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Linking Vitamin D and Cancer: The Vital Nutrient You Aren’t Getting Enough Of

Taking Vitamin D and cancer preventionVitamin D has had a solid reputation for bone strengthening for many years now. It helps the body use calcium and phosphorous to make the bones and teeth strong. It is a vital nutrient that you’ll find in every multivitamin and many fortified foods. It’s regarded as an essential tool for building dense bones and keeping children and adults strong and healthy. However, recent evidence has been found that its benefits may be even wider in scope. There is now sufficient evidence linking vitamin D and cancer. Findings support that vitamin D may have protective elements that can fight against certain types of cancer, as well as other chronic diseases.

Vitamin D: An Essential Nutrient

Essential nutrients are elements that our body cannot make on its own or in sufficient quantities to meet the body’s needs. For example, skin that is exposed to sunlight can make vitamin D, but over 90% of people don’t get enough UV exposure to make enough of the vitamin year-round. Most essential nutrients must be given to the body in a food or supplement form, and they are vital for our good health and in the prevention of diseases.

The essentials can be classified as either micronutrients or macronutrients. Macros should occupy the largest portion of one’s diet and include protein, carbohydrates and fat. Micros, such as vitamin D, are vitamins and minerals that are necessary but only in small portions.

There are 13 essential vitamins that the body needs to function and vitamin D is one of them. Each vitamin plays an important role in warding off disease and staying healthy. New research often supports just how vital these vitamins are in warding off diseases, such as the new link between vitamin D and cancer.

Vitamin D Clinical Trials

Up until this point, randomized trials have been conducted for vitamin D and disease, but did not consider cancer.

Initially, a possible link was observed between vitamin D and cancer in locations with higher levels of sunlight exposure on the skin. Due to the fact that the ultraviolet rays from the sun aid in the production of vitamin D, people tend to have higher levels of vitamin D in this region. A link between vitamin D and cancer was hypothesized, but never fully tested.

In addition, problems with testing vitamin D levels in the blood made research difficult. Until recently, measurements of vitamin D levels were often found to be inconsistent and challenging.

Dietary studies were unable to account for the amount of vitamin D created from the sun and skin. The levels of vitamin D taken from the blood at a single point in time appeared not to be a true measure of a person’s vitamin D status. In addition, it is likely that people with higher vitamin D levels have healthier lifestyle and behaviors, making the linking of vitamin D to any specific health outcome difficult.

In mice, vitamin D and cancer have been linked in the past. Results showed higher vitamin D levels to be associated with the prevention and slowing down of cancer in the mice, less cellular differentiation, and the reduction of tumor blood vessel formation.

However, recent trials in Japan have provided evidence that this is also true for humans.

Vitamin D and Cancer

In a study that took place between 1990 and 2009 at nine public health centers across Japan, evidence was found that vitamin D does indeed possess protective elements that fight against a variety of cancers.

In this large prospective study on 7,345 people, 3,301 of which were individuals with incident cases of cancer, and 4,044 of which were randomly selected participants, it was proven that the risk of cancer decreased with a higher concentration of vitamin D.

Vitamin D and cancer have been scientifically proven to be linked.

Make Sure You Are Getting Your Vitamin D!

With the new information linking vitamin D and cancer, there is even more reason to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D.

Culturally, many people do not get enough sun exposure to produce enough vitamin D, spending too much time indoors. At higher latitudes, however, and in the winter, you might not be able to produce enough vitamin D even standing outside all day in a T-shirt. There is simply not enough UV light. This is why most people are vitamin D deficient.

Foods with naturally occurring vitamin D sources include eggs, fish, and fish liver oil as well as food items that are fortified with D including breakfast cereals, milks and juices.

However, most food sources contain very low levels of vitamin D, so a regular supplement is the best option.

What is the Recommended Dose of Vitamin D?

