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The Sunshine Vitamin Fights Cancer


The sunshine vitamin is Vitamin D.

Vitamin D comes in several forms. One of them is a steroid hormone known as Calcitriol or less commonly by its cute nickname 9,10-seco(5Z,7E)-5,7,10(19)-cholestatriene-1a,3 b ,25-triol.

Your skin contains a substance called 7-dehydrocholesterol. Ultraviolet light from the sun converts this into Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol.

Cholecalciferol is brought by the blood to the liver, where is it converted into the cleverly named 25-hydroxyvitamin D 3 [25-(OH)D 3 ] by a liver enzyme. This is brought to the kidneys by the bloodstream, where it is converted into calcitriol by the kidney mitochondia.

Vitamin D is most famous for its action in the intestines, where it is essential for the absorption of calcium, making the mineral available to form bones. The lack of Vitamin D causes the bone disease rickets.

But what has caught my attention is the lesser-known effects of Vitamin D on cancers, such as colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, non-melanoma skin cancer, and malignant melanoma. These last two in interesting, since the same ultraviolet light from the sun that creates Vitamin D also causes skin cancer. But occupations that give workers more sunlight seem to protect agains all of these cancers, especially breast and colon cancers.

So, people who are slathering on sunblock and avoiding sun exposure to prevent skin cancer are also eliminating a source of a substance known to help fight cancer. The good news is that various forms of Vitamin D are available in dairy products and vitamin supplements.

And guess what the two most common forms of cancer are in the United States? Skin cancer, and prostate cancer.

Drink your milk folks. And a vitamin pill might also help.

Categories: Chemistry, Food, Health.

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By Simon Quellen Field
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