According to recent reports, Vitamin D has officially overtaken Vitamin C as the UK’s best-selling supplement. Now, oncologists are hailing its effects on people undergoing cancer treatment.
Professor Angus Dalgleish, Professor of Oncology at St George’s University of London and Principal of the Institute for Cancer Vaccines and Immunotherapy (ICVI), says he has seen first-hand the impact Vitamin D3 can have on cancer patients.
“Vitamin D3 has been known for years to be very important for the management of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis,” says Professor Dalgleish. “But we’re now finding it’s exactly the same with cancer patients – particularly those with melanoma.
“In a very large national study, they were surprised, if not amazed, to see that the depth of the tumour, number of lymph nodes involved and the level of vitamin D3, just measured in the blood, correlated with how well you did with whatever treatment that you had.
“So we have been looking at our patients and have found that 80% are low in Vitamin D3 and 30% are very low. Therefore, the first thing we do is correct the vitamin D3 level with supplements and bring it up to the normal level and we then find the patients do so much better.
“They respond better to chemotherapy and immunotherapy, and this is all down to the fact that vitamin D3 is absolutely vital for killer T-cells to seek out and kill tumour cells. So if levels are low, however well you induce an immune response, to a vaccine or an antigen, it is not going to work in the absence of vitamin D3.
“Cancer is likely to affect one in two people and, at the ICVI, we firmly believe immunotherapy is the answer to the long-term control of cancer. Unfortunately, we all have the ability to develop cancerous cells but, in a healthy body, our immune system detects the changes and kills off the dangerous cells.”