Breast and colon cancer risk ‘virtually eradicated’ by vitamin D

By Grassroots Health

In a new study, researchers at the Moores Cancer Center and Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, UC San Diego used a complex computer prediction model to determine that intake of vitamin D3 and calcium would prevent 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer annually in the US and Canada.

The researchers model also predicted that 75% of deaths from these cancers could be prevented with adequate intake of vitamin D3 and calcium. Dr. Cedric Garland, UCSD School of Medicine, lead researcher on the study discusses the implications of this finding and the proposed actions.

Scientists’ Call to Action

Scientists are calling for a standard vitamin D intake of 2000 IU/day and the achievement of a serum level of 40-60 ng/ml. Breast cancer is a disease so directly related to vitamin D deficiency that a woman’s risk of contracting the disease can be ‘virtually eradicated’ by elevating her vitamin D status to what vitamin D scientists consider to be natural blood levels.

That’s the message vitamin D pioneer Dr. Cedric Garland delivered in Toronto last month, as part of the University of Toronto School of Medicine’s “Diagnosis and Treatment of Vitamin D Deficiency” conference – the largest gathering of vitamin D researchers in North America this year. More than 170 researchers, public health officials and health practitioners gathered at the UT Faculty club for the landmark event.

Garland’s presentation headlined a conference that reviewed many aspects of the emerging vitamin D research field – a booming discipline that has seen more than 3,000 academic papers this calendar year alone, conference organizers said. That makes vitamin D by far the most prolific topic in medicine this year, with work connecting it with risk reduction in two dozen forms of cancer, heart disease, multiple scleroses and many other disorders.

Dr. Reinhold Vieth, Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at University of Toronto, and Director of the Bone and Mineral Laboratory at Mount Sinai Hospital, organized the event in conjunction with Grassroots Health – an international vitamin D advocacy group founded by breast cancer survivor Carole Baggerly.

Baggerly implored the research group to take action and encourage Canadians to learn more about vitamin D and to raise their vitamin D levels.

An estimated 22,700 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, according to the Canadian Cancer Society’s latest figures.

As much as 97 percent of Canadians are vitamin D deficient at some point in the year, according to University of Calgary research – largely due to Canada’s northerly latitudes and weak sun exposure. Sunshine is by far the most abundant source of vitamin D – called ‘The Sunshine Vitamin’ – with salmon and fortified milk being other sources. Vitamin D supplementation helps raise levels for many as well.

Grassroots Health’s “D-action” panel – 30 of the world’s leading researchers on vitamin D and many other vitamin D supporters – recommend 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily and vitamin D blood levels of 100-150 nanomoles-per-liter as measured by a vitamin D blood test.

Vieth pointed out that natural vitamin D levels of mammals who live outdoors in sunny climates is higher than that – up to 200 nanomoles-per liter. And Garland, whose presentation was entitled “Breast Cancer as a Vitamin D Deficiency Disease” presented data showing that raising one’s vitamin D status near those levels decreased breast cancer risk more than 77 percent.

‘The Sunshine Vitamin’ was once thought of only for bone health, helping the body process calcium. But more recent work has shown that all cells in the body have “vitamin D receptors” which help control normal cell growth. Additionally, Garland presented new evidence that low vitamin D status compromises the integrity of calcium-based cellular bonding within tissues, which when eroded allow rogue cancer cells to spread more readily.

Study Invite

GrassrootsHealth has launched a worldwide public health campaign to solve the vitamin D deficiency epidemic in a year through a focus on testing and education with all individuals spreading the word.

Everyone is invited to join in this campaign! Join Daction and test two times per year during a 5 year program to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient.

$40 and a quick health survey allows everyone to join the ‘open arm’ of this study. (There are many clinics participating and their fees may vary due to services offered by the clinic.)

  • get a vitamin D blood spot test kit to be used at home (except in the state of New York)
  • have the results sent directly to them
  • take action to adjust their own levels to get to the desired ranges with whatever help is needed from their healthcare practitioners.

Click here for more information on how to participate in the study.

Posted on various pages at Grassroots Health. Also see the entire vitamin D video series by UC San Diego.

7 responses to “Breast and colon cancer risk ‘virtually eradicated’ by vitamin D

  1. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Breast and colon cancer risk ‘virtually eradicated’ by vitamin D « COTO Report

  2. Heightened awareness of breast cancer risk in the past decades has led to an increase in the number of women undergoing mammography for screening, and doing the research needed to discover things like Vitamin D. Knowledge is power and together we can make a difference! Happy Holidays!

    • thanks for your comment. There is risk with irradiating your breasts – some reports indicate that mammographies for women under age 50 will cause as many cancers as it detects.

      Self-exam and a healthy diet are much safer.

  3. Pingback: The Progressive Mind » Breast and colon cancer risk ‘virtually eradicated’ by vitamin D « COTO Report

  4. Pingback: COTO Report Tops 100,000 Visitors « COTO Report

  5. Thanks, how can I subscribe?

  6. Actually on the topic of Vitamin D I just discovered that these days, with the development in scientific research and technology, performing a vitamin D test is now possible even at home. It is not necessary to see a physician anymore to get this test performed. There are blood test spot kits available and you can take help of these kits to do it all by yourself. The finger is punctured at a spot to retrieve blood on a unique kind of paper. The result is easy to read. I bought a home test kit and found I did have a minor deficiency.

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