Gastric cancerHow does vitamin D work?

A number of mechanisms have been identified by which vitamin D reduces the risk of cancer.

These include effects such as regulation of cell growth, differentiation, apoptosis and a wide range of cellular mechanisms central to the development of cancer1, increased absorption of calcium2, reduced angiogenesis around tumors and reduced metastasis3, and prevention of epithelial cell disjunction4

In addition, a study found that “H. pylori up-regulates production of LL-37/hCAP18 by gastric epithelium and suggest this cathelicidin contributes to determining the balance between host mucosal defense and H. pylori survival mechanisms that govern chronic infection with this gastric pathogen5.”

The active metabolite of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamD, induces production of cathelicidin and defensins6.

A study in Iran provides additional evidence that vitamin D helps the innate immune system fight H. pylori infection7.

Page last edited: 22 August 2011


  1. Ingraham, B. A. Bragdon, B. Nohe, A. Molecular basis of the potential of vitamin D to prevent cancer. Curr Med Res Opin. 2008 Jan; 24 (1): 139-49.
  2. Peterlik, M. Grant, W. B. Cross, H. S. Calcium, vitamin D and cancer. Anticancer Res. 2009 Sep; 29 (9): 3687-98.
  3. Krishnan, A. V. Trump, D. L. Johnson, C. S. Feldman, D. The role of vitamin D in cancer prevention and treatment. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2010 Jun; 39 (2): 401-18, table of contents.
  4. Garland, C. F. Gorham, E. D. Mohr, S. B. Garland, F. C. Vitamin D for cancer prevention: global perspective. Ann Epidemiol. 2009 Jul; 19 (7): 468-83.
  5. Hase, K. Murakami, M. Iimura, M. Cole, S. P. Horibe, Y. Ohtake, T. Obonyo, M. Gallo, R. L. Eckmann, L. Kagnoff, M. F. Expression of LL-37 by human gastric epithelial cells as a potential host defense mechanism against Helicobacter pylori. Gastroenterology. 2003 Dec; 125 (6): 1613-25.
  6. Gombart, A. F. Luong, Q. T. Koeffler, H. P. Vitamin D compounds: activity against microbes and cancer. Anticancer Res. 2006 Jul-Aug; 26 (4A): 2531-42.
  7. Nasri, H. Baradaran, A. The influence of serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels on Helicobacter Pylori Infections in patients with end-stage renal failure on regular hemodialysis. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl. 2007 Jun; 18 (2): 215-9.