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vitamin D supplementation

At what point do they throw in the towel and just admit that a vitamin supplement (specifically, vitamin D) might help you avoid becoming a cancer victim?

By "they" I mean those mainstream medical wonks who always pipe up with a comment like this: "On the basis of this study, I would not recommend vitamin D supplementation."

That quote comes from an academic with an expertise in cancer prevention. He said "There have been far too many examples in the past where preliminary studies of this type led to recommendations for supplementation that later we found to be either not helpful or harmful."

Right. Well, if you want to dig in with a stubbornly myopic view of just one single study, then sure – withhold your recommendation. Meanwhile, those of us who are interested in preventing cancer right NOW will look at recent research, combined with plenty of past research, and conclude that vitamin D supplementation is a signed/sealed/delivered no- brainer.

Especially when it comes to "supplementing" with a few rays of sunshine whenever possible.

Very receptive

The academic's comment above refers to a new study that every woman needs to know about.

Here's why: Lead researcher, Professor  Goodwin  said   "Previous research has shown that breast cancer cells have vitamin D receptors, and we can slow down the growth of these cancer cells and take away some of their aggressiveness with vitamin D."

That's a very encouraging insight! So Prof. Goodwin and her team tested blood samples for more than 500 breast cancer patients. Each sample was taken at the time of cancer diagnosis. Health records were followed for 10 to 15 years.


    * About 75 percent of the subjects were vitamin D deficient at the time of diagnosis
    * Those who were vitamin D deficient were nearly 95 percent more likely to later find their cancer had spread compared to the patients with adequate vitamin D levels
    * Almost 75 percent of the vitamin D deficient women were more likely to die from their cancer compared to women with adequate D levels

Given that these revealing results confirm previous research, and given Prof. Goodwin's note about slowing down cancer cell growth with vitamin D, would you like to guess what she has to say about supplementation?

Geez, it's just too predictable. She said that she wouldn't encourage cancer-free women to begin taking vitamin D supplements as a preventive measure.

Give the sun just 10 minutes…

I'll give  points for balancing out the supplement negativity with some positive commentary from  Glück, M.D., Ph.D., – the director of a breast cancer institute at the University of Miami. Dr. Glück: "All my patients are on vitamin D. They should [take one vitamin D supplement] per day, or prior to sun exposure, put your sunscreen on 10 minutes after you are exposed."

And Dr. Glück offers this important guide: You'll pick up about 12,000 IU of vitamin D with just 10 minutes of direct sunlight exposure.

That's an important recommendation. But Dr. Glück lives in Miami where year-round sun exposure is a way of life. So if you live more than, say, 600 miles north of Dr. Glück, you're going to need to find additional methods for keeping your D level up.

And the next time you visit your doctor, ask him about testing your vitamin D level with a "25-hydroxy vitamin D" blood test – the most accurate test for determining vitamin D deficiency.
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