Health & Wellness

Vit D  Fights Cancer

Sun Screen?
Cancer Society’s Anti-Sun Ads are Deceptive
There is no longer significant doubt that moderate sun exposure – short of suffering frequent, substantial sunburns –actually reduces cancer risk overall.
  Read More.
Vit D Test Valid?
Are Your Vitamin D Test Results Valid?It is clear that there are irregularities in the values obtained from the different testing methods. Although results from any of the three commonly used assays may be analytically accurate, they might not be clinically accurate, which is, ultimately, what matters. Read More.
Vitamin D Council
The high rate of natural production of vitamin D3 cholecalciferol in the skin is the single most important fact every person should know about vitamin D—a fact that has profound implications for the natural human condition. Read More.

Vit D  Fights Cancer
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Vitamin D Can Prevent Cancer

According to researchers at the Moore's Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) increased levels of Vitamin D3 could prevent 600,00 cases of breast and colorectal cancers each year. 150,000 in the US alone. This applies especially to countries north of the equator.

Low levels of Vitamin D also contribute to many other human health conditions. It is a necessary Vitamin.

"A wealth of evidence suggests that rickets is the tip of a Vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency iceberg. A lack of Vitamin D can also trigger infections (influenza and tuberculosis), autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease), cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Practitioners of conventional medicine (i.e., most MDs) are just beginning to appreciate the true impact of Vitamin D deficiency. In 1990, medical journals published less than 20 reviews and editorials on Vitamin D. Last year they published more than 300 reviews and editorials on this Vitamin/hormone. This year, on July 19, 2007, even the New England Journal of Medicine, the bellwether of pharmaceutically-oriented conventional medicine in the U.S., published a review on Vitamin D that addresses its role in autoimmune diseases, infections, cardiovascular disease, and cancer (New England Medical Journal 2007;357:266–281)." - Donald Miller, cardiac surgeon and Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The human body can create Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. In fact it sounds like lack of Vitamin D is worse than any excess exposure to the sun.

Vitamin D in a New Light
by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD

There are thirteen Vitamins humans need for growth and development and to maintain good health. The human body cannot make these essential bio-molecules. They must be supplied in the diet or by bacteria in the intestine, except for Vitamin D. Skin makes Vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the sun. A light-skinned person will synthesize 20,000 IU (international units) of Vitamin D in 20 minutes sunbathing on a Caribbean beach.

A growing body of evidence indicates that that Vitamin D can prevent a whole host of cancers – colon, breast, lung, pancreatic, ovarian, and prostate cancer among them. Colon cancer rates are 4 to 6 times higher in North America and Europe, where solar radiation is less intense, particularly during the winter months, compared to the incidence of colon cancer near the equator. People with low blood levels of Vitamin D and those who live at higher latitudes are at increased risk for acquiring various kinds of cancer. Many epidemiological, cohort, and case control studies prove, at least on a more likely than not basis, that Vitamin D supplements and adequate exposure to sunlight play an important role in cancer prevention (Am J Public Health 2006;96:252–261).

A Creighton University study has shown that women over the age of 55 who took a 1,100 IU/day Vitamin D supplement, with calcium, and were followed for 4 years had a highly statistically significant (P <0.005) 75% reduction in breast cancer (diagnosed after the first 12 months) compared with women who took a placebo (Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:1568–1591).

New research suggests that influenza is also a disease triggered by Vitamin D deficiency. Influenza virus exists in the population year-round, but influenza epidemics are seasonal and occur only in the winter (in northern latitudes), when Vitamin D blood levels are at their lowest.

Our species evolved in equatorial Africa where the sun, shining directly overhead, supplies its inhabitants with year-round ultraviolet B photons for making Vitamin D. Our African ancestors absorbed much higher doses of Vitamin D living exposed in that environment compared to the amount most humans obtain today. A single mutation that occurred around 50,000 years ago is responsible for the appearance of white skin in humans. It turns out that a difference in one rung, or base pair, in the 3 billion-rung DNA ladder that constitutes the human genome determines the color of one’s skin (Science 2005;310:1782–1786). White skin, with less melanin, synthesizes Vitamin D in sunlight six times faster than dark skin. People possessing this mutation were able to migrate to higher latitudes, populate Europe, Asia, and North America, and be able to make enough Vitamin D to survive.

