Last time, I told you about new evidence that vitamin D directly affects genes associated with aging. And today, I’m going to turn to an even bigger vitamin D finding. A finding so big, it should have made the national news. A finding so big, the lead researcher should have become a household name.
But as with most important findings that employ natural approaches, it hardly made a blip in the media.
So let’s get right to it…
In this important, new study, men and women with vitamin D levels above 40 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) had a 67 percent lower overall cancer risk than men and women with lower levels.
Yes, it’s that simple.
Men and women with higher vitamin D levels reduce their risk of all types of cancer by two-thirds. If any drug treatment claimed to achieve these results, you’d see it plastered all over the nightly news. You’d see it in ads during the Super Bowl. You’d want stock in the company because its price would soar through the roof.
But because it’s a simple vitamin, we hear none of that.
30 years of data lead to groundbreaking discovery
The astounding, new finding comes from an analysis led by Dr. Cedric Garland of the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Cedric Garland and his deceased brother Frank started studying the role of vitamin D in preventing cancer way back in the 1980s.
In an interview with Medscape Medical News, Garland likened the discovery that higher vitamin D dramatically reduces overall cancer risk to the discovery that higher vitamin C prevents scurvy.
Of course, the British medical officer James Lind made the connection between low vitamin C and scurvy in the 18th century — long before the “war on cancer” and the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars spent on cancer control and prevention.
The real deficiency appears to be the mainstream cancer experts’ inability to recognize the powerful scientific data on vitamin D.
A previous study by one of Garland’s colleagues, Dr. Joan Lappe of Creighton University in Omaha, prompted Garland to revisit vitamin D.
In the Lappe study, women given about 1,000 IU vitamin D per day had a 77 percent reduction in their incidence of cancers of all sites, including breast, colon and lung cancers. How about that for a real “oracle of Omaha?”
But Garland knew the skeptics out there would want more data. So for the new analysis, he found a new cohort of women taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day called GrassrootsHealth and pooled them with the Lappe study cohort. The median age of the 2,304 women in the pooled cohort was 64 years. All were non-Hispanic white women with no known cancer at study’s outset.
As I said earlier, women with levels of 40 ng/ml or more had a 67 percent lower cancer risk than women with 20 ng/ml or lower. The most common cancer diagnosed during the study was breast cancer, which accounted for 43 percent of all cancers in the pooled cohort.
This isn’t the first major study to find a strong link between higher vitamin D levels and lower breast cancer risk…
Two more powerful studies dating back 11 years
A 2005 study on vitamin D and breast cancer had even more impressive results. In that study, women with vitamin D levels above 60 ng/ml showed an 83 percent lower breast cancer risk than women with 20 ng/ml or lower.
In a third study, women with vitamin D levels of at least 30 ng/ml had 63 percent lower breast cancer risk than women with concentrations below 20 ng/mL. And for postmenopausal women (the majority of breast cancer cases), the risk was 71 percent lower.
So let’s put all these different cancer studies together to see the dose-response effect of vitamin D:
29 ng/ml or more vitamin D — 55 percent reduction in breast cancer risk
30 ng/ml or more — 63 percent reduction in breast cancer risk
40 ng/ml or more — 67 percent reduction in breast cancer risk
60 ng/ml or more — 83 percent reduction in breast cancer risk
And remember, the women achieved these blood levels simply by taking 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day. Imagine what higher daily intakes could do.
You CAN do something about cancer risk
Dr. Garland now recommends that every female older than nine years take 4,000 IU vitamin D daily. Garland based this dose on the National Academy of Sciences setting 4,000 IU per day as the top intake. (They still recommend only 600 IU per day up to age 70and 800 IU over 70. But as I reported recently, two independent calculations show these recommendations are 10 times too low.)
Garland is also familiar with research, like my own published Ph.D. dissertation research from the 1980s, showing that lifelong breast cancer risk begins early in life. The science has been pointing in that direction since the 1980s. Dr. Garland says he is shocked because we have known for a long time that we can prevent nearly 80 percent of cancers, but nothing has been done about it.
In an interview with Medscape, Dr. Garland said, “if you want to nip cancer in the bud, there’s a certain amount of cancer risk that is set during the first 15 years of life. To me, it’s a scandal. Science has given us a way to protect women from breast cancer and nobody’s doing anything about it. It’s just a shame.”
Of course, vitamin D seems to protect against many other forms of cancer. Not just breast cancer.
In a more recent study, women with vitamin D levels above 29 ng/ml had a 55 percent lower risk of colon cancer compared to those with levels below 18 ng/ml.
Mainstream medicine continues to flail and flounder
All the while, mainstream cancer experts continue to rely on mammogram screenings that don’t lower death rates from breast cancer. They offer dangerous unproven routine colonoscopies for screening colon cancer. And for lung cancer screening, they offered nothing at all, until finally dragged — kicking and screaming — by the American College of Chest Physicians and the American College of Radiology to recommend the new CT lung scan, as I reported recently.
One caveat: Some of the studies pooled by Garland also gave calcium supplements, which I don’t recommend. As I mentioned on Monday, you should obtain your calcium from a healthy, balanced diet that includes dairy, fish and meat. Not from a supplement.
By contrast, the widespread vitamin D deficiency seen in the general public, and the difficulty in obtaining optimal vitamin D from diet alone points to the need for adequate supplementation of this nutrient.
As I alluded to earlier, the greater tragedy is how few mainstream media outlets reported on this study. Just a quick Google search of “Garland vitamin D study” shows the study didn’t even make it into the mainstream press. Only the scientific press and medical press covered it. With that in mind, it’s more important than ever to stay tuned to my Daily Dispatch and Insiders’ Cures newsletter, where I will continue to bring you big, important research missed by the mainstream.
Always on the side of science,
Marc S. Micozzi, M.D., Ph.D.
“Higher Levels of Vitamin D Linked to Lower Cancer Risk, Again,” Medscape Medical News 4/12/2016