Vitamin D has been largely ignored by mainstream medicine except when it comes to the very minimum levels required to prevent severe deficiency, a common cause of rickets in the past.

Vitamin D has been primarily associated with it’s role in helping the body to metabolize calcium, but it’s functions in the body go way beyond that.

Recently, the remarkable properties of Vitamin D are gaining more attention due to a long list of studies proving that it deserves its place as one of our most important medicines.

Some of the evidence on Vitamin D:

Vitamin D has some very specific benefits when it comes to radioprotection.  Vitamin D is an anti-oxidant, and anti-oxidants should be considered front-line defense against damage due to radiation.
Dr. Mercola writes: 

The protective mechanisms are so strong that researchers suggested vitamin D3 should be considered among the prime (if not the primary) non-pharmacological agents to protect against sub-lethal low radiation damage and, particularly, radiation-induced cancer.

It’s unclear how much vitamin D is necessary to protect against radiation-induced cancer, but researchers have found that daily intakes of vitamin D by adults in the range of 4,000-8,000 IU are needed to maintain blood levels of vitamin D metabolites in the range needed to reduce the risk of breast and colon cancers by about half.

 
Secondly, Vitamin D is an outstanding cancer fighting medicine.  Here are some eye-opening facts about Vitamin D and Cancer from the Vitamin D council:  

 http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/cancer/

Top 10 facts about vitamin D and cancer

  1. Many studies have found solar ultraviolet-B (UVB) vitamin D associated with reduced risk of breast, colon, and rectal cancer.
  2. A randomized controlled trial with 1100 IU/day vitamin D3 plus 1450 mg/day calcium found a 77% reduction in all-cancer incidence.
  3. Geographical studies have found reduced risk in mortality rates for 15-20 types of cancer in regions of higher solar UVB doses.
  4. Observational studies found risk of breast, colon, and rectal cancer falls as vitamin D blood levels rise to over 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L).
  5. Mechanisms have been proposed to explain how vitamin D acts to reduce the risk of cancer from starting, growing, and spreading.
  6. Those who develop nonmelanoma skin cancer may have produced enough vitamin D to reduce their risk of internal cancers.
  7. Those with higher vitamin D blood levels at time of cancer diagnosis had nearly twice the survival rate of those with the lowest levels.
  8. African-Americans have an increased risk of cancer in part due to lower vitamin D blood levels because of darker skin.
  9. Higher UVB exposure early in life has been found associated with reduced risk of breast and prostate cancer.
  10. Those diagnosed with breast, colon and prostate cancer in summer in Norway had higher survival rates than those diagnosed in winter.
How does Vitamin D fight cancer so effectively?  Here are some of the mechanisms involved: 

  • prevents angiogenesis, the process by which cancerous tumors ‘steal’ blood supply from other tissues by building their own networks of blood vessels
  • increases apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancerous tissues
  • switches off ‘oncogenes’ that are involved with the growth of tumors
  • switches on tumor suppressing genes
Vitamin D plays a role in many natural approaches to cancer treatment, including Dr. Burzynski’s antineoplaston therapy, due to it’s ability to flip genetic switches that turn on our bodies’ defenses against cancer.

Some more info on VitaminD3 from Dr. Mercola:

It’s unclear how much vitamin D is necessary to protect against radiation-induced cancer, but researchers have found that daily intakes of vitamin D by adults in the range of 4,000-8,000 IU are needed to maintain blood levels of vitamin D metabolites in the range needed to reduce the risk of breast and colon cancers by about half.

Earlier studies have shown that optimizing your vitamin D levels could help you to prevent at least 16 different types of cancerincluding pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate, and skin cancers, so it’s not a stretch to add radiation-induced cancer to that list.

It has been my experience that many are still nervous about taking doses larger than 1,000 to 2,000 units per day. This is unfortunate as most adults without sun or safe tanning bed exposure will need 6,000-8,000 units of vitamin D per day to attain healthy vitamin D levels.

Three Points to Remember About Vitamin D

When using vitamin D therapeutically, it’s important to remember the following:

  1. Your best source for vitamin D is exposure to the sun, without sunblock on your skin, until your skin turns the lightest shade of pink. While this isn’t always possible due to the change of the seasons and your geographic location (and your skin color), this is the ideal to aim for. Vitamin D supplementation or use of a safe tanning bed can fill the gaps during the winter months outside of the tropics, when healthy sun exposure is not an option.
  2. If you supplement with vitamin D, you’ll only want to supplement with natural vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Do NOT use the synthetic and highly inferior vitamin D2, which is the one most doctors will give you in a prescription unless you ask specifically for D3.
  3. Get your vitamin D blood levels checked! The only way to determine the correct dose is to get your blood tested since there are so many variables that influence your vitamin D status. I recommend using Lab Corp in the United States. Getting the correct test is the first step in this process, as there are TWO vitamin D tests currently being offered: 1,25(OH)D and 25(OH)D.
    The correct test your doctor needs to order is 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is the better marker of overall D status. This is the marker that is most strongly associated with overall health.

Some people may be concerned about the risk of Vitamin D toxicity, but most of the studies showing such toxicity involve long-term doses of 40,000 or 50,000 iu.  That is 500 to 1000% higher dosage than what Dr. Mercola recommends.  

I prefer to synthesize vitamin by exposure to sunlight when possible.  I live in Los Angeles where it is sunny all the time.  I try to work in the garden a little bit every day, often shirtless.  But during winter or when I am traveling (especially in Japan), I do sometimes supplement with Vitamin D at 5,000 iu per day.  That’s me, do your own research and decide what is right for you.  

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