Latest News on Key Vitamin’s Link to Cancer Survival

The recently released results from a huge (involved over 17,300 cancer patients) showed a direct link between blood vitamin levels and the patients chance of survival. Turns out to be pretty great news for those facing cancer… you may be able to significantly increase your survival rate just by taking a vitamin. 

The key? Vitamin D.

The Study:

According to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM): Higher vitamin D levels at the time of cancer diagnosis have been linked to more positive survival rates.

One of the study’s authors, Hui Wang, MD, PhD, said: “The results suggest vitamin D may influence the prognosis for people with breast cancer, colorectal cancer and lymphoma, in particular.” There was less evidence of a connection in people with lung cancer, gastric cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, melanoma or Merkel cell carcinoma, but the available data were positive.

“Considering that vitamin D deficiency is a widespread issue all over the world, it is important to ensure that everyone has sufficient levels of this important nutrient,” Dr. Wang said. “Physicians need to pay close attention to vitamin D levels in people who have been diagnosed with cancer.”

Please note a specific finding in this mega-study (involved over 17,300 cancer patients). On its own it may not seem significant, however after reading the rest of this article, this point will become enlightening!

The study found a 10 nmol/L increase in vitamin D levels was associated with a 4% increase in survival among people with cancer.

Understanding Vitamin D – The Basics You Should Know

Most adults in the US believe they are not vitamin D deficient, and that they get plenty from their exposure to the sun and from the foods they eat. With plenty of sunshine available, it may surprise you to know that an estimated 1 billion people are deficient or insufficient in vitamin D. (This is estimated because undiagnosed vitamin D deficiency is common). The media and advertising campaigns for the past 20 years have all made clear the dangers of skin cancer and the need for sunscreen to protect us from this disease. Unfortunately, no one discusses the dangers of not getting vitamin D from the sun and ways to compensate for it. Using a sunscreen with SPF of 30 decreases vitamin D synthesis in the skin by more than 95%. It’s also commonly believed that downing a daily glass of fortified milk covers your calcium and vitamin D needs. In reality you’ll need 6-8 glasses per day.  That translates into 522-696 calories per day – and that’s only if it’s skim milk!

The guidelines for how much vitamin D we need were updated in 2010 by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is shown below. These recommendations have been met with a lot opposition by some experts, saying that they are too low

  • 600 IU/day for ages 1 to 70
  • 800 IU/day for over 70 years of age
  • 600 IU/day for pregnant and lactating women
Health Concerns Where Vitamin D Matters:
  • Decreasing inflammation: Research has shown a decrease in an important marker of inflammation.
  • Reducing risk of allergies in children and adolescents.
  • Decreasing dental cavities. A 47% reduced risk of cavities was found with vitamin D supplementation.
  • Prevention and treatment of depression.  .
  • Decreasing mortality rate from certain cancers: In 1941, U.S. pathologist Frank Apperly published geographic data that demonstrated for the first time an inverse correlation between levels of UV radiation in North America and mortality rates from cancers. This means that more exposure to UV radiation (sun) leads to fewer deaths from cancers. In the meantime, since this was published, it has been confirmed that blood levels of vitamin D have a link to cancer survival rates.
  • Decreasing risk of osteoarthritis.
  • Possibly helpful in prevention of fractures by improving balance, and reducing the risk of falls in the elderly: There has been some evidence suggesting that vitamin D supplementation may have these benefits, but more research needs to be done to confirm it.
Why You May Be Vitamin D Deficient:
  • You are overweight or obese.
  • You have a ‘fat malabsorption syndrome (for example: Chrohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease).
  • You have had bariatric surgery.
  • You are a senior citizen.
  • You take prescription drugs that enhance the breakdown of vitamin D (for example: antifungal meds, anticonvulsants, glucocorticoids, and meds that treat AIDS/HIV)
  • You suffer from kidney disease, hyperparathyroidism, granuloma-forming disorders, and some lymphomas.
How You Know If You Are Vitamin D Deficient:

All it takes is a simple blood test to determine your vitamin D level. The problem is there is quite a bit of controversy about what the optimal levels and deficient levels are. The blood test measures your 25(OH)D level. The current guidelines for serum (blood) 25(OH)D levels are shown below. Many experts believe that 30 ng/mL should be the minimum for an adequate level.

  • Deficiency: 25(OH)D level BELOW 12 ng/mL
  • Inadequate: 25(OH)D level BETWEEN 12-20 ng/mL
  • An adequate 25(OH)D level is between 20-50 ng/mL
  • Excessive: 25(OH)D level over 50 ng/mL

Disturbing Facts: Changes between 1994 and 2004
  • Vitamin D level has dropped from 30 ng/mL 24 ng/mL.
  • The percentage of those below 10 ng/mL has increased from 2% to 6%.
  • The percentage with levels of 30 or above has decreased from 45% to 23%.
  • With the levels changing at this rate, this really has become an epidemic.

If You Are D Deficient, How Much a Day Do You Need?

The amount of vitamin D that is needed to correct a deficiency is dependent on its severity.  If you are found to be vitamin D deficient, your doctor will tell you how much vitamin D per day you will need to correct the problem.  In general, however, if blood levels are below 30 ng/mL, a minimum of 1,000 IU/day of vitamin D3 will be needed for children and 1,500 to 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D3 for adults. Another rule of thumb is for every 1 ng/mL increase in your blood level you need an additional 100 IU/vitamin D per day.

For optimal absorption, you want to take your supplement with the meal that contains the most fat and to take a chewable version. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and requires fat for absorption.


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Layered Inception strongly supports individuals becoming proactive in their health care.  We encourage preventative health care measures and promote patient - professional health care communication.  For those reasons, these health news articles are provided for your convenience. We hope they help facilitate communication regarding your health concerns with your health care provider.  They are not intended to be used as a self diagnostic tool.  Referred to study results are applicable only to those study participants and should not be assumed applicable to everyone.   As you, in discussion with your health care professional, decide on the vitamins and dietary supplements that would be beneficiary for you, we hope that your selections include OneLifeUSA products. Your business is appreciated and your satisfaction is important to us.

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