Do Vitamins Fight Cancer? We talk about the best vitamins to fight cancer and food to get when next you go grocery shopping.
Cancer is a menace in today’s world, it’s so terrible that we won’t talk about its’ negativity here; rather, we will focus on how to beat it.
Some foods cause cancer and you should try to cut those out of your daily diet. (Read more about cancer causing foods)
The vitamins we will discuss are what you need to consciously try to increase their intake in your diet if you are looking to prevent cancer, or you are currently in treatment for cancer, or you’ve already defeated cancer and want to prevent the cancer cells re-growing.
We look at the ways that these vitamins help to fight cancer, the types of cancer they fight, and the body of evidence supporting these vitamins to be anti-cancer. Also, we examine the natural sources of these vitamins and how they can be incorporated into diets, to get them as close to natural as possible.
Best vitamins to Fight Cancer and their Sources
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble prohormones that the body can easily turn into a hormone.
When the body is exposed to sunlight, the body can make all the quantity of this vitamin that you’ll need. This is why it is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”.
This is a vitamin that has long been suspected to be an anti-cancer vitamin according to the latest scientific studies on cancer.
Sources of vitamin D
The primary source of this vital vitamin is through exposure to sunlight. As a result of this, it is recommended by experts that you should get at least 5-30 minutes of sun exposure twice in a week.
But this duration of recommended “sun time” would vary due to some factors like age, BMI (Body Mass Index), location, and skin color.
However, if your sun-time is limited due to your location or your skin color, there are other options in foods like eggs, fortified milk, and tuna fish.
What is the link between vitamin D and cancer?
When earlier studies were showing lower rates of certain cancer types among individuals residing in an area of a relatively high level of sunlight exposure (the ultimate source of vitamin D), the attention of cancer experts started turning to vitamin D’s usage in both the prevention and fight against cancer.
This research found that women of over 55 years of age with body vitamin D levels higher than 40ng/ml had a 67% lower risk of cancer compared to women with body vitamin D level lower than 20ng/ml.
Also, this 2015 study that conducted a nested case-control study with 274 colorectal cancer cases and 274 controls concluded that there is 55% lower risk of colorectal cancer in participants that has vitamin D levels of 30ng/ml or more when compared with women with vitamin D levels lower than 18ng/ml.
Also, vitamin D has been found to decrease cancer cell growth, reduce tumor blood vessel formation, and promote cellular differentiation in cancer studies carried out on rats.
Vitamin A is essential for sight, supports the digestive organs, the lungs, the liver, and the kidneys and another vitamin that helps fight cancer.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin with antioxidant properties (it helps to reduce free radicals in the body) and it also has the ability to boost the immune system.
Sources of vitamin A
There are basically two forms of vitamin A. The first type is from plant foods that have a colored outside like carrots. This form of vitamin A is referred to as beta-carotene.
The second type of vitamin A for the body is the active vitamin A which is also referred to as retinol and this type of vitamin A can be found in some animal foods like eggs.
If you want to load up on vitamin A for your body, then, the go-to foods will be egg yolks, carrots, sweet potato, kale, and broccoli.
What is the link between vitamin A and cancer?
When it comes to vitamin A and cancer, opinions are mixed on it. Some say that supplementation of vitamin A increases the risk of getting lung cancer, while some studies suggest otherwise.
However, it has been found that diets rich in beta-carotene can lead to a lower risk of different types of cancer with lung cancer included.
Likewise, this 2007 cohort study comprising of over 82,000 Swedish participants concluded that high intakes of vitamin A can reduce the risk of gastric cancer.
This study by Huang et al found a negative correlation between vitamin A and pancreatic cancer.
Also, a vitamin A derivative has been found by this study to kill human leukemia cells and T lymphoma cells.
Vitamin A has also been found by researchers to have the ability to fight cancer by slowing down cancer cell and tumor growth and may also stop leukemia cells from splitting.
This is also a fat-soluble vitamin that is an antioxidant. Vitamin E contains tocotrienols and tocopherol, and to get the benefits of vitamin E, you need a source that has both these components.
Aside from its ability to help fight cancer, vitamin E is also essential for treating some skin conditions, hair growth, keeping and maintaining your immune system, brain functioning, protection of cells from damage, and so on.
Natural sources of Vitamin E
When it comes to the intake of vitamin E, it is VERY important to get it from natural sources rather than through supplements.
This is because natural sources are the only sources of vitamin E that have tocotrienols and tocopherols in them. Also, most supplements are artificially synthesized.
Examples of food sources that contain vitamin E are; Mango, kiwifruit, peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, avocado, hazelnuts, and so on.
The link between vitamin E and cancer
Again with vitamin E, there have been mixed opinions about its relationship with cancer. A SELECT trial study actually found vitamin E supplementation to increase the risk of prostate cancer in men.
But, there is reason to believe that it was the dosage and the type of vitamin E components that led to this increase in the SELECT trial study.
The reason for this is that experts think that vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can prevent oxidative stress which leads to cell mutations that cause cancer. This can be of help in the prevention of breast cancer and thyroid cancer.
Also, the components of vitamin E that has been found by this 2012 study, published in the American Association for Cancer Research, to be cancer-preventive are γ- and δ-tocopherols. This can be found in abundance in natural vitamin E rich diets.
Before you start rushing to the drugstore and start loading up those vitamin E supplements, it is important to point out that the current verdict on vitamin E and cancer is to avoid vitamin E in synthetic supplements and try to get natural vitamin E from natural food sources as those are the ones useful in the fight against cancer.
Vitamin B (B6 & B12)
This is a vitamin that comes in different forms and of all those forms, the B6 and B12 complex has been the most linked to cancer prevention.
B12 aids in digestion, food absorption, production of myelin (a substance that helps nerve cells to communicate with each other), making of red blood cells, and also vital for proper immune functioning.
Vitamin B sources
Some foods come packed with most of the B complexes while some contain a good amount of a specific B vitamin.
How does vitamin B prevent cancer?
B vitamins are essential for correct cellular division and replication and this going wrong is a pre-cursor to cancer growth.
B12 deficiency has been found by numerous studies to increase the risk of breast cancer and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Note that there is a warning on the heavy dosage of vitamin B (B6 and B12) from supplements as it has been linked to lung cancer which is especially high in smokers. This was found by researchers at Ohio State University.
Summary and conclusion
Although most vitamins prevent cancer in one way or the other, the common mistake people make when it comes to their vitamins is that they heavily depend on drug supplements in recouping their vitamins instead of looking for natural sources through diets.
Studies upon studies have linked heavy dosage synthetic supplementation of vitamins to an increased risk of cancer.
If you are serious about using vitamins to fight cancer, you should find a way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your food.
Get them naturally as much as you can and try to avoid supplements.
We are certain you find this article informative and now know more about the vitamins that fights cancer; please share on your social media because we’d love for more people to know about it.
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