Posted by: cg00n | October 28, 2009

Vitamin D

I’d heard that vitamin D is supposed to be a cancer preventative but I had no idea just how effective it might prove to be.  Mr. DH of BC emailed me recently extolling the virtues thereof.  Being the skeptic that I am  I went searching for some more information.  A recent study from UCSD suggest that a relatively minor vitamin D deficiency can allow cancer to metastasize much more readily than it might otherwise.  There are a lot of weasel words in that statement but the research is still quite preliminary and I don’t want to give the impression that this is some kind of cure all.  Vitamin D is produced naturally by exposing the skin to sunlight but even if one ignores the purported skin cancer risks it is hard to produce enough for those of us living in higher latitudes and spending most of our time indoors.  I’ve been taking 1000IU tablets daily for some time which may be helping me.  The study recommends double that and the material sent by Mr. DH (for which I have no formal reference but which is Copyright © 2005, Advanced Orthomolecular Research) suggests rather more:

The analysis of these 14 studies revealed that individuals whose oral vitamin D intake matched or exceeded 1,000 IU daily had a 50% lower incidence of colorectal cancer than those whose oral vitamin D intake was lower. Even this amount is considered conservative by an increasing number of scientists, many of whom suggest that daily doses as high as 10,000 IU can be justified.

The Canadian Cancer Society is more cautious due to the possibly toxic effects of too much vitamin D but they still think it is a good plan.

In addition to the curative properties of vitamin D the research reveals that it suppresses a probable mechanism for cancer metastasis which ought to work at any stage of the cancer’s progression.  This is not just another anti-oxidant.  It all sounds very interesting and plausible.  A television interview with Cedric Garland, Dr. (Public Health) covers the high points.

Let me know what you think.  Is this snake oil or are we onto something here?

In more prosaic news I met Dr. M, the plastic surgeon, yesterday who examined the damaged goods and indicated that the healing was proceeding nicely.  He could find no new evidence of melanoma which suits me just fine.  My mood has been a little depressed lately but P and I took a lovely mini-vacation this last weekend.  Tonight we’re off to meditate.  It all helps.

Update:

This just in:  the Globe & Mail reports that doctors are starting to include Vitamin D in cancer treatment regimes.  It sounds as though mainstream medicine is buying into this story.  Probably a good sign.

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Responses

  1. I think that there is a lot of empirical support for the use of Vit D.

    My mother died of colorectal cancer, so I take 1000 mg daily. Vit D is helpful for calcium absorption, too.

  2. Apparently it is possible to make your required daily dosage of Vit. D in just 15 minutes outside. That assumes you have the right balance of other vits & minerals to build the D.

    I’m also told you have to be buck naked. 😛

    I’ve been taking extra D for over a year now. Too cold to get my D the natural way.

    I have this theory that we actually evolved to make use of the kind of vits. and minerals that come with 5000+ calories a day of mostly raw veggies, roots, and whatever else we could find or catch. Even though we no longer need those kinds of calories, I suspect we *still* need those levels of vitamins.

  3. There is evidence of Vitamin D helping to reduce the possibility of developing Multiple Sclerosis, and my neurologist recommends it for patients who already have MS (like me). Even it if can’t help, it’s cheap, and it certainly can’t hurt. He did caution that if I increased my daily dosage to 4,000IU, I would need to go back for regular tests. I’m sticking with 2,000IU per day.

  4. Very interesting. I suspect many Canadians are low on many of the vitamins. We fortify our milk with Vitamin D and our salt with Idoine. Folic Acid reduces your risk of cardiac disease, Alzheimers, and hearing loss not to mention reducing the risk of neurotube defects in pregnancy.

    I will keep Vit D supplements in mind.

  5. We’ve started taking it too, at least for the duration of the flu panic season. Our doctor said he is taking 10000 IU (250 micrograms). I’m not sure I’m going to be that ambitious! However, Wikipedia seems to indicate that sunlight can easily give you that much and no-one has ever OD’d on vitamin D from sunlight.

    Here is a couple of the URLs: http://www.grassrootshealth.net/, http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/

  6. The word must be getting out. I notice that vitamin D is starting to disappear from store shelves in Calgary.


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