Presented by

Humaira Khan, MBBS, MCPS, MHSc, Medicor Epidemiologist and CEO

and Akbar Khan, MD, Medicor Medical Director

There is still controversy about the use of vitamin D as a cancer prevention tool, despite the fact that the current medical research sends a clear and consistent message! As a result of this research, we currently use high dose daily vitamin D supplementation (typically 5,000 – 10,000 IU per day), with routine monitoring of blood vitamin D levels. We encourage you to review the literature yourself, and see what you think. A sample of publications is provided on this page. Full text articles are available by clicking the medical journal titles. Please note that Canadian units for measuring blood vitamin D level are nmol/L (normal range 75-250), and American units are ng/ml (normal range 30-100). Different research papers may use different units. Proper use of high dose vitamin D requires a little assistance from your naturopathic doctor or family doctor, for blood monitoring and dose adjustment advice.

Akbar Khan, MD

Medicor Director, Medicor Cancer Centres

Vitamin D and Inflammation

“Everything from depression to cardiovascular disease to cancer and autoimmune disorders is theorized as having inflammation as a core etiological factor.” “…studies are complicated by the wide variation in doses of vitamin D used as well as the method of administration.” “…we found that 6 out of 7 randomized controlled trials of vitamin D3 [supplementation] in highly inflammatory conditions found significant reductions [of inflammation]” “Vitamin D tends to modestly lower markers of inflammation in highly inflammatory conditions, when baseline 25(OH)D levels were low and when achieved 25(OH)D levels [after supplementation] were higher.” John J. Cannell , William B. Grant, and Michael F. Holick

Use of Vitamin D in Clinical Practice

“…vitamin D deficiency is implicated in most of the diseases of civilization.” “…a meta-analysis of 18 randomized controlled trials [showed that] supplemental vitamin D significantly reduces all-cause mortality…” “Treatment of vitamin D deficiency in otherwise healthy patients with 2,000-7,000 IU vitamin D3 per day should be sufficient to maintain year-round 25(OH)D levels between 40-70 ng/mL.” “Vitamin D-deficient patients with serious illness should not only be supplemented more aggressively than the well, they should have more frequent monitoring of serum 25(OH)D and serum calcium.” John J. Cannell, MD and Bruce W. Hollis, PhD

Vitamin D Supplement Doses and Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in the Range Associated with Cancer Prevention

“The supplemental dose [of vitamin D] ensuring that 97.5% of this population achieved a serum 25(OH) D of at least 40ng/ml was 9,600 IU / day.” “…the absence of apparent toxicity is not surprising.”

A positive feedback signaling loop between ATM and the vitamin D receptor is critical for cancer chemoprevention by vitamin D

“…1,25-vitamin D promoted expression of the DNA repair genes RAD50 and ATM, both of which are critical for mediating the signaling responses to DNA damage. Correspondingly, 1,25-vitamin D protected cells from genotoxic stress …Depletion of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) reduced these genoprotective effects…defining an essential role for VDR in mediating the anti-cancer effects of 1,25-vitamin D. ”

Health Outcomes of Vitamin D - Role in Prevention of Diseases

“In the group of 16,818 participants of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey an association between plasma levels of vitamin D and reduced mortality from colorectal cancer was observed. Subjects with higher vitamin D blood levels (≥80 nmol/L) had a 72% lower risk of colorectal cancer death…”

Vitamin D Deficiency Predicts Prostate Biopsy Outcomes

“We examine serum vitamin D levels with prostate biopsy results in men with abnormal PSA and/or digital rectal examination.” “In African American men, vitamin D deficiency was associated with increased odds of prostate cancer diagnosis on biopsy. In both European American and African American men, severe deficiency was positively associated with higher Gleason grade and tumor stage.”

Orally Active Vitamin D for Potential Chemoprevention of Posttransplant Malignancy

“Active Vitamin D Compounds (AVDs) were significantly associated with a lower risk of post-transplant malignancy… AVDs are potential chemopreventive agents against post-transplant malignancy in kidney transplant recipients.”

Prevalence of Vitamin D Insufficiency in Survivors of Childhood Cancer

“The prevalence of 25-OH D insufficiency in these cancer survivors was high…Since cancer survivors are at a higher risk for subsequent malignancies, cardiovascular disease, and low bone mineral density, all of which may be affected by 25-OH D levels, interventions to improve 25-OH D status in this vulnerable population are needed. ”

Increased dietary vitamin D suppresses MAPK signaling, colitis, and colon cancer

“Animals [mice] fed increased concentrations of dietary vitamin D demonstrated significant protection against inflammation and tumor formation…Our studies show that dietary vitamin D supplementation offers a way to improve vitamin D status and provide protection from inflammation-associated colon cancer while avoiding vitamin D toxicity.”

Vitamin D intake and lung cancer risk in the Women’s Health Initiative

“Prospective cohort data from 128,779 postmenopausal women, including 1771 incident lung cancers in the Women’s Health Initiative (Clinical Trials and Observational Study) 1993–2010, were analyzed…Vitamin D intake was associated with a lower lung cancer risk in never-smoking, postmenopausal women.”

As you can see, extensive research has been conducted on vitamin D and cancer. Despite the mounting evidence that relatively high daily doses of vitamin D are needed for adequate cancer prevention, doctors continue to use guidelines that have not kept up with the research; the public is still generally advised to take 1,000 IU per day. We suggest that you educate yourself by reading the more current research to form your own conclusions. We also recommend that you consult with a health professional who is an expert on the subject, such as a naturopathic doctor. We believe that will allow you to enhance your own cancer prevention strategy today!

Humaira Khan, MBBS, MCPS, MHSc

Epidemiologist and CEO, Medicor Cancer Centres