Can Vitamin D Reduce Breast Cancer by 77 Percent?
While more research is always welcome, Carole Baggerly, Director and Founder of GrassrootsHealth, is convinced that vitamin D can have a very real impact on cancer rates.
“[A] randomized trial… published in 2007 by Joan Lappe out of Creighton University… had a group of about 1,100 post-menopausal women who started out with no cancer (plus control group)… One group got [oral] vitamin D [and calcium] and the other got a placebo. At the end of four years, there was a 77 percent difference in cancer incidence between those that had the vitamin D and calcium versus the placebo. So something is working,” she says.
Her conviction is not surprising when you consider that theories linking vitamin D to certain cancers 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 epidemiologist Cedric Garland, DrPH, professor of family and preventive medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Here are just a few highlights into some of the most noteworthy findings:
- Some 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancers could be prevented each year if vitamin D levels among populations worldwide were increased, according to previous research by Dr. Garland and colleagues. And that’s just counting the death toll for two types of cancer.
- Optimizing your vitamin D levels could help you to prevent at least 16 different types of cancer including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate, and skin cancers.
- A large-scale, randomized, placebo-controlled study on vitamin D and cancer showed that vitamin D can cut overall cancer risk by as much as 60 percent. This was such groundbreaking news that the Canadian Cancer Society has actually begun endorsing the vitamin as a cancer-prevention therapy.
- Light-skinned women who had high amounts of long-term sun exposure had half the risk of developing advanced breast cancer (cancer that spreads beyond your breast) as women with lower amounts of regular sun exposure, according to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
- A study by Dr. William Grant, Ph.D., internationally recognized research scientist and vitamin D expert, found that about 30 percent of cancer deaths — which amounts to 2 million worldwide and 200,000 in the United States — could be prevented each year with higher levels of vitamin D.
Sun Exposure is the BEST Way to Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels
In a recent interview, Dr. Stephanie Seneff brought the importance of getting your vitamin D from sun exposure to a whole new level. I’ve consistently recommended getting your vitamin D from regular sun exposure whenever possible, and Dr. Seneff’s review of how vitamin D—specifically from sun exposure—is intricately tied to healthy cholesterol and sulfur levels, makes this recommendation all the more important.
However, when you expose your skin to sunshine, your skin synthesizes vitamin D3 sulfate. This form of vitamin D is water soluble, unlike oral vitamin D3 supplements, which is unsulfated. The water soluble form can travel freely in your blood stream, whereas the unsulfated form needs LDL (the so-called “bad” cholesterol) as a vehicle of transport. Her suspicion is that the oral non-sulfated form of vitamin D may not provide all of the same benefits as the vitamin D created in your skin from sun exposure, because it cannot be converted to vitamin D sulfate.
I believe this is a very compelling reason to really make a concerted effort to get ALL your vitamin D requirements from exposure to sunshine, or by using a safe tanning bed (one with electronic ballasts rather than magnetic ballasts, to avoid unnecessary exposure to EMF fields). Safe tanning beds also have less of the dangerous UVA than sunlight, while unsafe ones have more UVA than sunlight. If neither of these are feasible options, then you should take an oral vitamin D3 supplement.
Carole agrees that sun exposure is ideal as it may also provide other health benefits that we simply don’t fully understand yet. Lack of sun exposure is also the very root of the problem. Vitamin D deficiency is, after all, a fairly recent health concern, historically speaking.
“I think it is obvious that the reason we have this deficiency is because we have become an industrialized nation,” she says. “… What we’ve done is we’ve come inside. We cover up. Even in San Diego where I live, when they measured my level it was 18 ng/ml.
When we did a scientific test of what it’s going to take to get enough sun in San Diego… at my age – age is a factor in how much you absorb – we came to a test conclusion that it was going take 15 to 20 minutes a day in the prime time of UV, between 10 am and 2 pm, each and every day… with 40 percent of my body exposed. … I encourage people to take advantage of the sun. The only message I have about the sun is: don’t burn. That’s it.”
If You’re Taking an Oral Vitamin D Supplement, How Much Do You Need?
GrassrootsHealth has greatly contributed to the current knowledge on vitamin D through what’s called the D* Action Study.
“We just published our very first paper,” Carole says. “We have about 10 people in this study now that are taking 50,000 IU a day and they’re not reaching a potential toxicity level of 200 ng/ml. It should be noted, however, that this is not a recommended intake level. The study reported data on about over 3,500 people.
… One very significant thing shown by this research was that even with taking the supplement, the curve for the increase in the vitamin D level is not linear. It is curvilinear and it flattens, which is why it’s even hard to get toxic with a supplement.”
Based on this research, it now appears as though most adults need about 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D a day in order to get their serum levels above 40 ng/ml. Not only is this significantly higher than previously recommended, but this also means that even if you do not regularly monitor your vitamin D levels, your risk of overdosing is going to be fairly slim, even if you take as much as 8,000 IU’s a day. This is the type of vital information that is so sorely needed, and GrassrootsHealth is really serving an unprecedented service to all of mankind for facilitating this much needed research.
To read the full article, or watch Dr. Mercola’s interview with Carole Baggerly, click here.