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low serum Vitamin D correlates with cancer - get tested

peterz54's picture
peterz54
Posts: 231
Joined: Feb 2012

This is very significant and I urge you to get tested. 

Research points to a clear relationship between Vitamin D and cancer, including recurrance and survival.

 You should make sure your level is clearly above 30 ng/ml, at a minimum.  Consensus among researchers suggest being 40 to 60 ng/l

one scientific presentation here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PsyaYNX1dw

 

as an add on, breast cancer survivor Carole Baggerly, started a non-profit to ge the word out about the link between Vitamin D and cancer and to facilitate more research.

her presentation  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQ-qekFoi-o

her organization http://www.grassrootshealth.net/

 

I must emphasis that my wife's oncologist never ordered a vitamin D test.   I requested her test be done and found it was low, just above 20, and we ive in Florida.   I did not at the time (early 2012) know that it takes many weeks to get serum level up if one uses only 1,000 to 2,000 IU a day, which will raise D an avergae of 10 to 20 ng/ml.   but each pperson is different, so please get tested and review the research.   

peter

 

 

PatchAdams
Posts: 272
Joined: Nov 2011

Dr. Garland suggests your number should be closer to 75ng.   My first test, prior to supplementing was 17ng.  After starting my supplements, it got to 37ng.  I'm now at 6,000 IU's daily and it's under 100ng but I don't know my exact number.  My onc's office  left the message that it was in a great range.  I'll get the exact number when I go in this coming April.   

 

When vitamin D was tested in patients with colon cancer it was found by Dr. Charles Fuchs in the Journal of Clinical Oncology published in June last year that the patients with the highest vitamin D levels lived longer suggesting that low levels may be associated with shorter survival

 

Livestrong says: Normal levels range from 30 to 74 ng/mL, according to Medline Plus.

D3: Watch the Youtube videos on Vitamin D3 and cancer by Dr. Cedric Garland. Here's one that's 39 minutes long. There are others which are much shorter. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PsyaYNX1dw

John23
Posts: 1832
Joined: Jan 2007

 

It should be also noted, that Vitamin D is produced by your own body when it is exposed to the sun for more than 15 minutes.

 

Your body’s process to  enable that conversion is more important than the vitamin itself!

 

Taking supplements is not the answer; using your gift of your body’s ability to take from life, what is needed to support your life, is (it’s part of our basic design; the further we stray from that, the more we suffer).

 

Best wishes,

 

John

RobinKaye
Posts: 93
Joined: Nov 2011

John, you're absolutely correct but have you spent a winter in Chicago.  Without supplements there is no way to keep the levels up unless you hit the tanning bed a couple times a week.  I sure want to get my D from sunshine but we won't be seeing enough of that until sometime in June.  

Studies show that blacks have a higher risk of getting crc especially in the northern areas.  First because of their skin color they don't absorb the sun at the same rate as a white person, 15 minutes of sunshine for me might do the trick but for them it could be an hour or more.  Put that with the fact that there is little sunshine for at least half a year and you have trouble.

So, while maybe not the best way to get your D, supplements are a good next best thing.

coloCan
Posts: 1850
Joined: Oct 2009
So Worried
Posts: 111
Joined: Aug 2012

I read that article the other day coloCan and I came across several more. 

One stated to be sure your vitamins are "a USP-verified product  

 

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1531
Joined: Mar 2010

My D levels have been consistently low, even in the summer, when I am in the sun a lot.  It was at 9 ng/l when first tested.  

My sisters also have very low D levels.  One is a farmer, who spends all daylight hours outside; the other lives in Hawaii, and spends her time out in the sun as well.  We do not process D from sunlight the way most people do, and all have to take supplements.  I am currently on 10,000iu D3/day (under medical supervision), and with that, have only gotten my D-levels into the 40s.  Plus, Vitamin D from supplements does not carry the risk of skin cancer.

We can't just rely on sunlight.

peterz54's picture
peterz54
Posts: 231
Joined: Feb 2012

You are a prime example of why the researchers consistently say - Get Tested.  Each person is different.  Some people do fine on 5,000 IU a day, other need more.  At least you are aboive 40 mg/ml.

peterz54's picture
peterz54
Posts: 231
Joined: Feb 2012

You are a prime example of why the researchers consistently say - Get Tested.  Each person is different.  Some people do fine on 5,000 IU a day, other need more.  At least you are aboive 40 mg/ml.

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1225
Joined: Oct 2010

Many of us with cancer have a deficient Vit D and Vit B. No matter what my diet, how much time I spend outside, I have low levels of Vit D and B. 

 

When one makes a blanket statement about one should just get it naturally, I wonder if they do not think that many still have to take supplements no matter what they do.  May be some people's body's do not work correctly and that is why they have cancer?

