What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is food containing fat-soluble vitamin included in the dietary supplement. Other than food one can obtain it by the stroke of sunlight on the skin that triggers the synthesis of vitamin D. It has many benefits on the regulation of body organs, especially to the bones.
Concerning vitamin D and cancer risk, a Pubmed database did a case study on 63 observations. It suggested that an adequate amount of vitamin D in the body excessively lowers the risk of cancer development.
The best source of getting the ‘sunshine vitamin:
Vitamin D often called the ‘sunshine vitamin’ can be significantly obtained through sunlight itself. However, you will not find many food options that can provide you with this vitamin; there are some you can try. The best and readily available sources are fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon), and fish liver oil. Also in egg yolk, beef liver, and cheese, you can find it in a few amounts. You can also get vitamin D2 from a variety of mushrooms. Down to the easiest source is sun exposure. A wavelength of 292 to 320 nanometres of ultraviolet B radiation can provide you with vitamin D3
How much do you need it?
Vitamin D is essential for everybody, young or old, to help in the absorption of calcium. Research from Mayo Clinic suggests the perfect amount of vitamin D that can substantially lower the risk of osteoporosis (a bone-thinning disease). You can get it from the food, but the amount is not sufficient to fill the daily requirement. The institute of medicine suggests the latest recommendation to be 600 international units (IU is made to measure fat-soluble vitamins, hormones, and enzymes that have different aspects of measurement for each substance. For instance, 1 IU of Vitamin E is equal to 0.67 mcg whereas, for vitamin D, 1 IU is equal to 0.025 mcg) of vitamin D for young and 800 IU for adults and over 70s per day. Though consuming 1000 IU to 2000 IU is not harmful per day too. Whereas other studies suggest the record to be much higher, for instance, the Endocrine Society Studies recommended intake of 1500 IU to 2000 IU of vitamin D per day for adults
Effects of deficiency:
- The most probable consequence of not getting enough vitamin D is soft and bent bones.
- Vitamin D deficiency can develop rickets in children leading to muscle weakness.
- Other problems in adults can come in the form of abnormality in bone metabolism, phosphorus, and calcium.
Benefits of this vitamin:
- Vitamin D is known to increase cell differentiation by suppressing the growth of new blood vessels. The study suggests people may have a higher risk of getting colorectal cancer if they have a lesser amount of vitamin D in the body. There is no definite conclusion on the effects of vitamin D for the prevention of cancer, but the research and studies look promising.
- Other studies related to research in heart disease suggest enough amount of vitamin D can regulate the hormones by suppressing the inflammation in the blood vessels. Framingham Heart Study proves that a patient has 60% more chances of getting heart disease if they have lesser vitamin D.
- National health and nutrition examination survey prove that the relation of pulse pressure and blood pressure with 25(OH)D levels in almost 12644 volunteers. Systolic blood pressure tends to regulate appropriately with the patients having sufficient vitamin D.
- Inadequate intake of vitamin D on a long-term basis may trigger the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. A study initiated by Finland health survey represents the risk of getting early Parkinson’s disease in the elderly population if they have an inadequate supply of vitamin D.
How vitamin D can help cancer patients?
Centre for Disease Control and Prevention claims that the second most cause for fatality in the US is Cancer. However, the American Society of Clinical Oncology says that continuous consumption of vitamin D for at least three years has been proven to help cancer patients live a longer life. Other than just giving healthy bones, this vitamin can cause a lot of significant benefits throughout the body.
Vitamin D significantly affects the cancer patient by lowering the risk of death. However, it hasn’t shown any proof to prevent the normal ones from getting cancer, suggested by Tarek Haykal, a physician from Michigan state university. Multiple studies regarding more than 79000 patients were looked at by the researchers regarding disease prevention.
The studies had a comparison of vitamin D usage and placebo for almost 3 years. Haykal zeroed down to the information relating to mortality or cancer incident. He suggested vitamin D to be very important for the cancer population by looking at the difference between placebo groups and vitamin D mortality rates. The statistics have shown how beneficial it can be for ongoing patients.
Though the findings look promising, the appropriate amount of vitamin to be taken by which stage’s patient for having its proper levels in the blood is not out there yet. The result regarding the extension of the life span after consuming vitamin D is also unclear.
According to Haykal, many research questions are still emerging, and the best possible solution he can say is to take vitamin D for 3 years to get any beneficial effects.
There is plenty of potentials for cancer patients to take vitamin D, but it should be done after seeing ontologists and experts. There is no definitive evidence, but vitamin D has claimed to slow down a few types of cancer. This nutrient which helps in building body bones and teeth can do a lot more than that. Present in sunlight, eggs, milk, cereals, it is an easy source for any patients.
