Emerging Research on Vitamin D, Omega 3 and Epigenetic Factors in Cancer Risks

A number of recently published research projects provide some important health updates. New research from Spain sheds further light on the long-suspected involvement of epigenetics in cancer. Three separate studies in relation to vitamin D indicate deficiency is linked to aggressive prostate cancer; vitamin D may raise survival rates among cancer patients and vitamin D may offer potential relief for those with chronic hives. Plus further evidence of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, specifically in relation to lowering blood pressure. And finally two studies on Omega 3 consumption indicate cognitive and depression combating benefits.


Identified epigenetic factors associated with an increased risk of developing cancer

“In 10% of human tumours there is a family history of hereditary disease associated with mutations in identified genes.

New research from Spain has shed greater light on the long-suspected involvement of epigenetics in cancer

The best examples are the cases of polyps in the large intestine associated with the APC gene and breast cancer associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. In the remaining 90% of cases are believed to have an increased risk of developing cancer in relation to genetic variants less powerful but more often, for example, doubles the risk of having a tumour that lacks this small change, called polymorphisms.”

Above is the introduction of the news summary relating to an article published in Cell Reports led by Manel Esteller, Director of Epigenetics and Cancer Biology, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), Spain – link to the full article below. This is one of a number of recently published research papers relating to the fascinating, and growing, fields of nutrigenomics and epigenetics. This new research from Spain has shed greater light on the long-suspected involvement of epigenetics in cancer.

“Research shows that in one in four human tumour exist genetic polymorphisms associated with increased risk of cancer that cause epigenetic changes that modifies the expression of neighbouring genes.”

If you are unfamiliar with this topic read our recent blog article on nutrigenomics which is an excellent introduction and includes an explanation on polymorphisms (link to the article below). In the next few weeks we will be publishing a further article relating to maternal nutrition around the time of conception influencing offspring DNA.

IDIBELL: Identified epigenetic factors associated with an increased risk of developing cancer
Cytoplan Blog: Nutrigenomics, where nutrition meets genetics


Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer

“Regular vitamin D screenings could especially benefit white and African-American men.

Vitamin D deficiency could be a biomarker of advanced prostate tumour progression in large segments of the general population,” said Adam B. Murphy, M.D., lead author of the study. “More research is needed, but it would be wise for men to be screened for vitamin D deficiency and treated.” (link to article below).

Dr Adam Murphy is from Northwestern University in the USA, and the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Defense funded this study. Vitamin D does not currently have any permitted European health claims in relation to prostate cancer. So further evaluation of this research, and future research on this topic, are eagerly awaited.

There have been a number of previously published studies linking vitamin D deficiencies and prostate health. These can be found by searching online.

Northwestern: Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Vitamin D May Raise Survival Rates Among Cancer Patients

“Analysis finds strongest evidence of benefit in breast, colorectal cancers

– Cancer patients who have higher levels of vitamin D when they are diagnosed tend to have better survival rates and remain in remission longer than patients who are vitamin D-deficient, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

“By reviewing studies that collectively examined vitamin D levels in 17,332 cancer patients, our analysis demonstrated that vitamin D levels are linked to better outcomes in several types of cancer,” said one of the study’s authors.”

Yet another study regarding vitamin D deficiency and a range of cancers seems to lend increasing weight to the importance of the vitamin in this health matter. We have a number of previous blog articles on vitamin D, and this includes other studies in this field – links below.

Endocrine.org: Vitamin D May Raise Survival Rates Among Cancer Patients
Cytoplan Blog: Vitamin D to cut breast cancer?
Cytoplan Blog: Health benefits of vitamin D

Vitamin D provides relief for those with chronic hives, study shows

“Vitamin D as an add-on therapy could provide some relief for chronic hives

– A study by researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center shows vitamin D as an add-on therapy could provide some relief for chronic hives, a condition with no cure and few treatment options.

Over 12 weeks, 38 study participants daily took a triple-drug combination of allergy medications (one prescription and two over-the-counter drugs) and vitamin D3. Researchers found after just one week, the severity of patients’ symptoms decreased by 33 percent. For patients that took a stronger dose of vitamin D3, a further 40 percent decrease in severity of their hives was noted.” As reported by ScienceDaily – link below.

Vitamin D has a permitted health claim of contributing to the normal function of the immune system and inflammatory response. And previous research has suggested that the vitamin in suitable levels may play a role in treatment for a range of allergies. This particular research may provide encouragement for sufferers of the debilitating ailment of hives.

