Vitamin a - Possible New Drug For Mesothelioma

by Bello Kamorudeen - Date: 2009-10-11 - Word Count: 543 Share This!

Vitamin A is a very important vitamin to maintaining health. Vitamin A is found in foods like carrots and it is well known for its importance in maintaining eyesight. Also recent independent research studies over the last three decades have suggested that vitamin A could possibly have an impact on managing and preventing mesothelioma.

Vitamin A has many essential functions in the human body including:

- sustenance of vision

- bone growth

- Reproduction

- Cell division

- Cell differentiation

- Helping to maintain the immune system - the body's defense against infection.

Vitamin A comes from animal sources (such as liver and whole milk) and plant sources.
Retinoids which are chemically related to vitamin A have been implicated as anti-carcinogenic. For example, according to an article published in a leading medical journal: "At the cellular level, the anti-leukemia and anti-cancer activity of retinoids is the result of three main actions, cell-differentiation, growth inhibition and apoptosis."

In a 1988 study performed by the National Cancer Institute, the dietary patterns of mesothelioma patients were compared to those of healthy individuals. According to the article, mesothelioma patients ate less homegrown, cruciferous vegetables and all vegetables combined before they were diagnosed compared to healthy patients. Cruciferous vegetables, also called Brassica Vegetables, include Arugula, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Watercress, Bok Choy, Turnip Greens, Kale, and Mustard Greens. The researchers also pointed out that carotene intake was significantly lower for the mesothelioma patients. Carotene is a precursor to vitamin A.

In this 1996 study from the Division of Epidemiology of the American Health Foundation, the investigators examined the association between dietary intake and mesothelioma by studying 94 men and women with malignant mesothelioma and 64 people without cancer. They concluded that their results provided "some justification for the hypothesis that provitamin A or beta-carotene may decrease the risk of mesothelioma. Provitamin A is any of the carotenoids that are precursors of vitamin A and can be found in fish-liver oils, egg yolk, milk products, green-leaf or yellow vegetables, and fruits.

In a study from 2002, researchers looked at mesothelioma cells in vitro (in test tubes or Petri dishes outside the body) and found that retinoic acid (the oxidized form of Vitamin A) "may lead to a decrease of mesothelioma cell local invasion." They interpreted this to mean that retinoic acid may modify how mesothelioma grows and spreads in the body. This study suggests that vitamin A levels could possibly affect the aggressiveness of mesothelioma once someone is diagnosed with the disease, thus making mesothelioma metastases unlikely.

And in 2006, Australian researchers looked at former workers and residents exposed to crocidolite (blue asbestos) in Western Australia. Their findings suggested that "people with chronically low plasma levels of retinol (the fat-soluble animal form of vitamin A found in liver and eggs) have increased risk of developing mesothelioma and lung cancer."

Will vitamin A eventually become part of conventional treatment modality for the prevention or treatment of mesothelioma? These independent studies are very preliminary, but their conclusions are intriguing. In addition, there are anecdotal reports of long-time mesothelioma survivors using vitamin A as part of their healing regiments. But first a great deal more research is needed.

Mesothelioma patients willing to add Vitamin A as part of their cancer treatment should discuss with their doctor on the use of Vitamin A before proceeding on the use.

Bello Kamorudeen.For more information on Mesothelioma visit http://www.mesotheliomacorner.blogspot.comn
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