Despite what you may be thinking, this is not a Vitamin D blog, although I do just happen to read a lot of news about Vitamin D, and this is the case because Vitamin D is making the news a lot lately. A new study, which I saw little trace of in the mainstream media, suggests Vitamin D is a potent cancer preventative agent, and extends the life of cancer patients.
The study measured 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (Calcidiol) levels in 512 women (around age 50) over the course of 12 years, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer in the early stages. They divided women into three types of Vitamin D blood levels, “deficient” (< 50 nmol/L), “insufficient” (50 to 72 nmol/L), and “sufficient” (> 72 nmol/L). What they found after 12 years was that those women who were “deficient” had higher risk of both cancer recurrence and of death. What percentage of higher risk of cancer recurrence did those deficient in Vitamin D have? Take a guess.
Was it 10%? No
Was it 20% No
50% Keep going
85%? Still higher
94%. Yes, those who were deficient in Vitamin D had a 94% increased risk of breast cancer than those who had sufficient levels of the Vitamin.
And what was the difference in death risk? Those with deficient levels of Vitamin D had a 73% increased risk of death from breast cancer than those with high levels of Vitamin D.
The researchers admit that to get blood levels this high requires supplementation at around 4000 IU/day, depending of course, on sun exposure and other factors such as body size. Considering the RDA is only 400 IU, and the “upper daily limit” is 2000 IU, this seems quite high. The reality is that the RDA and upper daily limit are ridiculously low. 400 IU is enough Vitamin D to prevent the most obvious deficiency disease: rickets. However, we need much more Vitamin D than this to prevent other problems, and our bodies make more than 2000 IU after being in the sun for 10-15 minutes. These realities make the current RDA look ridiculously low.
If a study like this came out regarding a drug, you can be it would be hailed the miracle drug of the decade. Instead, it is just lowly Vitamin D that is working these wonders. Heck, it is available for free most of the year just by going outside…perhaps an impressive irony given the amount of money spent each year researching cancer treatments and paying for them.