Dr D Arikian
VITAMIN D and CANCER
A study has identified a possible link between a variety of cancers and low levels of vitamin D. Data suggests that three-fourths of cancer patients suffer from vitamin D deficiency, and that the lowest levels are found in those with advanced cancers.
Blood samples were collected from 160 male and female cancer patients, and their levels of vitamin D were measured. It was found 42% suffered from vitamin D insufficiency (defined as levels between 20 and 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood), while 32% had vitamin D deficiency (with levels less than 20 ng/mL).
The average level of vitamin D was about 24 ng/mL, and those who lay below this level were almost three times more likely to have stage III cancer than those with higher vitamin D levels.
Previous research has shown vitamin D has anti-tumour properties, in that it regulates genes involved in the multiplication and spread of cancer cells.
In an eight-year prospective study of 25,000 subjects, colon cancer was reduced by 80 percent in those with vitamin D levels above 33 ng/ml.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is present in a variety of forms but has recently been recognized as playing a critical role in reproduction. It is essential in the production of sex hormones in the body. It is thought that a deficiency of Vitamin D may lead among other things to ovulation disorders.
It has been demonstrated that Vitamin D deficient rats had a 75% reduced fertility and a 50% smaller litter size that was corrected with Vitamin D treatment. In addition, sperm motility in males was reduced in the presence of a Vitamin D deficiency. A deficiency of Vitamin D can also have a detrimental effect on pregnancy rates after IVF,possibly through an effect on the endometrial lining of the uterus.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes including preeclampsia and gestational diabetes
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that your body needs to absorb calcium. It also plays an important role in maintaining muscle strength. Research studies also show that vitamin D offers a multitude of important benefits including healthy heart function, immune and bone health.
Cases of vitamin D deficiency have been sky-rocketing over the past several years. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with reduced calcium absorption, bone loss, reduced muscle strength, and increased risk of fractures.
Certain wavelengths of sunlight (found in ultraviolet B, or UVB, rays) act on a cholesterol derivative in human skin, starting a chain of reactions, which ultimately produce vitamin D. UV rays from the sun are found to trigger vitamin D synthesis in skin so roughly 10-15 minutes of sun exposure at least two times per week to the face, arms, hands, or back without sunscreen is usually sufficient to provide adequate vitamin D.
So if it were possible for you to get enough sun, you wouldn’t have to worry about vitamin D. The problem now is that hardly anyone does get enough sun these days, because they have been told to ‘avoid’ the sun as it is bad for your skin and causes skin cancer.
The primary existence of Vitamin D in our bodies is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.
Without vitamin D – and calcium – bones can become thin, brittle, soft, or misshapen thus causing a huge impact on one’s health. Research also suggests that vitamin D may help maintain a healthy immune system and help regulate cell growth and differentiation while the hormone, calcitriol, in vitamin D has been found to have anti-cancer properties.
Cardiovascular disease :
Deaths from cardiovascular disease are more common in the winter, more common at higher latitudes and more common at lower altitudes, observations that are all consistent with vitamin D deficiency contributing heart disease. People with 25(OH)D levels above 35 ng/ml were half as likely to have a heart attack than those whose level was less than 35 ng/ml.
One-hour glucose and area under the glucose curve during a standard 75-g oral glucose tolerance test are inversely associated with the serum concentration of 25(OH)D. Extrapolation of recent graphic data for healthy young adults showed that improvements in 60-minute, 90-minute and 120-minute postprandial glucose levels and insulin sensitivity appeared to plateau when subjects reached vitamin D levels above 35 ng/ml.
The recommended daily intake
Vitamin D deficiency can occur when dietary intake of vitamin D is inadequate or when someone cannot adequately absorb vitamin D from the gastrointestinal tract, examples include: some people with Crohn’s disease or celiac disease. When vitamin D levels fall below 35 ng/ml, calcium absorption in the intestine falls with it. That is, calcium absorption is maximized by keeping vitamin D levels above 35 ng/ml.
While the main source of vitamin D for Australians is exposure to sunlight, the decrease of time spent in the sun during the winter months can reduce this form of intake.
