Recent study shows that people who have low Vitamin D levels are more likely to get bladder cancer. British scientists looked at seven previous studies about bladder cancer and vitamin D and found out that in five of the studies, low levels of the vitamin were associated with a higher risk of the disease.
While conducting the study, the researchers also looked at the cells that line up the organ, known as transitional epithelial cells, and concluded that these cells are able to activate and respond to vitamin D, which in turn can stimulate an immune response.
Vitamin D is produced by the body through sunshine exposure, by eating food rich in Vitamin D like cod liver oil, salmon, trout, herring, egg yolks, milk, calf's liver, soy drinks, canned tuna and cooked button mushrooms, and by taking vitamin D supplements. It helps the body to control calcium and phosphate levels. Other lesser known benefits of vitamin D are it boosts weight loss and helps fight anxiety and depression.
Dr Rosemary Bland from the University of Warwick and the study's lead researcher said that further clinical research is needed to corroborate the results but their work "suggests that low levels of vitamin D in the blood may prevent the cells within the bladder from stimulating an adequate response to abnormal cells."
"As vitamin D is cheap and safe, its potential use in cancer prevention is exciting and could potentially impact on the lives of many people," Bland added.
In UK, more than 10,000 new cases of bladder cancer were diagnosed in 2013, where 5,300 lead to death. An estimated 76,000 adults from the US were diagnosed with bladder cancer with 15,000 deaths.
During winter, experts say that it can be hard to maintain appropriate levels of Vitamin D, so it is recommended to take supplements. To ensure your body gets enough vitamin D needed, a person should take 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day, while parents are encouraged to breastfeed their babies to boost their intake.