Maintaining sufficient levels of vitamin D reduces risk of developing liver cancer, a new study says. The essential nutrient was found particularly preventing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), one of the most common forms of liver cancer.
For the study, researchers followed 5, 20,000 people, enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort. The data provided detailed information on the participants’ lifestyle. During the study, nearly 138 people developed the liver cancer. Researchers recorded blood vitamin D levels in the participants. Risk of developing the deadly disease declined considerably with an increase in vitamin D. People who had high levels of the vitamin had nearly 49 percent lowered risk of developing the cancer.
“Despite evidence that vitamin D supports liver health, the association between vitamin D levels and HCC had not been fully examined,” lead author of the study, Dr Veronika Fedirko, from the Emory University in US, said in a news release. “Our study is the largest in Western populations to investigate levels of vitamin D and its impact on liver cancer risk.”
Findings of the study have been reported in journal Hepatology.
Vitamin D is one of the vital nutrients needed for maintaining health and strength of bones. Apart from making bones strong, it helps body with many ways, including help improve muscle strength, immunity and brain development; keep heart, lungs and airways healthy. According to Vitamin D Council, it has the power to protect body against the risks of developing cancer.
Exposing body to sunlight is one of the easiest ways of getting vitamin D. However it can also be acquired through eating foods such as egg yolks, beef liver, oily fish like tuna, fortified cereals, cheese and mushrooms. However, health experts also recommend different levels of daily supplements of vitamin D for infants (1,000 IU), children (1,000 IU per 25 pounds of body weight) and adults (5,000 IU).