Vitamin D: The Wonder Vitamin

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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.


An Uncommon, Early-Warning Sign of Breast Cancer

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In the fight against breast cancer, early detection is crucial. When diagnosed in the early stages, breast cancer patients have a significantly higher chance of survival and recovery than those whose cancer goes undetected for long periods of time.

The tricky part about catching breast cancer early are the wide variety of ways it can present itself.

Early Breast Cancer Signs

According to the American Cancer Society, there are several other symptoms or changes that can happen to your breasts that may be a sign of cancer besides just lumps. These early warning signs are:

  • Swelling of part or all of the breast
  • Skin irritation or dimpling
  • Nipple retraction (turning inwards)
  • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)

Steps you can take to reduce your risk of Breast Cancer

While early detection is extremely important, breast cancer prevention is key! There are a number of measures you can take throughout your life to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, including:

  • Limiting alcohol
  • Avoid smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Breast feed your children as long as possible
  • Limit your dose and duration of hormone therapy (birth control, for menopause symptoms)
  • Avoid exposure to radiation and environmental pollution
  • Eat a healthy diet: plenty of vegetables, healthy fats, lean hormone-free proteins, and whole-food sources of carbohydrates. Limit processed foods as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

If caught early, your chances of beating breast cancer are high. It is of critical importance that every woman does regular self-evaluations of her breasts to ensure that there are no changes, no matter how old you are. If you notice anything that is different than usual, consult your doctor; it is better to be safe than sorry.

Share this article with all the women in your life so that they, too, will be aware of this subtle warning sign of breast cancer.

To read the full article click here.


Breast Reconstruction: Get the Facts Before You Decide

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If you have had a mastectomy for breast cancer or are considering one, you may also be considering what to do afterwards.  As you explore your options, you owe it to yourself to learn the facts about breast reconstruction surgery as well. This is a very personal decision so take your time in weighing the cost, both emotional and physical. Always make an informed decision when it comes to your body and health.

What Does Reconstructive Surgery with Mastectomy Entail?

A mastectomy is a surgery that removes all tissue from the breast. In conventional medicine, it is done to prevent cancer spread (although this is somewhat of a misnomer since mastectomy does not remove breast cancer stem cells).

Never the less, more women are opting to get mastectomy each year. And in total, over 300,000 American women annually get breast augmentation, either because of mastectomy or for strictly cosmetic reasons.

Reconstructive surgery after mastectomy can be done either at the time of mastectomy (called an “immediate” reconstructive surgery) or “delayed,” which means the surgery will occur at a later date. The materials used to recreate the breast vary and include silicon, saline or the person’s own tissue.

While reconstruction may help a woman feel more like “herself” after Breast Cancer, there are also quite a few risks associated with it, especially concerning the substances used.

Complications with Silicone Implants

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Remember that ANY surgery is an invasive procedure that could increase complications from infection.

In 1992, the United States Food and Drug administration announced a moratorium on silicon implants because of their possible link to rheumatic disease and Breast Cancer. However, as of 2013, certain kinds of silicone implants have been re-approved for use in the United States.

Part of why silicone implants are so harmful is because they don’t just contain silicon. In fact, there are dozens of other chemical substances that may be found in some gels, including formaldehyde and acetone. Silicon-caused nervous system disorders, especially neuropathy on the side where the implant is located, can occur when there is a rupture of the implant or leakage of the material.  Silicon leakage can lead to inflammation, fibrosis, and “foreign body reaction,” according to a 2007 study published in Hong Kong Medical Journal. Leakage is so common that many experts recommend either removing or replacing the implant every 8 to 10 years.

Silicone can also be carcinogenic. According to the research, silicon leakage can increase your riskof other kinds of cancer, including lung, colon and pancreatic.

“It’s a neurotoxin,” said  Dr. Susan Kolb M.D., F.A.C.S., A.B.I.H.M., an Atlanta-based holistic plastic surgeon and author of the book The Naked Truth About Breast Implants: From Harm to Healing, in arecent interview on Mercola.com.  Kolb knows firsthand about the dangers of silicone implants.  She was once diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome as a result of silicone implant leakage. “Many of the chemicals that Dow Corning [maker of silicone implants] identified in the trials … are carcinogens, and many are neurotoxins. Oddly enough, the plastic surgeons don’t know the list of chemicals that are actually in the gel.”

All is not lost if you are experiencing the negative side effects of silicone implants. “Explantation surgery” can remove implants. In addition, immune system and detox protocols have a good track record for healing side effects once they are removed.

Complications with Saline Implants

Sadly, there are virtually no studies that have critically looked at complications associated with saline implants. According to many experts as well as anecdotal evidence, the problem with saline is not so much with the substance, but what could happen if the valve that is used to fill the implant is damaged through trauma to the chest, like in a car accident or other injury.

If valve malfunction occurs, certain bacteria and mold fungus can get into the implant. There, foreign substances can create biotoxins that can become neurotoxic and even carcinogenic.  Symptoms can be similar to those who contract “sick building syndrome” caused by water-damaged buildings.

Another complication of both saline and silicone implants is called “capsular contracture.” This occurs when scar tissue forms around an implant and pulls at it. According to studies conducted at theUniversity of Ontario and others, capsular contracture happens in silicone implants roughly twice as much as it does in saline implants.

Complications with Autologous or “Flap” Reconstruction

Using your own tissue—usually from the belly, buttocks, and/or upper thighs—to reconstruct a breast is called autologous or “flap” reconstruction. Many individuals prefer this kind of reconstruction because the tissue feels most like a regular breast and, according to conventional medicine, it supposedly “lasts a lifetime.”

Complications can arise with flap reconstruction as well, however. According to Cancer Research UK, complications of autologous reconstructive surgery include infection, flap failure, fluid under the surgery wound, hardening, leakage, unequal breasts if weight changes, and abdominal hernia.

Some Final Thoughts

Now that you know some of the risks of breast reconstructive surgery, you can make your own decision about how you want to go forward. Remember that any kind of surgery  comes with its own cancer metastasis risks.  Most women we have coached who have had reconstructive surgery regret going down that road in the long run. I believe that the the best course is always the most natural one, and that means staying away from any kind of invasive procedure whenever possible.

And, if you are a reconstructive surgery candidate, don’t be afraid to consider no reconstruction.  I encourage you to read this wonderful article , “Going Flat: Choosing No Reconstruction” posted on BreastCancer.org’s website.  It encourages you to learn to be comfortable with your body if you choose no reconstruction. “I don’t care what they take from you as long as I can see your face,” is a common sentiment from partners of Breast Cancer Conquerors.

Written by Dr. Veronique Desaulniers. To see the original article, click here.