The majority of the world’s population now lives above latitude 35° N and is unable to synthesize Vitamin D from sunlight for a period of time in winter owing to the angle of the sun. At a large solar zenith angle, ozone in the upper atmosphere will completely block UVB radiation. In Seattle (47° N) and London (52° N), from October to April UVB photons are blocked by the atmosphere so one’s skin cannot make Vitamin D. (The half-life of circulating Vitamin D is approximately one month.) Making matters worse, even when UVB radiation is available in sunlight, health authorities, led by the American Academy of Dermatology, warn people to shield themselves from the sun to avoid getting skin cancer.

Except for oily fish like (wild-only) salmon, mackerel, and sardines and cod liver oil – and also sun-dried mushrooms – very little Vitamin D is naturally present in our food. Milk, orange juice, butter, and breakfast cereal are fortified with Vitamin D, but with only 100 IU per serving. A person would have to drink 200 8-oz. glasses of milk to obtain as much Vitamin D as skin makes fully exposed to the noonday sun.

The U.S. Food and Nutrition Board in the Institute of Medicine puts the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin D at 200 IU for children and adults less than 50 years old, 400 IU for adults age 50–70, and 800 IU for adults over the age of 70. Most multivitamin preparations contain 400 IU of Vitamin D. These guidelines are directed towards maintaining bone health and are sufficient to prevent rickets – but not cancer, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, or influenza. Without evidence to support it, the board arbitrarily set the safe upper limit for Vitamin D consumption at 2,000 IU/day.

A majority of Americans have insufficient or deficient Vitamin D blood levels. In veterans undergoing heart surgery at the Seattle VA hospital, I found that 78% had a low Vitamin D level: 12% were insufficient; 56%, deficient; and 10% were severely deficient.

There are two kinds of Vitamin D supplements: Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), the kind our skin makes, and Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), a synthetic variant made by irradiating plants. Vitamin D2 is only 10–30% as effective in raising 25-hydroxyVitamin D blood levels compared to Vitamin D3, leading the authors of a recent study conclude, "Vitamin D2 should not be regarded as a nutrient suitable for supplementation or fortification" (Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84:694–697).

Concerns about Vitamin D toxicity are overblown, along with those about sun exposure. As one researcher in the field puts it, "Worrying about Vitamin D toxicity is like worrying about drowning when you’re dying of thirst." A person must consume 50,000 IU a day for several months before hypercalcemia (an elevated calcium level in the blood, which is the initial manifestation of Vitamin D toxicity) might occur. Vitamin D in a physiologic dose (5,000 IU/day) prevents the build up of calcium in blood vessels. (Circulation 1997;96:1755–1760). If one takes 10,000 IU of Vitamin D a day and spends a lot of time in the sun, it would be prudent to check Vitamin D blood level to ensure that it does not exceed 100 ng/ml.

Sensible sun exposure should be encouraged, not maligned. If one avoids sunburn, the sun’s health-giving benefits far outweigh its detrimental effects. A large body of evidence indicates that sunlight does not cause the most lethal form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma. A U.S. Navy study found that melanoma occurred more frequently in sailors who worked indoors all the time. Those who worked outdoors had the lowest incidence of melanoma. Also, most melanomas appear on parts of the body that are seldom exposed to sunlight (Arch Environ Health 1990;45:261–267). Sun exposure is associated with increased survival from melanoma (J Natl Cancer Inst 2005;97:195–199). Another study showed that people who had longer lifetime exposure to the sun without burning were less likely to get melanomas than those with less exposure (J Invest Dermatol 2003;120:1087–1093.)

The rise in skin cancers over the last 25 years parallels the rise in use of sunscreen lotions, which block Vitamin D-producing UVB radiation but not cancer-causing ultraviolet A radiation (UVA). (Newer sunscreen lotions also block out UVA.)

The U.S. government and its citizens currently spend $2 trillion on "health care," i.e., sickness care, each year. The cost of taking a 5,000 IU supplement of Vitamin D every day for a year is $22.00. The cost for 300 million Americans taking this supplement would be $6.6 billion dollars. The number and variety of diseases that Vitamin D at this dose could prevent, starting with a 50 percent reduction in cancer, is mind-boggling. If everyone took 5,000 IU/day of Vitamin D, the U.S. "health care" industry would shrink. It would no longer account for 16 percent of the gross domestic product.

Source of information: Donald Miller is a cardiac surgeon and Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is a member of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness and writes articles on a variety of subjects for His web site is

Article Link to actual article: view link
Other Links: September 10, 2007
Archives of Internal Medicine September 10, 2007;167:1730-1737
Lack of Sunshine Causes One Million Deaths a Year
Which Vitamin Will Improve Your Life Expectancy the Most?
Vitamin D Council - Dr. John Cannell
Cancer Society's Anti‑Sun Ads Decried as Deceptive


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