Can Vitamin D Levels Affect Breast Cancer Survival?

Vitamin D is the name given to a group of fat-soluble prohormones (substances that usually have little hormonal activity by themselves but that the body can turn into hormones). Vitamin D helps the body use calcium and phosphorus to make strong bones and teeth. Skin exposed to sunshine can make vitamin D, and vitamin D can also be obtained from certain foods. Vitamin D deficiency can cause a weakening of the bones that is called rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

Can Vitamin D Levels Affect Breast Cancer Survival?

Vitamin D has been presented over the years as a very important link in the chain of providing optimal health and well being. It is among the vitamins that have earned the approval of our medical establishment and has been designated with a measure to know what the minimal daily requirement happens to be. The problem is – what is the maximum? Among many warnings of overdose problems and occaisional negative studies, the average person doesn’t wind up knowing if they are getting enough of this vital nutrient or not.  The following excerpts of a very important news post will cast light on this and many recent findings about the amazing benefits of the role of this vitamin in breast cancer prevention and recurral, autism anf LDL cholesterol levels. You can read Dr.Mercola’s post below.

According to Carole Baggerly, founder of GrassrootsHealth, as much as 90 percent of ordinary breast cancer may in fact be related to vitamin D deficiency.

Most recently, a meta-analysis of five studies published in the March 2014 issue of Anticancer Research  found that patients diagnosed with breast cancer who had high vitamin D levels were twice as likely to survive compared to women with low levels.

The analysis included more than 4,500 breast cancer patients over a nine-year period. The high serum group had an average vitamin D level of 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). Women in the low serum group averaged 17 ng/ml, which is the average vitamin D level found in American breast cancer patients.

The study was co-authored by Professor Cedric F. Garland—featured in the 2011 video above—along with other researchers at the San Diego School of Medicine. Funding for the research  was in part provided by a Congressional allocation to the Penn State Cancer Institute of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Vitamin D has a number of anticancer effects, including the promotion of cancer cell death, known as apoptosis, and the inhibition of angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor). According to Dr. Garland:

“As long as vitamin D receptors were present, tumor growth was prevented and kept from expanding its blood supply. Vitamin D receptors are not lost until a tumor is very advanced. This is the reason for better survival in patients whose vitamin D blood levels are high.”

The researchers urge physicians to make vitamin D monitoring and optimization part of standard breast cancer care, and recommend that breast cancer patients should restore their vitamin D levels to a normal range of 30-80 ng/ml. According to the featured findings, you need at least 30 ng/ml of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) to prevent cancer from spreading. That said, other research suggests you’d be better off with levels as high as 80 ng/ml.

In 2011, Dr. Garland’s team found that a vitamin D level of 50 ng/ml is associated with a 50 percent lower risk of breast cancer. (Similarly, a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine  concluded that a vitamin D level of more than 33 ng/mL was associated with a 50 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer.)

To reach a minimum protective level of 40 ng/ml of vitamin D, study participants had to take anywhere from 1,000 IUs to as much as 8,000 IUs of vitamin D3 per day—a far cry from the recommended daily allowance of 600 IUs of vitamin D for adults.

The supplemental dose ensuring that 97.5 percent of the study population achieved a serum 25(OH)D of at least 40 ng/mL was 9,600 IU/day. This study also concluded that intake of up to 40,000 IUs per day is unlikely to result in vitamin D toxicity.

In related news, a recently published study found that vitamin D in combination with calcium appears to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women. As reported by the New York Times:

“Researchers randomly assigned 576 postmenopausal women to either a daily dose of 400 units of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium, or a placebo. They followed them for three years. By the end of the study, published in Menopause, the vitamin D group had significantly higher serum levels of vitamin D, and a small but notable drop in LDL.”

Women taking a combination of vitamin D and calcium had a 4.46 mg/dL mean decrease in LDL cholesterol. Previous research by Dr. Stephanie Seneff also suggests that healthy cholesterol and sulfur levels are highly dependent on your vitamin D levels. Through her research, she believes that the mechanism we call “cardiovascular disease,” of which arterial plaque is a hallmark, is actually your body’s way to compensate for not having enough cholesterol sulfate.

Vitamin D may also be critical in the fight against autism spectrum disorder (ASD). According to a study  by the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, vitamin D may affect autistic behavior by activating a gene responsible for the production of tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2), an enzyme that converts tryptophan to serotonin in your brain. The research also shows that two other brain hormones associated with social behavior, oxytocin and vasopressin, are activated by vitamin D. As reported by Newswise:

“This suggests that adequate levels of vitamin D may be required to produce serotonin in the brain where it shapesthe structure and wiring of the brain, acts as a neurotransmitter, and affects social behavior. They also found evidence that the gene that makes the enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (TPH1) is inhibited by vitamin D hormone, which subsequently halts the production of serotonin in the gut and other tissues, where when found in excess it promotes inflammation.

This mechanism explains many of the known, but previously not understood, facts about autism including: 1) the ‘serotonin anomaly’ low levels of serotonin in the brain and high levels in the blood of autistic children; 2) the preponderance of male over female autistic children: estrogen, a similar steroid hormone, can also boost the brain levels of serotonin in girls; 3) the presence of autoimmune antibodies to the fetal brain in the mothers of autistic children: vitamin D regulates the production of regulatory T-cells via repression of TPH1″

The researchers propose treating ASD with a combination of vitamin D, tryptophan, and omega-3 fats in order to naturally elevate the concentration of brain serotonin without side effects. This isn’t the first time vitamin D has been implicated as a contributing factor to rising autism rates. According to previous research, there is indeed a link between rampant vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women and the proportionate jump in autism. The reason for this is because vitamin D receptors appear in a wide variety of brain tissue early in the fetal development, and activated vitamin D receptors increase nerve growth in your brain.

Article Summary

  • A recent meta-analysis found that breast cancer patients who had high vitamin D levels (average 30 ng/ml) were twice as likely to survive compared to women with low levels (average 17 ng/ml)
  • Vitamin D has a number of anticancer effects, including the promotion of cancer cell death, and the inhibition of angiogenesis (the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor)
  • Previous research has shown that a vitamin D level of 50 ng/ml is associated with a 50 percent lower risk of breast cancer
  • Recent research found that vitamin D in combination with calcium appears to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women
  • Vitamin D deficiency may cause autistic behavior through its effects on the brain hormones serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin, all of which are associated with social behavior

Read Dr. Mercola’s entire article – click here:  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/13/vitamin-d-breast-cancer-prevention.aspx?e_cid=20140413Z1_SNL_Art_1&utm_source=snl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20140413Z1&et_cid=DM42617&et_rid=484886742

photo source: http://www.modernhcp.com/wp-content/themes/pure/newsletter/2014/images/preventativemedicine.jpg

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