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Oct 11, 2011

Vitamin D Prevents Many Different Cancers

Are you getting enough Vitamin D from sun exposure?  Many of my patients are landscapers, ski instructors’ and construction workers.  These are individuals who get hours of sun exposure a day.  Yet, when we check their vitamin D levels they are low.  So why is vitamin D important?  Many studies are showing that vitamin D can prevent breast cancer, colon cancer, asthma, flu and even osteoporosis.  Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with other diseases such as rickets, osteomalacia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, infectious disease, hypertension and even heart disease.
In fact, it's a global problem, whether you're in Brazil, Australia, Mexico or United States we are all at risk of vitamin D deficiency.  Vitamin D deficiency is probably one of the most common medical problems, worldwide. Fifty eight percent of the women today with osteoporosis are deficient in vitamin D.
Studies also show that patients who are obese tend to be low in vitamin D.  The researchers examined the relationship between serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D and BMI in 740 cancer patients presenting at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America between January and June 2008. The study showed the heavier the person the greater risk for cancer and the greater risk for vitamin D deficiency. 
Another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that vitamin D deficiency was found to be prevalent among cancer patients regardless of nutritional status, suggesting that screening for vitamin D deficiency and vitamin D repletion should be considered for all cancer patients. 
A study in the Journal of Oncology 2009 stated that low vitamin D levels were associated with poor outcomes in patients with breast cancer.  A Canadian study on vitamin D and breast cancer risk was published recently stating that vitamin D is safe and important strategy in lowering breast cancer risk. The study included about 6,500 women between the ages of 25 and 74. Approximately half the women were diagnosed with breast cancer and half were not. According to the study results, a vitamin D supplement intake greater than 400 IU/day compared with no vitamin D supplement intake, reduces the risk of breast cancer by about 25%. Other studies demonstrating that raising one's serum level of vitamin D can lower the risk of breast cancer and breast cancer recurrence.

Published in the January 30 Article in Press issue of the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the researchers examined 2 previous studies — the Harvard Nurses Health Study and the St. George's Hospital Study. They found that patients with the highest blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D had the lowest risk for breast cancer.  The investigators found that patients with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D of approximately 52 ng/mL had a 50% lower risk for breast cancer than those with serum measuring less than 13 ng/mL.
A study in the British Medical Journal showed that high vitamin D levels are linked to a forty percent reduction in colon cancer.  A meta-analysis found that raising the serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 34 ng/mL would reduce the incidence rates of colorectal cancer by half.  There may be a two-thirds reduction in incidence of colorectal cancer  with serum levels of 46 ng/mL."
Another study showed that that you have a 50% less risk of having your first myocardial infarction if you are vitamin-D sufficient. Heart disease is the number one killer in men and woman today.  We may be able to cut that risk by simply getting patients vitamin D levels checked. 
And why should you get your vitamin D levels checked? Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin therefore it stays in your blood stream longer so you do not want to take too much because it can be toxic.  Therefore it is best to get your vitamin D levels check to be at the optimal range to prevent breast cancer, colon cancer, heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis etc.  This is an inexpensive way to prevent many health problems in the future.