We all know that vitamins are needed for proper growth and development. Most of our necessary vitamins come by way of our eating habits. Those who are dieting or whose nutritional intake is lacking due to illness can supplement with a multivitamin daily to make up for the deficiencies. While all vitamins are necessary for good health, there are some vitamins that can help to prevent cancer.
Vitamin A has been thought to be just one of those vitamins. Although there is still no clear, concrete evidence that vitamin A can help in the treatment of lung cancer most physicians believe that adequate amounts of vitamin A can help to prevent the disease. Some studies have actually shown that vitamin A could, in fact, make lung cancer worse once it developed.
Vitamin A is stored in the liver until it is needed by the body. It is classified as a retinoid, which some studies have shown to be an immune enhancer. This means that vitamin A may help to boost the ability of the immune system to fight disease and illness. Retinoids have been known to shrink tumors and slow down growing tumors and may improve some cancer treatments and slow down cancer development.
However, if you are a smoker the few studies that have been done show no effectiveness of vitamin A with lung cancer. On the contrary, smokers had an increased risk of getting lung cancer with high levels of vitamin A in the body. It is not recommended that vitamin A be used in cancer treatments due to inconclusive and discouraging evidence in the studies that have been done.
If used incorrectly vitamin A can have some dangerous consequences as it is toxic in large quantities. Signs of a vitamin A overdose are many and include blurred vision, diarrhea, headache, hair loss, lethargy, nausea, vomiting, dry, itchy skin, uncoordinated muscle movements, liver damage, menses disturbance in females and aches and pains in the bones.
Another compound, which is a relative of vitamin A, called bexarotene has shown some promise in the treatment of lung cancer in lab animals. Although no human studies have been undertaken, studies in mice who are victims of lung cancer have been helped by bexarotene by slowing down the tumor growth process. Another study done on participants that had taken bexarotene proved helpful in finding that bexarotene prolonged the lives of victims of non-small cell lung cancer, as well as decreasing the amount and limiting their tumor size.
Although vitamin A does not help in the treatment of lung cancer, the compound known as bexarotene has shown some positive benefits in treatment.
If seeking treatment for lung cancer see your physician for the best possible medical treatment for your condition. Your primary care professional will guide you in the care that is right for your particular condition.