Spring is just around the corner and soon Spring Break for you lucky people heading south for some beach time. Time to clear up a recent attack in the media on the “Sunshine Vitamin”.
Here We Go Again
Last fall we had the media buzzing with the latest “study” showing supplements were bad for you or ineffective at best. This was based on handpicking 24 studies that had poor outcomes and discarding the thousands of studies that had positive outcomes. Figures don’t lie but liars sure know how to figure!
Now we have a similar program that has recently been launched on vitamin D. Out of 34,000 vitamin D studies that show significant health benefits, they looked at 40 that mostly used pitifully low amounts of vitamin D daily (400-800 IU’s) and found them ineffective at reducing any cancer, heart disease, etc. What a surprise!
20 minutes in the summer sun in your bathing suit with no sunscreen on, will help your body produce about 8-10,000 IU’s of vitamin D. You think less than a tenth of that dose will have any substantial effect? By the way, getting sun in the winter, even on your naked body is a snow drift; you will not be hit with enough UV to make vitamin D in most areas of the US. See the UV map at: http://media.mercola.com/assets/images/map_march.png
They did look at a high dose vitamin D study and found an increase in bone fractures right after the patients received 500,000 IU’s of vitamin D in a single dose. As the months progressed, the fracture rate went down which shouldn’t be a surprise since they over-dosed these poor patients. You can’t get a month or two supply of vitamin D in a single dose and not expect there to be problems. Those researchers should have to try eating a month or two of food in one sitting as payback!
But their conclusion was that vitamin D in a supplement form was dangerous and should be avoided. So we all have to move near the equator or the Southern Hemisphere in the winter to make our vitamin D from sun exposure. I’m all for that as long as it’s covered under the new Affordable Care Act. See you on the beach!
Vitamin D May Be Critical for Cancer Prevention
Their conclusion on vitamin D is in stark contrast to an ever growing number of studies showing that vitamin D (with or without calcium) has tremendous protective effect against cancer. For example, a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine13 concluded that a serum 25(OH)D level of more than 33 ng/mL was associated with a 50 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition14 that same year found that after four years of follow up, cancer-free survival was 77 percent higher in women who received 1,100 IU vitamin D and 1,450 mg calcium per day, compared to those who received either a placebo or calcium by itself. Theories linking vitamin D deficiency to cancer have been tested and confirmed in more than 200 epidemiological studies, and understanding of its physiological basis stems from more than 2,500 laboratory studies.
According to Carole Baggerly, founder of GrassrootsHealth, 90 percent of ordinary breast cancer may be related to vitamin D deficiency. In fact, breast cancer has been described as a “vitamin D deficiency syndrome.” The way vitamin D interferes with breast cancer’s ability to spread is by affecting the structure of those cells—without adequate vitamin D, they fall apart and are forced to “overmultiply” in order to survive. Previous research has shown that optimizing your vitamin D levels can reduce your risk for as many as 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, breast, prostate, and skin cancers.
Of utmost importance is the maintenance of a therapeutically beneficial serum level year-round. Here, studies indicate that thebare minimum for cancer prevention is around 40 ng/ml. Research suggests an ideal level might be around 60-80 ng/ml. A 2009 review article15 titled: “Vitamin D for Cancer Prevention: Global Perspective,” published in Annals of Epidemiologya states that:
“Higher serum levels of the main circulating form of vitamin D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), are associated with substantially lower incidence rates of colon, breast, ovarian, renal, pancreatic, aggressive prostate and other cancers.
Epidemiological findings combined with newly discovered mechanisms suggest a new model of cancer etiology that accounts for these actions of 25(OH)D and calcium. Its seven phases are disjunction, initiation, natural selection, overgrowth, metastasis, involution, and transition (abbreviated DINOMIT). Vitamin D metabolites prevent disjunction of cells and are beneficial in other phases.
It is projected that raising the minimum year-around serum 25(OH)D level to 40 to 60 ng/mL (100–150 nmol/L) would prevent approximately 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer each year, and three fourths of deaths from these diseases in the United States and Canada, based on observational studies combined with a randomized trial. Such intakes also are expected to reduce case-fatality rates of patients who have breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer by half... The time has arrived for nationally coordinated action to substantially increase intake of vitamin D and calcium. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/11/25/vitamins-cancer-prevention.aspx
I like to see the vitamin D blood levels between 60-100 ng/ml year-round. It costs less than $30 to have your vitamin D levels tested and can save you a lot of illness and misery. Most people do well with 8-10,000 IU’s of D in the winter and 2-5,000 in the summer but the blood tests have to confirm that it is the right dose. People with autoimmune disorders, like me, may have to take larger doses to keep a normal blood level range.