The correct dosage for Vitamin D and cancerDoses have been developed by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies regarding the intake of vitamin D. For accuracy, the following recommended dietary allowances (RDA) and international units, have assumed that people are receiving minimal sun exposure:

  • Infants under 1 : 10 MGs, or 400 IUs per day
  • Ages 1-70 : 15 MGs, or 600 IUs per day
  • 70+ : 20 MGs, or 800 IUs per day

The Vitamin D Council recommends the following for pregnant and lactating women:

  • 4,000-6,000 IUs per day for pregnant women
  • 1,000 IUs per day for lactating women

Some sources suggest higher amounts are best, so it’s best to do your research. While overdose is possible, it tends to only occur at very very high doses. Make sure you check several sources to find what works best for you.

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

The most accurate way of testing a person’s vitamin D levels is to measure the amount of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in their blood. The two main forms of vitamin D are D2 and D3, also known as ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol. Vitamin D2 is organically derived from plants, whereas D3 is made by the body when it is exposed to the sun. Both types are converted to 25-hydroxyvitamin D by the liver and then travel to the kidneys where they become calcitriol, or the active form of the vitamin.

It should be noted that the average American diet and lifestyle fall below the recommended vitamin D intake guidelines. Additional efforts need to be made to ensure a sufficient amount of the vitamin is consumed daily.

Additional Vitamin D Benefits

There are additional functions of vitamin D that are vital to everyone’s health, but they are especially beneficial for those who suffer from medical conditions such as Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). Vitamin D:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Regulates mental health
  • Aides in serotonin and dopamine synthesis
  • Helps increase levels of glutathione in the body needed for the body’s natural detox system
  • Is immune building

Inflammation and hormonal imbalance affect almost all AFS sufferers. Both play an important role in regulating the immune system. When cortisol levels from stress fluctuate too high or too low, chronic inflammation develops. Allergies, continual infections, and a variety of autoimmune diseases may follow.

Vitamin D, and the lack of it, can affect the adrenals and the NeuroEndoMetabolic Stress Response. With neurotransmitter imbalance a common symptom of AFS, Vitamin D can help the inflammatory circuit rebalance the body and its stresses. The healing properties of the vitamin are crucial and can ensure long-term health and wellness for sufferers.

The supplement D5000 Plus contains vitamin D3, vitamin K2, calcium, and black pepper fruit extract. We have discussed the benefits of a vitamin D supplement, but what of these other ingredients?

According to literature, a higher calcium intake may reduce your risk of certain types of cancers, while vitamin K2 shows a tendency to inhibit the production of cancer cells. Furthermore, black pepper contains piperine, a powerful antioxidant that may reduce the risk of contracting breast cancer. It is also interesting to bear in mind that vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 also play important roles regarding the health of your heart, teeth, and bones.

Considerations for Taking Vitamin D

Vitamin D and cancer considerationsBefore starting any new supplement, it is always best to consult with your healthcare practitioner. Sufferers of AFS can be extremely sensitive, especially to consumption of new foods or vitamins. Proceed with caution, always start with low dosages, and monitor your body for any changes or discomforts.

Although chances are low for overconsumption of vitamin D, an excess amount of any nutrient can be poisonous. Too much can lead to dangerous calcium levels that can damage soft tissues and the kidneys, heart, and lungs. Toxicity from overconsumption of vitamin D is rare from excessive sun exposure and is more likely to occur from very high doses of dietary supplements.

People with AFS tend to have high toxin levels that the body can’t remove, so it is also important to look for a high-quality supplement. Try to make sure your vitamin D supplement and foods are organic and are minimally processed to reduce your body’s exposure to unnecessary toxins.

Given the research on vitamin D and cancer, it is even more important to make sure you are getting your daily dose of this vital nutrient.

© Copyright 2019 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Yes, the testing of vitamin D and cancer took place over 10 years on approximately 7000 participants from public health facilities in Japan. There is sufficient evidence that consumption of vitamin D can lessen, stop, or prevent certain cancers.

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