Several B vitamins lower your risk of an aggressive type of brain tumor
Glioblastoma is a the most common type of brain tumor and is very aggressive. Existing therapies are not all that effective and most people die within a few years after being diagnosed with the disease. It is essential to have more focus on prevention, and diet plays a major role. According to a Chinese population study, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B9 (folic acid) are associated with a reduced risk of developing glioblastoma. The scientists mention the different B vitamins and their role in brain health and cancer prevention and stress the importance of knowing about the factors that inhibit the body’s uptake and utilization of these vitamins.
For years, antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E have been thought to protect against glioblastoma. Also, it has been known that B vitamins are generally important for our health but so far, no reports have mentioned a relation between B vitamins and the risk of developing glioblastoma. The purpose of the new Chinese study was to study the link between different B vitamins and this specific type of brain tumor.
The study, which is published in Frontiers in Nutrition, included 506 patients diagnosed with glioblastoma and 506 healthy controls that were matched with regard to age and gender. The participants’ diet habits were registered by means of a 111-item food questionnaire. Afterwards, the scientists calculated their intake of five different B vitamins.
After adjusting for confounding factors such as age and BMI, they found that the tertile of participants with the highest intake of vitamins B1, B2, B3, and folic acid (B9) from food or supplements had a significantly lower risk of developing glioblastoma compared with the tertile that had the lowest intake of these B vitamins. No relation was found with regard to biotin (vitamin B8). More studies are required to confirm their findings.
How do B vitamins affect brain health and cancer prevention?
B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins that are needed by all cellular organisms – ranging from bacteria to humans. B vitamins support hundreds of different enzyme processes that are involved in energy turnover and the synthesis of DNA, proteins, and neurotransmitters.
Studies have shown a link between vitamin B deficiencies and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, kidney diseases, diabetes, and other chronic ailments. In recent years, multiple studies have demonstrated that different B vitamins can prevent different types of cancer such as cancer in the colon, stomach, esophagus, pancreas, skin, lungs, uterus, and prostate gland.
According to the new Chinese study, B vitamins also contribute to the prevention of glioblastoma. The researchers assume that the B vitamins’ mechanisms are related to protection against genetic mutations, dysfunctional cellular signaling, and DNA repair. B vitamins are also important for the brain and nervous system, and the presence of B vitamin derivates is greater in the brain than in the blood.
Widespread vitamin B deficiencies
Based on earlier studies, the Chinese scientists assume that around 80 percent of the Chinese people get less than the recommended amount of the different B vitamins, which is primarily down to the fact that they eat a refined an insufficiently balanced diet. Other factors that can affect the body’s need for B vitamins are such things as e.g., alcohol abuse, medicine, and stress. Lack of B vitamins is believed to be a global problem.
- Half of patients who are diagnosed with glioblastoma die within 20 months.
- The five-year survival is less than 10 percent.
- Common therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are not all that effective. It is therefore important to focus more on prevention, and the diet and essential nutrients such as B vitamins play a major role.
Weichunbai et al. Dietary B vitamins and glioma: A case-control study base on Chinese population. Frontiers in Nutrition. 2023
DCCC Dansk Center for målrettet behandling af hjernetumorer - DCCC - Danish Comprehensive Cancer Center
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