Vitamin D Now Found Useful in Certain Lymphomas

Lymphoma cancer vitamin DThe standard message for patients with vitamin D deficiency is that everyone can take vitamin D unless they have a granulomatous condition (for example tuberculosis or sarcoidosis), or a lymphoma.

The exact details on the why and why not this vitamin D optimization of patients with these diseases is not discussed in detail in the medical literature.

Now a new study has come out that shows that vitamin D actually appears to HELP patients with two specific types of lymphoma.

In a significant paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology that was just published online, Matthew Drake, MD and his colleagues from the Mayo Clinic and 2 other schools  tested the theory that vitamin D levels might be predictive of "event free survival" (EFS), and "overall survival" (OS) in non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL). An "event" would be getting so sick the patient would need intervention most likely in a hospital. Otherwise, these terms are self-explanatory.
In the study they looked at over 900 newly diagnosed patients with NHL. 44% of the patients had an insufficient vitamin D level- that was less than 25 ng/ml, measured  within 120 days of their diagnosis. The average patient was followed for almost 3 years, some longer and others shorter.

After adjusting for other factors and treatment, the vitamin D insufficient patients who had defuse large B-cell lymphoma had a 41% lower chance of having event free survival. In addition, this group had a 50% lower likelihood of overall survival in the time they were followed.

Similarly patients with T cell lymphomas also had a significantly shorter event free survival time and a significantly shorter overall survival.

The authors went on to state that it was not clear if normalizing the vitamin D levels in these patients would improve outcome and suggest that more studies of this sort need to be done to find that out.

In my own practice of medicine if I see a patient with one of these types of lymphomas now, I will certainly optimize their vitamin D levels as soon as I start working with them.

The authors were quoted as saying "At this time, there is no definitive evidence for a causative relationship between lower vitamin D levels and poorer outcomes in lymphoma, and our study did not answer the question of whether normalizing vitamin D levels in these patients improves outcome."

This is just one more example where higher vitamin D levels were associated with patients doing better. I look forward to more and more of these studies as vitamin D is not on the researchers map!

Do you have friends or family with one of these types of lymphoma? Have they had their vitamin D levels checked? Let me know what you are doing to help spread the word about vitamin D.



About Dr. Soram Khalsa

As an MD, Dr Soram specializes in Integrative Medicine combining diet, nutrition, acupuncture, herbs and nutrition. Visit Dr Soram’s Healthy Living Store where you’ll find high-quality nutritional supplements: