, the microbiome and cancer immunity,” he stated.

The study’s researchers were contacted by Fox News Digital for comments.

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