- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Vitamin D and Cancer Connection
What is Vitamin D and What does it Do?
Vitamin D is a "prohormone"( not a hormone in it's own right it is converted into hormone 1,25-D) that is made from your cholesterol. Vitamin D receptors (VDR) have been found in just about every part of the body.Vitamin D affects your body by attaching to Vitamin D receptors (VDR) and binding to specific locations on the human genome.
There are basically two forms of Vitamin D. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). There is also another form that is synthetic which is known as D5. Vitamin D3 is considered the natural form of the vitamin.Vitamin D2 comes from plants and fungal sources while Vitamin D3 comes from animal sources and from the ultraviolet rays from the sun
Vitamin D is necessary for a lot of our body functions. It needs to be converted for it to become active. That is one of the roles of our liver and kidneys to convert it. Science is just now beginning to realize how important this vitamin is. It is not just good for prevention of rickets but also is important in immune health as well as aiding in the repair mechanisms in the body.
"While vitamin D deficiency is a recognised problem in some northern latitude countries, recent studies have shown that even in sunny countries, such as Australia, vitamin D deficiency may be more prevalent than first thought. Vitamin D is most well known for its role in bone health; however, the discovery of VDR on a wide variety of tissue types has also opened up roles for vitamin D far beyond traditional bone health. These include possible associations with autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel diseases, cancer, CVD and muscle strength."
Another study suggests that women that are vitamin D deficient have an increased risk of up to 253% for getting colon cancer. Yet another shows the correlation between vitamin d deficiency in whites and strokes.
. Many people are deficient in this vitamin ( due to dietary reasons or lack of sun) and thus this may be having an impact on their health.
Vitamin D and Cancer Prevention
Who Is Susceptible to Low Vitamin D levels
New studies suggest that 85% of people are deficient in Vitamin D. Who exactly would be susceptible?
- People that avoid the sun
- People that live in Northern latitudes are making less vitamin D
- Women, children and elderly have lower levels
- People that are indoors and wear sunscreen
- Anyone that has increased skin pigmentation
- During Winter time when exposure to sun is limited
Dr Grant , a renowned expert in Vitamin D and scientific researcher believes that 30% of all cancers could be eliminated with Vitamin D. Check out his video
Vitamin D can cause cellular disruption for the cancer tumors. This is significant finding in relation to cancer.
Sun is a Great Source of Vitamin D
When UVB rays are the most intense (between 10 am and 2 pm) is the optimal time to get the D3.
Since the rays are intense at this time, the amount of exposure to the sun to get the optimal levels would be less. When your skin begins to turn the lightest shade of pink you have received your optimal levels. This will vary from individual to individual.The darker your skin the longer you need to be in the sun. You will not get anymore Vitamin D if you stay in the sun longer than that and you could increase your chances of getting basal or squamous cancers and also age your skin from the sun. You need at least 40% of your body exposed in order to receive the benefits from the sun.
Vitamin D helps prevent Cancer is it True?
Hoe Much Vitamin D?
Some health professionals believe that the current recommendation for Vitamin D is low. I believe the best thing is to get your serum Vitamin D levels measured by your doctor. However the newer recommendations are at least 2000 iu in the form of D3. There are some that believe it should be 5000. If you get into the sun then you will be getting a good amount from that. Can you overdose from the sun's vitamin d? Your body has a built in fail safe. If you get too many rays from the sun the body has a built in 'shut down" so your body is unable to make more Vitamin D. So you cannot overdose on the suns rays but you can overdose on vitamin d supplements.
There are two Vitamin D tests. 1,25 (OH)D and 25(OH)D
25(OH)D is the better marker for Vitamin D. This is the test you want
(Holick MF. Calcium and Vitamin D. Diagnostics and Therapeutics. Clin Lab Med. 2000 Sep;20(3):569-90)
Vitamin D levels are as indicated
- < less than 50 ng/ml deficient
- 50-70 ng/ml optimal levels
- 70-100 ng/ml treating cancer
- > than 100 excessive amounts
The most important thing to note is that even though Vitamin D can be used to optimize our health, supplementation with pills can be hazardous if you take too many. Either go in the sun OR get your serum levels checked by your doctor. Knowledge is power but we need to use what we know responsibly. As a cancer survivor you can bet I am on top of this information. To be able to hold cancer off or help me survive if I get cancer is a true discovery.
We are our own best advocates.