- 400 IU for infants, children and adolescents
- 200 IU for adults up to age 50
- 400 IU for adults aged 51 to 70
- 600 IU for seniors over 70
These numbers are the bare bones minimum from what is actually needed for optimal health. Many experts now agree you need about 35 IU’s of vitamin D per pound of body weight, which may actually be 3 to 4 times the amount than we are currently getting.
The level of vitamin D supplementation you may need depends on many factors including time of year, where you live, how much sun exposure you get each day, sunscreen use, your age, your skin color, how often you eat fish or vitamin D fortified foods, if you are overweight, and how often you exercise. Foods fortified with Vitamin D do not contain uniform amounts of the substance and may not contain the amount of Vitamin D reported on the packaging.
Modifying your diet is also a good way to get some additional vitamin D. some fish like Salmon and tuna, as well as cod liver oil are among the best sources of vitamin D. Generally, there simply are not enough foods that naturally contain enough Vitamin D to raise your blood levels of Vitamin D to an optimal level.
What populations are at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency?
Some of the populations at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency than the general population include:
- Infants fed only breastmilk. Lactating women need 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day to maintain both their and their infants vitamin D levels. Such supplementation is associated with vitamin D levels of about 40 ng/ml. (Hollis and Wagner have answered an old and puzzling question, “Why is almost all human breast milk deficient in vitamin D?” Answer: “Because almost all the mothers are deficient in vitamin D.”)
- Older individuals who consume diets low in vitamin D and do not take supplements containing vitamin D. People over the age of 50 with higher vitamin D levels have less evidence of periodontal disease. There is a significant inverse relationship between periodontal disease and vitamin D levels. Those with levels greater than 34 ng/ml had the least risk.
- Individuals who take total sun precautions, consume diets low in vitamin D and do not take a supplement containing the vitamin D
- Home-bound individuals who get little sun exposure, consume diets low in vitamin D and do not take a supplement containing vitamin D.
- Individuals with Osteoarthritis, This particular case of Osteoarthritis of the knee progressed more rapidly in those with vitamin D levels lower than 36 ng/ml (90 nmol/L). Another study found that osteoarthritis of the hip progressed more rapidly in those with vitamin D levels lower than 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/L).
- Individuals with malabsorption syndromes who are not able to absorb dietary vitamin D (examples include: some people with Crohn’s disease or celiac disease)
- Individuals with liver or kidney diseases who may be less able to process vitamin D
- Individuals taking certain medications that interfere with vitamin D metabolism (Some of these medications include steroids taken for more than 3 months, certain medications used to control seizures such as dilantin or phenobarbitol and cholestryamine used to lower the cholesterol level)
- Obese individuals
Dialysis Patients :
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Higher levels of a certain antimicrobial protein that’s regulated by vitamin D appear to significantly reduce the risk of death from infection in dialysis patients, a new study has found.
Patients with a high level of this protein were 3.7 times more likely to survive kidney dialysis for a year without a fatal infection, which is a constant concern with dialysis patients.
Death from infection is 100 to 300 times higher for dialysis Ethan for most people.
Avoid Vitamin D that are high in Retinol
It is sensible to avoid sources of vitamin D that are high in retinol. Vitamin D and vitamin A are both fat-soluble vitamins that may be present in some of the same foods or supplements. Cod liver oil, for example, contains high amounts of both vitamin D and a type of vitamin A called retinol.
A large study found that post-menopausal women who consumed very high intakes of retinol (from food sources such as cod liver oil and liver, from certain multivitamins, or from vitamin A supplements) appeared to have an increased risk of hip fractures. However, there was no association between high intakes of another type of vitamin A, called beta-carotene and the risk of hip fracture. Beta-carotene is found in a wide variety of yellow and orange-colored fruits and vegetables, as well as green leafy vegetables.
A large population study also found an association between high intakes of retinol from supplements and hip fracture but reported no association between retinol from cod liver oil or other food sources and fracture risk. Although further investigation is needed, it may be sensible to avoid foods and supplemental sources of vitamin D that are high in retinol. Until more information is available, this includes the avoidance of cod liver oil and vitamin D supplements that have vitamin A added.
Testing for and treating vitamin D deficiency must be considered a crucial component of health promotion and preventive health care.
Given the toxicity of vitamin D, it is possible, although unlikely, to have an overdose with the most common symptoms being nausea, vomiting, headache and depression, deposition of calcium into internal organs and kidney stones.