Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Cancer

I could have posted individual blog entries, but I think it is more important that all of the following information is kept in one convenient “archive”, if you will. The following is of vital importance to babies, pregnant women, men, children, in other words, every single person. Many of us are deficient in Vitamin D. One would think given the number of processed foods and pasteurized milk additive of Vitamin D that we’d have more than enough. But research from many leading institutions is showing just the opposite, that despite our food industry supplementing synthetic forms of Vitamin D, we are still a deficient people. And that puts us at risk for a huge range of diseases – everything from arthritis to cancer, and possibly even be yet another “cause” of Autism. The moral of this story is:

“The high rate of natural production of vitamin D3 cholecalciferol in the skin is the single most important fact every person should know about vitamin D because it has such profound implications for the natural human condition.” – NEJM

SO…..

  • lose the sun screen and sun blockers
  • go sit in the sun for the next 20 minutes

….then come back in and read the following information…….

-Sharon

Latest Vitamin D research, according to a number of recent articles like this show:

  • Women deficient in vitamin D at the time of a breast cancer diagnosis are more likely to die or see the tumour spread, a Canadian study published in the United States has shown.
  • Patients low in vitamin D were 94 per cent more likely to see their cancer metastasize and 73 per cent more likely to die from it, compared to women with normal levels of vitamin D in their blood, researchers found.
  • And many of the 512 breast cancer patients participating in the research, published in the American Society of Clinical Oncology, had inadequate vitamin D to begin with.
  • Some 37.5 per cent of the women were “deficient” in vitamin D and 38.5 per cent had “insufficient” levels of the vitamin, which is considered key to bone health.

What should you do?

Stop fearing the sun, says the Vitamin D Counsel and go outside! Many people are deficient – even more so given the fear that people have of developing skin cancer. Slathering on sunscreen or sunblocks may reduce sunburn, but it is also “protecting” people against Vitamin D – made by the skin when exposed to sun. Key points from on the site:

*Current research indicates vitamin D deficiency plays a role in causing seventeen varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, and periodontal disease.

  • If you totally avoid the sun, recent research indicates you need about 4,000 units of vitamin D a day. Which means you can’t get enough vitamin D from milk (unless you drink 40 glasses a day) or from a multivitamin (unless you take about 10 tablets a day), neither of which is recommended.
  • Most of us make about 20,000 units of vitamin D after about 20 minutes of summer sun. This is about 100 times more vitamin D than the government says you need every day.
  • The only way to be sure you have adequate levels of vitamin D in your blood is to regularly go into the sun, use a sun bed (avoiding sunburn), or have your physician administer a 25‑hydroxyvitamin D test. Optimal levels are around 50 ng/mL (125 nM/L).
  • If you don’t get vitamin D the way Mother Nature intended, from sunshine, you need to take supplemental vitamin D3 cholecalciferol. Since most of us get a lot more vitamin D from sunshine than we realize, most of us need about 2,000 units a day extra.

But Aren’t Supplements Good Enough?

Not according to additional recent research that shows you can’t drink enough Vitamin D fortified milk, or eat enough vitamin fortified processed food, or consume enough daily synthetic vitamins to make up for what good old sunshine was meant to do: create adequate levels of Vitamin D via your skin.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM):
NEJM: Vitamin D Supplementation of food hasn’t solved deficiency problems,

“Once foods were fortified with vitamin D and rickets appeared to have been conquered, many health care professionals thought the major health problems resulting from vitamin D deficiency had been resolved. However, rickets can be considered the tip of the vitamin D–deficiency iceberg. In fact, vitamin D deficiency remains common in children and adults. In utero and during childhood, vitamin D deficiency can cause growth retardation and skeletal deformities and may increase the risk of hip fracture later in life. Vitamin D deficiency in adults can precipitate or exacerbate osteopenia and osteoporosis, cause osteomalacia and muscle weakness……” and……well, I’m not a NEJM subscriber, so I am not privy to the remainder of the article, but Science Daily has done a good job recapping Holick, the key researcher’s views in this article

Widespread Vitamin D Deficiency Poses Risk in U.S.
Reuters

By Andrew Stern

Monday June 2

CHICAGO, June 2 (Reuters) – Many young children do not get enough vitamin D, an often invisible deficiency that can show up later as broken bones or a weakened immune system prone to disease, researchers said on Monday.

Two out of five U.S. children aged 8 months to 2 years who took part in a 380-patient study at Children’s Hospital Boston had less-than-optimal blood levels of vitamin D.

The main risk factors were not drinking enough fortified milk, not taking vitamins and being overweight, said the report published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

Lead researcher Catherine Gordon of Children’s Hospital Boston said the 40 percent deficiency rate “is higher than expected in a country that has vitamin D fortified milk.”

The study adds to a growing body of evidence that vitamin D, made when sunlight hits the skin and used to fortify many foods, is important for preventing chronic diseases. It is key to maintaining strong bones but has also been linked with a lower risk of cancer, artery disease and even kidney disease.

The lack of symptoms, at least initially, led Gordon to call it a “silent disease.”

“What was striking to us was how many infants were vitamin D deficient but they were asymptomatic. The silence of what we saw worries me more,” she said in a telephone interview.

The alternative to a blood test to discover a deficiency is to routinely give vitamins that can be consumed easily in the form of liquid drops, she said.

Only three children in the study showed signs of the soft and weakened bones characteristic of rickets, a dangerous condition. Another 13 had symptoms of demineralization, where lack of vitamin D causes minerals to leach out of the bones.

Canadian researchers recently reported that breast cancer patients with lower levels of vitamin D were far more likely to die or have their cancer spread than women with normal levels.

Children with vitamin D deficiency sometimes have bowed legs or easily fractured bones. They can also appear tired, or shaky, or suffer seizures in severe cases.

Overweight children were found to be prone to vitamin D deficiency, perhaps because the vitamin dissolves into fat, Gordon said. Diabetes is one disease linked to the deficiency.

Her findings complemented previous research she did on teenagers in 2004 that found a similar percentage with the deficiency. In that case, soda consumption and exposure to sunshine was a factor, and could be reversed during summer.

But sun exposure did not have an influence on younger children’s risk, perhaps because they were often covered against exposure to the sun’s rays.

Also at risk for a vitamin D deficiency were breast-fed infants, because “breast milk is the perfect food except that it lacks vitamin D,” Gordon said.

However the study found 6 percent of the children fed fortified formula also were vitamin D deficient. The researchers said this raised questions about whether the fortification was sufficient. (Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Maggie Fox and Chris Wilson)

Sources:

NINMSN Vitamin D Deficiency

Boston Globe Articles:
Are babies hurt by Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency Tied to a Host of Dangers

Boston University:
Vitamin D Deficiency, Common and Problematic

NEJM: Vitamin D Supplementation of food hasn’t solved deficiency problems

Science Daily:“Vitamin D Deficiency – Common and Problematic Yet Preventable”:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070719011417.htm


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