How amazing is the sun? It makes us healthy, we feel good on a sunny day, plus it can protect us from cancer.
Some recent researches prove the effects of vitamin D, created in human organism from sun exposure, in fighting prostate, colorectal and breast cancer. This discovery is pretty important since cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S.
An epidemiologist from Cancer Center at the University of California, Dr. Cedric Garland has discovered the connection between cancer and vitamin D deficiency.
Many other studies have shown the positive effects of this vitamin in destroying cancer cells. It actually stimulates the defense on cellular level, causing apoptosis of the cancer cells.
The Journal of Cancer has published an article stating the 4000 IU/d of vitamin D3 can obstruct the development of cancer, which was measured by the main biomarker.
The Feinberg School of Medicine at the Northwestern University has conducted a research recently, showing the link between aggressive prostate cancer and lack of vitamin D. Increased intake of vitamin D actually stops the rapid growth of the number of cancer cells.
This research was conducted between 2009 and 2014 as part of larger epidemiologic study, including 1760 cancer screenings in comparison with healthy ones.
The head of the research team and assistant professor of Urology at the University, Dr. Adam Murphy, says that “Take a dish containing vitamin D and add prostate cancer cells in it, you`ll see how the development of these cells is reduced, they become less invasive and prone to apoptosis… Some of our newest researches prove that people with higher levels of vitamin D rarely suffer from prostate cancer.”
Increased intake of vitamin D3 can disable the expansion of cancer, but it also helps the body fight rheumatoid arthritis and strengthens the bones.
According to studies on patients with breast cancer, increased doses of vitamin D can reduce by 44% the fatality rate of this cancer.
Also, women who lack vitamin D have increased risk of metastases by 94% and increased risk of death by 73%, compared to patients with normal levels of vitamin D.
The head of a research team at the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, MD Sharid B. Morh says that “Doctors must understand the importance of appropriate levels of serum vitamin D regarding cancer prevention, which are 40-60 ng/ml. They have to advise the patients to try to maintain normal levels of vitamin D, especially during winter when the sunlight is scarce. Cancer patients should increase this dose to 80 ng/mL a day”.
Another expert in this field, Brian Feldman, MD, PhD, says that “More researches are necessary, but the ones we`ve conducted until now show that women with increased risk factors of breast cancer must normalize the levels of vitamin D, and control them from time to time.”
Other types of cancer
Vitamin D, combined with calcium, can lower the risk of any cancer type by 77% in postmenopausal women. This combination produces a substance which is part of the cells and holds them together, so that the cancer cells can`t penetrate body tissues and organs.
Dr. Cedric Garland explains that “Decreased levels of vitamin D obstruct the breast epithelium cells to stick to one another, causing rapid mitosis. Cells which multiply very quickly can create their cancer clones which can enter the lymphatic system, the brain, bone and lungs, ending in death, if the organism is deprived of vitamin D for too long.”
Other benefits of vitamin D
There are two types of vitamin D: D2 or ergocalciferol and D3 or cholecalciferol. The first one is produced by plants, the second is produced by our kidneys and liver from exposure to sunlight.
Not all of us need the same amount of vitamin D, it depends on sex, age, the area we live in, and other similar factors.
Vitamin D3 is very important because it enables the absorption of calcium in the gut, and keeps our bones and teeth healthy. It helps the fight against diabetes, chronic pain or heart disease. Also, it can improve neuromuscular and immune functions, reduce inflammation and change the growth of cells.
Healthy adults are recommended to intake 600 IU of vitamin D, people older than 70 should increase the amount to 800 IU. Certain cancer treatments have increased doses of this vitamin up to 10.000 IU, which can have some negative consequences on the kidneys and cardiovascular system, as well as other organs.
Before increasing the amount of vitamin D as part of some treatment, consult an experienced doctor or oncologist about how much is safe for you. Naturopaths can help with this as well.