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Adequate Vitamin D In The Blood Slows Progression Of Leukemia, Reduces Death Risk

November 3, 2010: 08:06 AM EST

High levels of vitamin D in the blood stalled the progression of chronic lymphocyte leukemia (CLL) and reduced the death rate among newly-diagnosed patients, a U.S. clinical study has found. Vitamin D is obtained from skin exposure to sunlight, from foods like fatty fish and eggs and from supplements. In the study, researchers enrolled 390 new CLL patients and found that 30 percent had insufficient vitamin D levels. After three years, CLL patients deficient in vitamin D were 66 percent more likely to require chemotherapy and double the risk of death. The finding is significant, researchers said, because it offers patients a way to slow progression of the disease and it gives patients who must “watch and wait” to see how the disease develops something they can do to help themselves.

Tait D. Shanafelt, Matthew T. Drake, et al., "Vitamin D insufficiency and prognosis in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)", Blood, November 03, 2010, © American Society of Hematology
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