Cancer of the lung is a life-threatening condition which is the most common cancer across the world and a leading cause of death. Considering this fact today’s research is focused on identifying the ways and means to prevent the disease. Avoiding smoking and exposure to various carcinogens are well-established preventive measures. A recent study came up with an interesting finding and suggested that specific type of diet also help to prevent occurrence of lung cancer. Vitamin B can prevent lung cancer.
This study was conducted in France with funding from World Cancer Research Fund and the European Commission. The study was based on the fact that Vitamin B regulates the expression of genes and also preserves the integrity of DNA within the cells. Any disturbances in its function may invite carcinogenesis (process of cancer development). The study included a large cohort 519,978 persons and participants were asked to fill up a standard questionnaire with questions on their diet. Of these participants, 385,747 provided a blood sample.
The participants were divided in two groups: Cases- persons who developed lung cancer and Controls: who did not develop cancer. The investigators measured amount of different vitamin B ie; B2, B6, B9 and B12, in the blood samples and a chemical called cotinine, an indicator of recent smoking intensity.
In results, it was seen that there were 899 cases that had given a blood sample and later on developed lung cancer. The researchers then selected 1,815 matched controls. Cases were mostly male 62% and the levels of vitamin B in blood were similar between former and never smokers, but for current smokers it was lower. They had low B6, B9 and B12 levels with more depletion seen in heavy smoker compared to those who smoke fewer cigarettes.
It was also observed that there was a reduced risk of lung cancer with increasing levels of B6 and methionine. Interestingly, it was found that smokers had fewer fruits and vegetables consumption than former smokers, and there was a weak association between dietary vitamin amounts and serum levels of B2, B6 and B12.
The researchers commented that High serum measures of B6 and methionine are linked with a reduced risk of developing lung cancer by about 50%. However, it should be noted that the study has used a single blood sample at the time of recruitment and hence the level of vitamin B may not reflect day to day or long term variations in vitamin levels.
Additionally, the study said that the difference in vitamin B level between cases and controls was due to difference in absorption rater than dietary intake. In conclusion, this study needs further research to find whether diet change can or cannot affect the risk of lung cancer.