February is a cold, dark month in most parts of the United States. And if you live north of Atlanta, GA, the sun isn’t strong enough at this time of year to activate vitamin D on your skin. But sun exposure and vitamin D are exactly what you need to help lower your cancer risk. Especially your colon cancer risk, as I’ll explain in a moment.
Studies since the 1940s have linked more sun exposure and vitamin D with lower rates of the most common deadly cancers, including colon, lung, breast, and prostate cancer. Plus, epidemiologic studies over the past 30 years show that men and women who get more sun exposure have a lower risk of developing colon cancer precursors called adenomas.
But, of course, you worry about skin cancer, thanks to all the fear mongering spread by the skin cancer industry.
The truth is, some studies even link higher sun exposure to lower skin cancer rates. And remember, we can easily treat more than 90 percent of skin cancer cases.
But let’s set all those facts aside for a moment.
If you worry about the extra sun exposure (which, again, you probably shouldn’t), you do have another option. Simply take a high-quality vitamin D supplement. Indeed, the whole point of getting some sun is to “turn on” the vitamin D production in your skin.
As I’ve said many times in my Daily Dispatch, vitamin D is a bit of a wonder nutrient. Especially when it comes to cancer.
You see, experts believe higher vitamin D levels decrease overall cancer risk by encouraging the normal turnover of cells throughout your body. It also helps cause the death of abnormal cells, which can turn into cancer. Vitamin D also appears to stop cancer cell proliferation and invasion. It even appears to thwart angiogenesis, the growth of blood vessels into the cancerous tumor.
In a recent meta-analysis, researchers found that men and women with the highest vitamin D levels had a 34 percent lower colon cancer risk compared to those with the lowest vitamin D levels. Plus, researchers found a 7 percent reduction of risk for each additional 10ng/ml of vitamin D in the blood. (Of course, researchers conducted these studies with men and women who were already generally deficient in vitamin D and had little sun exposure. So the results of supplementation with vitamin D may be even more dramatic.)
In a newer study, researchers found women appear to respond even more dramatically to vitamin D.
Of course, it’s not all that surprising to find differences between how men and women respond to vitamin D. Remember, vitamin D behaves like a hormone in the body. In fact, vitamin D, like estrogen, is based on the cholesterol molecule. So, of course it could have different effects on the colon based on your gender.
In this study, women with the highest vitamin D levels had fewer colon cancer precursors (adenomas) than those with the lowest levels of vitamin D. The number of women with cancer precursors in the proximal colon was particularly lower in the highest vitamin D group.
Plus, taking a vitamin D supplement clearly had benefits…
Women who took a vitamin D supplement had cancer precursors four times lower than women who didn’t take it. Plus, the protective effect of vitamin D persisted after the researchers controlled for age, family history, smoking, and impaired glucose metabolism.
This study clearly shows a significant protective effect from achieving higher vitamin D levels. Plus, it shows that women can gain further protection by supplementing with vitamin D.
In recent years, many mainstream medical experts have started to acknowledge the benefits of having vitamin D in the blood. (Honestly, who can deny all these clear findings?) But then, these same experts decry the use of supplements. This study illustrates just how irrational that advice is.
Of course, you must properly absorb vitamin D into your bloodstream for it to have an effect. That’s why I always recommend using a high-quality form of liquid vitamin D that you can easily swallow, digest and absorb.
Unfortunately, the U.S. cancer industry ignores this powerful evidence for using vitamins and minerals to prevent cancers in the first place. And mainstream medicine remains fixated only on vitamin D’s role in calcium metabolism and bone health. Meanwhile, evidence continues to accumulate for its importance in other common health conditions, such as asthma, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and heart disease.
Plus, the U.S. cancer industry places all the emphasis at the wrong “end” of the equation, so to speak. They still push dangerous, expensive colonoscopies, when we have safe, low cost alternatives for colon cancer screening, including the fecal occult test (FIT) or the new DNA screening test called Cologuard. In Europe, they use sigmoidoscopy, a screening with similar effectiveness to colonoscopy but with far fewer risks.
Make sure to take a high-quality vitamin D supplement each and every day. (I recommend 5,000 IU). Especially at this time of year. And try to get some sun too. Even if it’s cold outside and the sun is low in the sky, you still benefit greatly from going outdoors, as I will explain in an upcoming Daily Dispatch.
- “Gender- and Site-Specific Differences of Colorectal Neoplasia Relate to Vitamin D,” Alimentary Pharmacology Therapeutics 2014; 40(11-12): 1341-1348