Saturday, 9 June 2007

Reduce your cancer risk by 77%

I'd like to draw attention to some new research that shows how cancer incidence can be reduced by adequate Vitamin D3 intake.

There is a layman's guide to the research at this link

Vitamin D And Calcium Cuts Cancer Risk In Older Women, New Study Says

The results showed that women in the Calcium plus Vit D group had a 60 per cent drop in their cancer risk over the four years compared to the women in the placebo group.In order to eliminate the possibility that some women may have started the trial with undiagnosed cancers, the researchers re-analysed the results leaving out the first year's figures. This showed an even bigger 77 per cent reduction in cancer risk in the Calcium plus Vit D group compared with the placebo group.and you can find an abstract of the actual research paper at this linkVitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trialBackground: Numerous observational studies have found supplemental calcium and vitamin D to be associated with reduced risk of common cancers. However, interventional studies to test this effect are lacking. Objective: The purpose of this analysis was to determine the efficacy of calcium alone and calcium plus vitamin D in reducing incident cancer risk of all types. Design: This was a 4-y, population-based, double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial. The primary outcome was fracture incidence, and the principal secondary outcome was cancer incidence. The subjects were 1179 community-dwelling women randomly selected from the population of healthy postmenopausal women aged >55 y in a 9-county rural area of Nebraska centered at latitude 41.4°N. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive 1400–1500 mg supplemental calcium/d alone (Ca-only), supplemental calcium plus 1100 IU vitamin D3/d (Ca + D), or placebo. Results: When analyzed by intention to treat, cancer incidence was lower in the Ca + D women than in the placebo control subjects (P < 0.03). With the use of logistic regression, the unadjusted relative risks (RR) of incident cancer in the Ca + D and Ca-only groups were 0.402 (P = 0.01) and 0.532 (P = 0.06), respectively. When analysis was confined to cancers diagnosed after the first 12 mo, RR for the Ca + D group fell to 0.232 (CI: 0.09, 0.60; P < 0.005) but did not change significantly for the Ca-only group. In multiple logistic regression models, both treatment and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were significant, independent predictors of cancer risk. Conclusions: Improving calcium and vitamin D nutritional status substantially reduces all-cancer risk in postmenopausal women.

Being able to reduce the incidence of all cancers, including skin cancer, by at least 60% and over time by 77%, simply by increasing calcium/vitamin D3 intake is very exciting. But there are a few points UK readers need to understand to obtain the same reduction in Cancer Incidence.
Firstly you need to know the research was done in Omaha USA. That is latitude 42 about the same as Rome, the sun is stronger and there are more days when UVB, and Vitamin D3, is available. From October to March very little if any UVB reaches UK. So a higher level of supplements would be needed particularly in the Winter.

The USA and Canada fortify milk, each glass contains 100iu. Europe and the UK do not fortify milk so our milk contains none. We have to add in this amount to match the USA research.
We should also take into account the fact that most of the UK population have insufficient vitamin d status. Hypovitaminosis D in British adults at age 45 yr shows that in Winter 90% of us have levels below 75nmol/L. The level at which there is sufficient Vit D3 to enable unrestricted access of it's metabolic product to all 51 tissues known to use it is 100nmol/L .
Bodies use between 3000-5000iu daily and this is an absolutely safe amount to take in Winter (October to March) as observable adverse events have only been recorded after more than10,000iu has been taken daily for more than a year.

From April to September sun exposure is free and the safest way to obtain Vitamin D3. Not only does your skin manufacture Vitamin D3 it also processes it to the next stage and this metabolic product activates the immune system by generating antimicrobial peptides that fight infection right where it is needed.

Around 310 UK people die each day as a result of those cancers that proliferate in vitamin D insufficient bodies. 77% of this represent about 240 people whose lives may not have ended if they had spent 15p a week on sufficient Vitamin D3 to keep their status optimum.
Of course not everyone will be helped but for the sake of a mere 15p is it worth the risk?


mikepenn said...

Hi there, thanks for the comment on FM, IS Vitamin D3 available by prescription or can I get it over the counter? I take vitamins daily, but have never heard of Vitamin D3... thanks for sharing this!!

jasmine ann said...

Very interesting information. Thank you for visiting my blog as well. Hope to read more from you.

Willow said...

It is becoming more and more apparent that vitamin D supplementation would benefit people who do not get out in the sun much.

I broke my right arm very badly indeed last year and I am sure that it would have been much less serious if I had been having more vitamin D. - Probably it would not have broken at all, because I didn't fall far.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Willow said...

Sorry - I didn't properly explain why my broken arm would have been less serious if I'd not been short of vitamin D. - It's because vitamin D is needed in order to utilise calcium properly, and that means that without enough vitamin D and calcium the bones get weaker and more likely to fracture.

Indeed there are many benefits to getting plenty of vitamin D. - I'm taking vitamin D supplements now.

Researchers Say Vitamin D Might Prevent Disorders, Including Multiple Sclerosis

Newark, NJ (AHN) - Researchers say that people who get plenty of the sunshine Vitamin D may end up preventing certain diseases. Having more of the vitamin that serves as the principal regulator of calcium in the body, may also protect against specific autoimmune disorders including multiple sclerosis (MS) according to Sylvia Christakos, PhD, of the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School. In addition, having more Vitamin D in the body might prevent the production of malignant cells, such as breast and prostate cancer in their bodies, Christakos found.
Read article at

The following paper by Oliver Gillie is also very well worth reading:

Its worth considering upping your intake of vitamin D whether by sunshine, by what you eat or by taking supplements. There are clearly many groups of people and individuals who are not getting enough vitamin D and this is a major causative factor in many diseases and disabilities. - Falls and fractures in old age, for instance, would be far fewer if people took more vitamin D and calcium.

Also it's beneficial to reduce your salt intake.

Nigel Kinbrum B.Sc.(Hons) Eng said...

I get my 5,000iu Vitamin D3 caps from Bio-tech Pharmacal Inc.

Check out my Blog, while you're at it.

Rosso said...

Hello Ted,

I'd like to go ahead and have my Vitamin D levels tested. I've been to the link you provided, namely:

It seems to be an American based? Do you know of anywhere in England? Also how exactly is the test conducted? Do I send blood off? I don't want to be DIYing it and my GP has declined to test me for it.

Oh and how are your Omega 3s? Check out my blog if you get a moment ta.

Anna said...

Hi Ted,

Thanks very much for your comments on Vit D3 on the Heart Scan blog, and especially the link to the You Tube video. I watched the one you linked to, as well as others produced by UCSD and . I've been reading about Vit D for several years now and find it is quite a significant health factor.

I live in the San Diego region, and just about everyone I know who tests for Vit D status is deficient or nearly deficient unless they are supplementing with quite high amounts. Of course, the initial perception is that in "sunny" SD, Vit D deficency is all but impossible. That's what our pediatrician said ten years ago when I asked about Vit D while breastfeeding.

BTW, we have a UK connection. My husband moved to England when he was 4 and grew up in Cambridge. He moved to the US in his late 20s, as a post-doc fellow, and after moving back and forth a few times, decided to stay. His mother and one sister still live in England, so we visit as frequently as we can. I love the double cream and cheddar in Britain!