"Vitamin D can affect a colon cancer cell by adjusting everything from
its gene expression to its cytoskeleton. Recent research shows that one
pathway governs the vitamin's diverse effects, a result which helps to
clarify the actions of a molecule that is undergoing clinical trials as a
Vitamin D stymies colon cancer cells in two ways -- it switches on
certain genes, and it induces effects on the cytoskeleton. The net result is
to curb cell division and cause colon cancer cells to differentiate into
epithelial cells that settle down instead of spreading.
The recent study is the first to show that vitamin D's genomic and
nongenomic effects use one simultaneous pathway and integrate to regulate
a.. Science Daily November 26, 2008
a.. Journal of Cell Biology November 17, 2008; 183(4):697-710
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Here's yet more validation for the assertion that vitamin D has
a MAJOR impact on cancer rates around the world. In fact, there are another
800 scientific articles showing the effects of vitamin D on cancer.
Unfortunately, almost everyone, including people living in
subtropical environments, are deficient in this essential vitamin.
Decades of sun avoidance, excessive use of sunscreen, and air
pollution shielding the sun's ultraviolet rays are now taking their toll on
the human population everywhere.
In one of the largest vitamin D studies ever conducted, it was
determined that if vitamin D3 levels among populations worldwide were
increased, 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancers could be prevented
each year; nearly 150,000 cases of cancer in the United States alone.
But even beyond cancer, researchers have pointed out that
increasing levels of vitamin D3 could prevent numerous diseases that claim
nearly 1 million lives throughout the world each year!
How is this possible?
It's possible because vitamin D, aka "the sunshine vitamin," is
different from other vitamins. It's a powerful hormone precursor that
influences your entire body -- receptors that respond to the vitamin have
been found in almost every type of human cell, from your brain to your
bones. And, so far, some 3,000 of your 30,000 genes have been found to be
directly influenced by vitamin D.
It truly gives a whole new meaning to the word "essential"
How Vitamin D Affects Cancer
It's already been established that optimizing your vitamin D
levels could help you to prevent as many as 16 different types of cancer
including pancreatic, lung, breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon cancers.
The mechanisms by which vitamin D reduces your cancer risk are
fairly well understood. They include:
a.. enhancing calcium absorption (in the case of colorectal
b.. inducing cell differentiation
c.. increasing cancer cell apoptosis or death
d.. reducing metastasis and proliferation
e.. reducing angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels, which
promotes tumor growth)
f.. downregulating parathyroid hormone (PTH)
g.. up- or downregulating gene expression
Also worth mentioning here is that in another recent study,
researchers discovered that vitamin D induces a specific gene to increase
expression of a key enzyme that protects healthy prostate cells from
oxidative damage by free radicals that can lead to prostate cancer.
According to Yi-Fen Lee, lead researcher of the study published
in the June 15, 2008 issue of the International Journal of Cancer:
"Many epidemiological studies have suggested the beneficial
properties of vitamin D. Our findings reflect what we see in those studies
and demonstrate that vitamin D not only can be used as a therapy for
prostate cancer, it can prevent prostate cancer from happening."
Optimal vitamin D levels are known to positively influence the
following health conditions:
a.. Cold and flu
b.. Heart disease
d.. Inflammatory bowel disease
e.. Rheumatoid arthritis
f.. Multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis
The health benefits of optimal vitamin D levels are absolutely
extraordinary, and no one is making a penny from recommending higher vitamin
D status, which is one of the primary reasons why it's not being more widely
But, What are the "Optimal" Vitamin D Levels?
In late winter, the average American's 25-hydroxyvitamin D
levels range from 15 to 18 ng/ml. This is considered a SERIOUS deficiency
Based on the latest research available, the optimal range has
recently been raised to between 50 and 65 ng/ml. This is the range where
your body is finally beginning to store the vitamin in your tissues. Below
this level, your body is using it up as quickly as it's created.
The vitamin D level required for cancer protection, however, is
even higher; between 65-90 ng/ml.
The amount of ingested vitamin D3 and/or UVB exposure required
for optimal protection against cancer is still being determined. Each person
responds differently to UVB exposure and oral intake of vitamin D depending
on such factors as skin pigmentation, body mass index (vitamin D is fat
soluble), age, condition of digestive tract, other dietary factors, etc.
However, as a general guideline, you will get maximal amount of
vitamin D, about 20,000 units, if you are in the sun long enough to turn
large areas of your skin the very lightest pink. Anything beyond that is
unnecessary and will only contribute to premature skin aging, wrinkling and
The time to achieve this pink color could be as little as a few
minutes in some fair skinned individuals to a few hours for some very dark
If you are dark skinned you will need more sun exposure. If very
fair, you may need less. Use your skin as a guide; once your skin takes on a
very light pink flush, you've maxed out your vitamin D-making capacity. Stay
in the sun longer, and you'll likely just burn, which should be avoided.
The key though is to make sure you monitor your vitamin D levels
by blood testing, to make sure your levels are therapeutic and not toxic. I
advocate getting your vitamin D levels tested regularly, throughout the
But as I reported recently, you now need to beware of where you're
getting your test done. The single biggest concern in this area is Quest
Labs as their lab is reporting results as much as 40 percent higher than
other labs using a more reliable and accurate assay. That means, if you are
seeking to obtain levels similar to those that have been confirmed optimal
in the scientific literature, you will be falsely reassured by Quest's test