Cancer: Vitamin D Power

According to the Associated Press, a new study has revealed that Vitamin D can cut cancer risk. Timberly Ross and Jeff Donn report:
The new research strengthens some specialists' argument that vitamin D may be a powerful cancer preventative and that most people should get more of it. Experts remain split, though, on how much to take.


"The findings ... are a breakthrough of great medical and public-health importance," said Cedric Garland, a prominent vitamin D researcher at the University of California, San Diego. "No other method to prevent cancer has been identified that has such a powerful impact."

Although the study seemed the most reliable yet, it does have drawbacks. It was designed mainly to monitor how calcium and vitamin D improve bone health, and the number of cancer cases overall was small, showing up in just 50 patients.

"It's a very small study," said Dr. Edward Giovannucci, who researches nutrition and cancer at the Harvard School of Public Health. "I don't think it's the last word."

In either case, the study takes an important step in extending several decades of research that began with observations that cancer rates among similar groups of people were lower in southern latitudes than in northern ones. Scientists reasoned that had to do with more direct sunlight in southern regions.
There’s no doubt, Vitamin D is strong medicine. In a previous post Dr. Fuhrman talks about Vitamin D’s anti-cancer properties. From Vitamin D and Cancer:
Laboratory, animal, and epidemiologic evidence suggests that vitamin D may be protective against cancer. Epidemiologic studies suggest that a higher dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, and/or sunlight-induced vitamin D synthesis, correlates with lower incidence of cancer, including lymphoma, breast, prostate, and colon cancer.1 In fact, for over 60 years, researchers have observed an inverse association between sun exposure and cancer mortality,2 and those with more sun exposure had fewer cancers. The inverse relationship between higher vitamin D levels in blood and lower cancer risk in humans shows a significantly lower risk among those with the highest vitamin D intake.


In addition to its significant cancer-protective effects, recent studies demonstrate that vitamin D also can inhibit the growth of existing breast and prostate cancer cells. Likewise, it helps inhibit the progression and metastasis of a wide spectrum of cancers, suggesting therapeutic value in the treatment of those who already have cancer.3
Now, Vitamin D might be a good thing, but, you know what they say about too much of a good thing. In this post Dr. Fuhrman discusses the dangers of too much Vitamin D. Check out What are the Health Risks of Too Much Vitamin D:
Vitamin D toxicity can cause nausea, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, confusion, and weight loss. Sun exposure does not result in vitamin D toxicity. Vitamin D toxicity is only a possibility from high intakes of vitamin D from supplements. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has set the recommended upper intake level to 50g (2,000 IU) for children, adults, and pregnant and lactating women. Vitamin D is one of those vitamins where the right amount is essential—not too much and not too little.
Still curious about Vitamin D? Take a look at these posts:
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