Please Note: The dosage of vitamin D supplement used in this research was higher than a typical recommended daily allowance – please seek professional health advice (from your doctor or health professional) before considering this type of dosage.

ScienceDaily: Vitamin D provides relief for those with chronic hives, study shows

A Note On- Vitamin D3 : Vitamin D3 is the most bioavailable form of this nutrient and far preferable to Vitamin D2 to supplement with. At Cytoplan we only use vitamin D3 in our supplements and would only currently recommend this form.


Olive oil and salad combined ‘explain’ Med diet success

“When these two food groups come together they form nitro fatty acids which lower blood pressure

, they told PNAS journal. The unsaturated fat in olive oil joins forces with the nitrite in the vegetables, the study of mice suggests. Nuts and avocados along with vegetables should work too, they say. Inspired by traditional cuisine of countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy, the Mediterranean diet has long been associated with good health and fit hearts.” The research as reported by the BBC – link below.

Professor Philip Eaton, of King’s College London, commented separately “Our findings help explain why a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular problems.”. In experiments on mice, researchers found nitro fatty acids, created by a reaction between unsaturated fatty acids in olive oil and nitrogen in vegetables, blocked the enzyme sEH that raises blood pressure.

Although this particular research was carried out on mice a number of other studies have highlighted the beneficial health aspects of the Mediterranean diet, particularly in relation to cardiovascular diseases. Please see the link below to the NHS Choices website where their experts reviewed the research.

BBC News: Med diet success
NHS Choices News: Mediterranean diet study
Cytoplan Blog: Mediterranean diet cuts heart and stroke risk


Fish intake found to combat depression but only in women

“A new study has determined that eating fish at least twice a week reduces the risk of depression by 25 per cent

– but only in women. This study, developed by the Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania, Australia and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, discovered that having seafood on the menu had no protective effect for men, Mail Online informed. “The observed protective association for women but not for men may have been due to men consuming more omega-3 fatty acids from other dietary sources, particularly from meat,” the study concluded.”

The researchers, who tracked more than 1,400 men and women aged between 26 and 36 for a period of five years, speculate that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids may combine with the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone to keep the brain functioning properly.” As reported by Fish Information Services; link below. For the more technical aspects of the research please use the link to the US NCBI National Library of Medicine; also provided below.

Omega 3 contains the essential fatty acids ‘EPA’ and ‘DHA’ which have a range of health benefits including ‘Contributing to the maintenance of normal brain function’. The role of Omega 3 levels in respect of depression and related cognitive health has been, and continues to be, the subject of much worldwide research, More recently the relevance of Omega 3 and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia have been researched (see our previous blog articles, link below).

Although this particular research highlights the potential health relevance for women only the typical benefits of Omega 3 are recognised equally for men and women, at all stages of life.

NCBI: Longitudinal associations between fish consumption and depression in young adults
FIS: Fish intake found to combat depression but only in women
Cytoplan Blog: Vitamins for the brain

Diet can predict cognitive decline, researchers say

“Lower dietary consumption of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA) might be risk factors for cognitive decline

, researchers say. There is growing evidence that very long chain omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for maintaining cognitive health. “While more research is needed to determine whether intake of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and trout can help prevent against cognitive decline, our preliminary data support previous research showing that intake of these types of fish have health benefits,” one researcher said.”

This is how ScienceDaily reported on findings presented during the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB); link below. The content of this article resonates with the previous item on potential Omega 3 benefits in respect of depression.

ScienceDaily: Diet can predict cognitive decline, researchers say

If you have any questions regarding this article, any of the health topics raised, or any other health matters please do contact me (Amanda) by phone or email at any time. If you want to be alerted by email when a new post is published simply add your email address in the ‘Get The Latest Post By Email’ in the right-hand column.

Amanda Williams, Cytoplan

amanda@cytoplan.co.uk, 01684 310099

Last updated on 15th December 2014 by


1 thoughts on “Emerging Research on Vitamin D, Omega 3 and Epigenetic Factors in Cancer Risks

  1. After learning from my Father’s sister that various forms of cancer have affected several members of our family, It was a no brain-er to get myself into my doctor to have everything checked.

    My doc informed me that because of my family’s predisposition to cancer and similar illness, preventative measures and strategy immediately began to swirl in my mind.

    Untl this article I was unaware that Vitamin D, something so simple to find and relatively cheap to purchase, would help me to stave off cancer. If you live on a budget like me, dont panic. There are still places that can provide what you need and not break your pocketbook.

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