It has proven to diminish the growth of cancer cells, decrease inflammation, stimulates cell death, reduces the growth of tumors via blood vessels, strengthens the immune system. Fewer research studies can also link the connection between a cancer risk with a person’s blood. The study of vitamin D and colorectal cancer gives the most robust evidence regarding it.
Dana Farber (2015) reported the patients with metastatic colorectal cancer didn’t survive long enough who lacked vitamin D levels in their blood before the targeted drugs and chemotherapy as compared to the patients who had higher levels of the same. Patients having high levels of vitamin D survived for an average of 32.6 months and the patients who lacked vitamin D lasted till 24.5 months. A different Dana-Farber study (2008) claimed that colon cancer patients having higher levels of vitamin D could live longer than those who had low levels of the same. 304 participants were involved in the research whose vitamin D level was measured two years before the diagnosis.
How much a patient should take per day?
Vitamin D has helped many people in improving their lifestyle and diet. Indeed, it can act as a breakthrough for patients suffering from cancer. According to the Institute of Medicine, if a cancer patient takes 3000 IU to 5000 IU per day of vitamin D, their health would gradually improve. It ensures to make your bones healthy and strong.
The aspect of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D in the blood is directly related to cancerous cells in the body. The insightful study was done years ago in Kenya by Maasai herders. The bodies of malignant patients were exposed to different levels of vitamin D. The professionals measure different blood levels with the amount of vitamin D they were able to receive in the body. Later, they found that about 50 nanograms per milliliter had been the level of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D in the body. That means, as an average adult, you need to take care of 3,000-5,000 IU almost every day of vitamin D.
According to Endocrine Society practice guidelines, average human suffering from cancer should take about 2,000 IU of vitamin D every day. Dr. Holick, who specializes in the effects of vitamin D in the body, eats about 5,000 IU of Vitamin D every day. That means, his blood level rises about 60 nanograms per milliliter. Apart from Vitamin D, High Dose Vitamin C treatment also helping to cure and fight with cancer.
How to take a supplement and how much?
SUNSHINE clinical trial provides natural conditions to people and guides them to take the supplements if a patient is suffering from cancer. In the trial, they included about 139 patients suffering from cancer. The professionals divided these people into two groups: one has 400 IU of vitamin D every day and others in took about 4000 international units. The only thing familiar was the chemotherapy given to the patients. The trial was able to measure the progress of disease and the impact of the level of vitamin D on takes on the body over time. This study went on for several months before providing relevant results.
According to the scientists, the patients who take high-dose of vitamin almost every day for several months wouldn’t face death or progression of the disease by 36%. However, they also noticed that the obese patient with cancer won’t suffer much difference as compared to the normal ones. Also, once the patients intake the usual dosage of vitamin D, which is 400 IU per day for several months, they won’t feel any physical changes concerning cancer. It shows that a high dosage of vitamin D supplements is required to reduce the chances of getting sick.
How taking vitamin K2, along with vitamin D, helps your body?
Vitamin D3 is essential to keep the bones healthy and increase calcium intake. Vitamin K2 is just as responsible as vitamin D3 for the complete absorption of calcium in the bones. It allows it to reach the bone mass and prevents arterial calcification. K2 helps in regulating blood clots while D3 supports the immune system.
Vitamin d3 helps in easy calcium absorption while K2 activates osteocalcin and protein to bring calcium into effect. Calcium cannot do its job effectively if it isn’t for vitamin K2 and D3 together.
Vitamin K2 promotes flexibility and arterial flow by activating matrix GLA protein for binding the excess calcium.
Side effects of excessive vitamin D
Vitamin D is no doubt good for health, but taking it in excessive form can lead to toxicity in the body. Taking more than 40000 international units per day for a prolonged period can increase the risk of hypercalcemia (high calcium level in blood). If overconsumption is still continued, it can lead to severe consequences such as abnormal heart rhythms, kidney failures, or coma. Other common side effects are:
- Frequent urination
- Bone pain
- Weight loss
- Muscle weakness
After going through suggestions from many studies showing vitamin D can have anticancer effects, a cancer patient may consider actually consuming it. Apart from all the studies mentioned above, there is more evidence associated with the link between cancer risk and vitamin D.
Many research and case studies performed on mice tumors, vitamin D profoundly inhibited the development of cancer thereby decreasing cancer cell growth and promoting cellular differentiation. By appropriate consumption of vitamin D, one can prevent acquiring specific types of cancer and risks involved in developing them. Vitamin D is an easy-to-get vitamin as it is available in many meals and in the form of food supplements. It can regulate insulin levels while supporting lung function, diabetes management, and improving overall cardiovascular health. Even though the body can produce vitamin D, one should consume them to have its practical benefits.