A new study published this month finds that the hormonally active form of vitamin D, Calcitriol 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3), inhibits the growth of many kinds of cancerous cells, including breast cancer, indicating that vitamin D3 can be useful in treating and even preventing a variety of cancers. Authors of the study said that caner cell growth is inhibited by “anticancer actions including cell cycle arrest, promotion of apoptosis and inhibition of invasion, metastasis, and angiogenesis.” Vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory properties and interference with estrogen synthesis further explains its anti-tumor properties.
Two studies from 2007 used meta-analysis, which combines data from multiple reports, to find that therapeutic doses of vitamin D could prevent up to half of all cases of breast cancer, and two-thirds of all cases of colorectal cancer in the United States. The studies showed a direct correlation between blood levels of vitamin D and cancer. Those with the highest blood levels were found to be at the lowest risk, and the lowest blood levels at the highest risk.
Many sources still try to cast a shadow on the effectiveness of vitamin D, citing that a specific dose strength has not yet been established, and needs more research. It likely won’t be narrowed down to a one-size-fits-all dose, because every body is different, and if it were, it wouldn’t be as effective. One other thing that may be giving varied results regarding dosing is the source of vitamin D used – it varies from study to study. Typically, higher doses are required of synthetic sources to increase blood levels, and they don’t generally have the same effect as natural sources.
Vitamin D facts
The “sunshine” vitamin, vitamin D is fat-soluble vitamin required for the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorous. It protects against muscle weakness, regulates heartbeat, is necessary for normal blood clotting and thyroid function, and regulates more than 2,000 genes, affecting the proliferation and death of cells.
Vitamin D comes in several forms. The kind that comes from food is D2. There is a synthetic form, D5. The most active is the most natural kind, D3. It is synthesized in the skin in response to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. There is a cholesterol compound in the skin that is a precursor of vitamin D. The D we get from food and supplements is not fully active until it goes through the liver and kidneys, where it is converted, then it circulates through the blood like a hormone.
According to Bach, problems from deficiency may include: heart disease, birth defects, depression, hypertension, stroke, dementia, fibromyalgia, impaired bone mineralization, skin, breast, prostate and other cancers, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, eye problems, problems with pregnancy, and other chronic diseases. It is estimated that more than one billion people worldwide, and 77 percent of Americans, are deficient in vitamin D.
It is not possible for most people to consume enough vitamin D thorough diet alone. It is found in fatty saltwater fish and fish liver oils, such as halibut, salmon, sardines, and cod liver oil. It is also added (fortified) to diary and eggs, so you’ll find it in things like milk, yogurt, and butter. Other foods that have vitamin D include dandelion greens, oatmeal, cereals, and sweet potatoes.
Having a healthy and balanced diet can prevent cancer, and the need for prescriptions that contribute to cancer, such as cholesterol reducing drugs that inhibit vitamin D absorption from the sun. Even the National Cancer Institute estimates that 80 percent of cancer cases could be prevented. Most people supplement to get enough vitamin D. The recommended doses are generally not enough to address health problems. Be sure your supplements come from whole food vitamins so that higher doses won’t be detrimental to your health, as they might from synthetic vitamin sources.
Eating good food, limiting unhealthy food and substances, getting exercise, and soaking up a bit of sun are critical to happiness and lasting health. So get out there and have fun – and help prevent cancer while you’re at it!