London: Individuals with Vitamin D deficiency can be at an increased risk of developing bladder cancer, a study has warned.
Vitamin D, which is produced by the body through exposure to sunshine, helps the body control calcium and phosphate levels. It can also be obtained from food sources such as fatty fish and egg yolks.
According to previous studies, Vitamin D deficiency causes health problems including cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, autoimmune conditions, and cancer.
In the study, the researchers looked at the cells that line the bladder, known as transitional epithelial cells, and found that these cells are able to activate and respond to Vitamin D, which in turn can stimulate an immune response.
This is important because the immune system may have a role in cancer prevention by identifying abnormal cells before they develop into cancer, said lead author Rosemary Bland, from the University of Warwick in Britain.
"More clinical studies are required to test this association, but our 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," Bland added.
In addition, Bland noted that as Vitamin D is cheap and safe, its potential use in cancer prevention is exciting and could potentially impact the lives of many people.
For the study, researchers reviewed seven studies. Five out of these seven linked low Vitamin D levels to an increased risk of bladder cancer.
The findings were presented at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference in Brighton.