vitamin D and cancerIn a recent study published in PLOS ONE, researchers reported that higher levels of vitamin D are associated with a decreased cancer risk.

Previous studies have linked a vitamin D deficiency with colon cancer, breast, lung, and bladder. In this study researchers have quantitated amount of vitamin D to reduce cancer risk.

The researchers analyzed two previous studies. One was a randomized clinical trial of 1,169 women and a prospective cohort study of 1,135 women. In the clinical trial, the median blood serum level of 25(OH)D was 30 ng/ml and in the prospective cohort study, it was 48 ng/ml.

The researchers found that the cancer rate decreased with increased vitamin D levels. Women with a vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml or greater had a 67% lower risk of cancer than women with levels of 20 ng/ml or less.

The recommended vitamin D level as well as the recommended daily allowance have been debatable over the past several years. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended 600 IU of vitamin D daily.

It is rare that I see patient with optimal vitamin D levels (over 50 ng/ml). Most people I find need about 4000 IU to 5000 IU of vitamin D daily to maintain healthy normal levels and approximately 8000 IU to 10,000 IU daily for a few months to address a deficiency and get the vitamin D level to an optimal range.

This study confirms that reduced cancer risk is measurable at 40 ng/ml and additional benefits are seen at higher levels. These results demonstrate an inverse relationship between vitamin D OH levels and risk of cancer.

The author states that increasing vitamin D levels to at least 40 ng/ml in the population would substantially reduce cancer incidence and associated mortality and improving vitamin D status is a key to prevention.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN

Source: Sharon L. McDonnell, Carole Baggerly, Christine B. French, Leo L. Baggerly, Cedric F. Garland, Edward D. Gorham, Joan M. Lappe, Robert P. Heaney. Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations ≥40 ng/ml Are Associated with >65% Lower Cancer Risk: Pooled Analysis of Randomized Trial and Prospective Cohort Study. PLOS ONE, 2016; 11 (4): e0152441 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152441

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