Once again Vitamin D is in the news. As most of you know, I am not an advocate of taking any supplements unless blood work by a reputable physician shows a deficiency. Getting vitamins & minerals in your diet is the only way to be sure of it being safe and bioavailable.
Having said that, I have been following the ups & downs of Vitamin D for several years. Based on the research and listening to Vitamin D advocates at conferences, I believe everyone should be taking 1,000 – 2,000 IU’s every day; tested or not. I also believe that Vitamin D plays an important role in the health of our immune system. This makes it an important vitamin to take for cancer patients to lower the risk of reoccurrence and to help rebuild your immune system along with diet, exercise and stress reduction.
The FDA does not follow-up on the thousands of Dietary Supplement companies that bring their products into the USA unless it has received complaints. You can’t always be sure that what is on the label is in the bottle. When you buy Vitamin D or any supplement, make sure it is from a company that you can trust. A company that belongs to a group that self regulates and allows third party studies on their products. Here are a few brands to get you started; Kirkland (Costco), Nature’s Way, Trader Joe’s brand, Jimbo’s brand, Nature Made, NOW, and Neutragenics. There are many more but you need to do your research, don’t believe the stickers and claims on the bottle….it has been shown by the FDA that less than reputable companies are “photo shopping” the stickers onto their labels. So FDA approved, no GMO’s etc. may not be true. It is a “crap shoot” when buying supplements or any over the counter medicine without researching the company first.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” Hippocrates
On Facebook this weekend, Dr. Low Dog posted the following:
Was reading the Well section of the New York Times and saw yet another study showing the benefits of vitamin D. This sunshine vitamin has long been correlated with strong bones, and now science is discovering many other benefits. Research suggests that vitamin D may play a role in reducing inflammation and fighting off bacteria, along with possibly reducing the risk of certain cancers such as colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer. Deficiency of vitamin D might increase the… risk of these cancers, and possibly reduce survival. Vitamin D can be hard to get naturally in the diet (fatty fish, fortified milk, egg yolks) because we are supposed to get it from the sun. However, with the use of sunscreen and increasing time spent indoors, it is little surprise that up to 75% of Americans may have lower than optimal levels. While I think vitamin D testing is the best way to determine how much you might need, taking 1000 IU per day is probably a good idea for many of us.
How Vitamin D May Fight Colon Cancer
Higher levels of vitamin D have been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer in many observational studies. A new analysis has found a possible reason.
A malignant tumor contains not just cancer cells but many types of cells, some of which affect how fast a tumor may grow or spread. Among them are a group of immune system cells called T lymphocytes, or T cells, that can target tumor cells and limit their growth. Having a tumor with more T cells correlates with a better prognosis.
The study, published in the journal Gut, included 318 people who had developed colorectal cancer and 624 matched controls. All had vitamin D levels measured before the appearance of any cancers.
The higher the blood levels of vitamin D, the less likely people were to develop colorectal tumors. Vitamin D, the authors suggest, interacts with the immune system to prevent the growth of this type of malignancy.
“This study really shows that vitamin D has an effect on immunity,” said the senior author, Dr. Shuji Ogino, an associate professor of pathology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, “and it’s the first study to show that in a human population. Vitamin D boosts immunity not just in cancer, but in fighting infections as well.”