Updated: Sep 30, 2022
Everyone knows that Vitamin D has anti-cancer power, but can you explain how?
This new series of articles will make you the smartest person at the table during Thanksgiving Dinner when you start explaining the mechanisms of how Vitamin D helps the body fight cancer. Knowledge is power and coolness.
Cancer is the second largest disease killer in the United States. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is the most well-known of the months dedicated to cancer awareness. At this point in the war on cancer, I think everyone is aware that cancer is terrible, but are you aware that the body is capable of killing cancer cells?
In this series of articles, we'd like to raise awareness of how amazing the body is, how powerful the immune system can be, and how Vitamin D can support the immune system to do its job.
Anti-Cancer Mechanism of the Day: Apoptosis (sounds like a·puhp·tow·suhs)
Apoptosis is basically programmed cell death. Every cell in the body has a life cycle and therefore an end to its existence. Cell death is normal. Every cell serves its purpose and then dies and is discarded or recycled into a new cell.
One of the characteristics of cancer is that the bad cells don't die. Think about it, of all the cells in the body, the one that you want to die the most is a rogue, dangerous cancer cell! Many oncologists believe that in some cancers, the gene that triggers apoptosis is malfunctioning.
Can Vitamin D influence apoptosis? The research appears to say "yes".
A study done in 2013 found that Vitamin D aided apoptosis in both breast cancer cells and adipocytes (fat cells). The author suggests that low Vitamin D may be a link between cancer and obesity.
Another study by the same researcher as the above study published in 2014 discusses the role of Vitamin D in triggering apoptosis in epithelial cancer cells and in adipocytes (fat cells). The article goes on to suggest that adequate Vitamin D levels may protect against both cancer and obesity.
In a very recent study published in 2022 in the journal Frontiers of Immunology researchers again noted that Vitamin D plays a role in apoptosis and a similar cellular cleansing mechanism called autophagy. Autophagy is described as the process of cleaning out old cells so that they can be recycled into new cells.
These studies are just a couple of the many out there about Vitamin D and apoptosis.
For even more information about Vitamin D and its anti-cancer properties, check out the work of our friends over at GrassRootsHealth.net.
Clearing out old cells and regenerating new healthy cells is key to keeping healthy and preventing cancer, but it's obviously not the end-all, be-all. Apoptosis is just one of the important mechanisms of Vitamin D assisting in fighting cancer.
Stay tuned for another article to discuss another important mechanism soon.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is not to be considered medical advice. Find a trusted and knowledgeable doctor who is educated about Vitamin D before taking any action or making any changes.