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Colon Cancer and Vitamin A

Colon_Cancer_VItamin_AColon cancer is a growing health concern in the United States and abroad. It’s the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States and often fatal. That threat is even more concerning when you consider the traditional age range for colon cancer is getting younger at an alarming rate.

Fortunately, it’s not all bad news. We’re learning more about colon cancer by the year. And news of a possible link between colon cancer and vitamin A may further influence our understanding of this often-deadly condition and how we deal with it in the near future.

There May Be a Colon Colon Cancer-Vitamin A Connection

Vitamin A is a group of organic compounds. It’s responsible for many functions, including vision, immune function and cell growth.
The latter lends weight to the idea that vitamin A may be connected to colon cancer in some form because cancers are based on uncontrolled cell growth.
The study suggests that retinoic acid – a compound derived from the body’s intake of vitamin A – may reduce colon cancer. It builds on previous research which shows that retinoic acid appears to lower inflammation in the gut, the study authors note.
As well, it adds to our current understanding that colon cancer is linked to inflammation. Consider, for example, that people with inflammatory bowel diseases like colitis are at higher risk of this disease that kills about 50,000 Americans each year.
This research is an analysis of earlier studies and connects the dots between retinoic acid, inflammation and colon cancer. The researchers saw that mice with colon cancer had low levels of retinoic acid. They also found that boosting retinoic acid in the intestines of these animals slowed progression of the disease.
Just as interesting, the researchers note that people with a high level of a protein that degrades retinoic acid in their intestinal tissue tend to have higher levels of colon cancer than people without it.
Colon_Cancer _Research_ScientistsGranted, there are caveats to this research. Animal studies don’t always show the same results in humans. The intestines are constantly bombarded by foreign organisms. The immune system has evolved to meet these threats, and is very complex as a result.
Still, there may be something here. The researchers found that bacteria, or molecules made by them, can lead to massive inflammation in the gut that can affect retinoic acid metabolism. It’s an interesting link, and warrants further research.
The next step is to identify the specific microorganisms that cause these changes, say the researchers. Should things progress, the end goal would be the articulate how these findings may influence colon cancer, enhance our understanding of it, and ultimately prevent or treat it in the future.
The study was published online, August 30, in the journal Immunity.

Sources of Vitamin A

Retinoic acid is one of two active forms of vitamin A. This is the retinoids group; it’s the one analyzed in the research earlier this year and typically comes from animal products.
Beta carotene is among active forms of the second kind of vitamin A. You get this from plant-based foods that are orange, red or green leafy vegetables.

The American Heart Association says 50% to 65% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A is easily obtained if you eat five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating antioxidants like beta carotene, as part of a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains rather than supplements. High doses of antioxidants can actually do more harm than good – especially when taken in supplement form.
They also suggest most Americans get enough vitamin A from the diet already. Speak with your doctor to learn more about vitamin A and your health.

Why People Take Vitamin A

Vitamin_A_DietPeople take vitamin A topically for skin problems, including acne. It’s a popular ingredient in many skincare products – including our own Kollagen Intensiv.
Oral vitamin A is used to treat measles and dry eye in people with low levels of the vitamin. It’s also used to treat various cancers, cataracts and others – although results are inconclusive when used for these conditions.

The American Heart Association says 50% to 65% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A is easily obtained if you eat five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
You can also get retinoid vitamin A in eggs, whole milk, liver and fortified skim milk and cereals. Sources of beta carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach and apricots.

Moving Forward…

Colon cancer is a major health threat to Americans and those living beyond the United States. It’s currently the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the US and, alarmingly, is growing in frequency among younger adults.
You’re at higher risk of colon cancer and colorectal cancer (to which colon cancer belongs) if you smoke, eat large amounts of meat, fat, and processed foods. Colon cancer may also have an evil eye on you if don’t exercise or put back more than one drink a day.
It’s beyond the scope of this article to suggest how you might prevent colon cancer, but this article at WebMD is a great starting point to learn about colorectal cancer and what you might do to lower your risk.
And of course, you’ll want to speak with your doctor about colon cancer as well.
It’s hard to say what this new evidence and potential link to vitamin A mean to colon cancer and our fight against it.You’re likely getting enough daily vitamin A if you follow the American Heart Association’s recommended intake of 5 helpings of fruits and vegetables each day. A balance of plant and animal-based vitamin A foods most likely works best.
A ‘helping’ is roughly the size of your palm, by the way.
With all this said, it’s an encouraging turn. Colon cancer is often preventable, and if this vitamin A connection helps researchers identify the microorganisms that lead to inflammation in the gut, that’s a huge step forward.
What all this means: stay in touch with your doctor about colon cancer and how it may affect you in the future. Learn more about this disease, and your potential risk of it. Keep an eye on the potential link between vitamin A and colon cancer. With time and a little luck, this may turn into something.

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