Does Vitamin D link to Leukemia?


A new study from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine indicated that Vitamin D Deficiency wreaks havoc for higher risk of leukemia, according to PLOS One.


Leukemia is a serious disease related to white blood cells, causing weakness and sometimes death. Last year, in the United States alone, over 54, 000 cases of this cancer were diagnosed.

The contributors to Leukemia have not been scientifically identified yet but it is believed that genetic and environmental factors play some roles. Cedric Garland, DrPH, adjunct professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health stated that the widespread of Leukemia these days is the effect of the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency in winter in populations distant from the equator.

 Studies have found out that the indicator of vitamin D’s level in our bodies, which is called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D, has interaction with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. Furthermore, the vitamin D levels of some AML patients are low.

Vitamin D can be found in foods, like oily fish, egg yolks and cheese. However, the major source of this vitamin is sunlight. Solar ultraviolet B (UVB) penetrates bare skin, providing our bodies with high level of vitamin D.

Garland is the one who run the research to investigate whether lack of vitamin D links to Leukemia or not. They collected data of 172 countries from the International Agency for Cancer Research’s (IARC) Global Cancer (GLOBOCAN), as well as looked at the cloud cover-adjusted UVB irradiance for each country assessed from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project.

It has been found that the risk of taking Leukemia of citizens in countries which is far from the equator like the US, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland is twice as high as one of people from areas closes to the poles like Nigeria, Bolivia and Madagasca. In other words, higher risks of cancer is associated with lower vitamin D levels.

More specifically, people living farther away from the poles receive smaller amount of UVB radiation, leading to lower levels of vitamin D in their bodies. In contrast, it is well-proved that record level of vitamin D helps preventing the development of Leukemia.

Although having collected data from a mass amount of countries, there are still some limitations in this research. The researchers couldn’t identify all other factors contributing to Leukemia.

No matter how specific and exact the study is, this is actually helpful in realising one of the major causes of Leukemia and then minimizing cancer risk.



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