 

This forum is to share experiences and be positivee for each other. Not to be argumentitive and one sided. I am glad to read about  various people's sucesses. Be respectful about other's journey with Cancer.  Also, herbs are herbs. There are not medical strength herbs in TCM!  There are various herbs put together that have, unarguably good results. (There are 796 herbs that have well backed research for TCM on various types of cancer. Not to mention numerous teas or concoctions from the many herbs.)  The various strengths of the teas and concoctions are what is in question. Some practioners can get it correct and others do not.   No different then chemo treatments that various amounts and time lines have varried results. 

 

Best Always, mike

maglets's picture
maglets
Posts: 2406
Joined: Jun 2006

I realize that it must be very difficult for some to realize how little sun others actually receive.  I live to the east of the Great Lakes in Canada....this enormous inland body of water causes cloud formations over much of the winter season.  It is now February and I can honestly say since Oct I cannot remember having spent a day outside in the sun....yes indeedy 5 months...and the it is not over yet...some days if there is sun the temperature is well below zero.  In December the sun sets at 4.45pm....very nicely dark by 5pm when people are coming home from work...My husband and I try to get out and walk on any day that promises a bit of sun.  We will hike looking for a warmish spot...a place to perhaps take off your hat for a minute to catch some rays......this is rare .....

it is totally understandable if our vitamin D from sunshine in northern climes is deficient....

 

mags  gosh I just googled it....i live in one the worst cities for sunshine....in January we had 35 hours of sun....in one month....yikes....

 

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
pete43lost_at_sea
Posts: 3915
Joined: Nov 2010

John and all,

I for one tried the sun, it did not work. Some vitamin d is converted in the kidney and liver to the active form. If you’re on chemo that process is significantly reduced.

My understanding is getting vitamin d while on chemo from the sun in difficult. Have you seen the movie "mission impossible”, at least for me, I needed 10,000 per day.

If you opinion was left unchallenged, vitamin d will still be considered optional, which for me it is not.

The answer is in measuring the vitamin d levels and also knowing your vitamin d genetic characterizes. We can discuss these points later, the education on these essential points a few clicks away.

Relying on the sun for this essential vitamin while most are locked away in hospitals or in office or doing jobs is committing them to low vitamin d levels and what that implies!!!!

Just read all the research, please read it all. I have read heaps, vitamin d is so essential; I started suggesting its benefits years ago.

I have posted so much on here about vitamin d, many have. The research keeps on coming out. But opinions for some don't change, which is fine.

We have free will, and must make our own minds up our health. Vitamin d is a great example to a newbie cancer patient. It’s still not widely advised by oncologists. That lack of advice a true reflection of the level of care they can deliver given the constraints of the medical system patients exist within.

Having good vitamin d levels is so essential for immune function. It’s the first thing they measure when I went for my vaccine.

I don't mean to be argumentative, but effective supplementation, not what most of us do or have done, is essential to beating this illness or maximizing our potential to do so or giving us the best quality and quantity of life possible.

What’s effective should be determined by comprehensive tests that are beyond the reach of conventional medical treatments available to most.

Our biology is what it is; its fundamental requirements are not met by our lifestyles, and certainly not by our conventional medical system. Our society’s health issues are clear reflection of this fact. TCM will not fix most of the preventable lifestyle problems, a very healthy diet and lifestyle with exercise will go a long way to fixing or preventing most, cancer included. Most biological weaknesses after the lifestyle is in place can be addressed by effective supplementation.

I have just expressed only my opinion. We can just do our best. If my comment causes stress forget it, nothing is more important than peace of mind.

If you read the vitamin d papers and think its good, well ask your oncologist?

If your oncologist says “yes” then take it with a smile, great. You have also shown your oncologist you are a thoughtful interested cancer patient invested in your own survival.

If the oncologist says, no. Well then you still decide you care in my opinion. I kept on taking mine when my oncologist said it’s useless. I have had 6 oncologists, I pray my remission continues, I doubt it would have if I had stayed with oncologist number 1.

Either way by making an informed medical decision is essential to good health and our survival.

The vitamin d issue highlights the weakness of our current conventional oncology practice like no other issue. This debate is really positive.

Good health to everyone.

Hugs,

Pete

ps some of our friends on erbitux cannot go out in the sun, so what then, oh and we also have the melanoma risk to consider. I love the sun, but I am not going to increase my cancer risk. Vitamin D on iherb, was on sale for $5 per year for a bottle. I have heaps, if you want it and cannot afford it, pm me.

pps so are we arguing the principle or the practical. Oh you need to take 4 drops each morning, that costs $5 per year. Are we really having this debate. Alas the answer is yes, and thats the reason why our survival statistics for this disease and most cancers are so heart breaking. Always with the best intentions.

peterz54's picture
peterz54
Posts: 231
Joined: Feb 2012

I would just add to what Pete wrote about discussing Vit D supplementation with your oncologist.   By all means, but if he or she renders an opinion make sure you understand what they are basing that opinion upon.   My cardiologist shrugged off my mention of Vit D, and I subsequently came across research by another cardiologist who spent a lot of time looking at the issue and he concluded Vitamin D is vital.   Point is, most physicians are not very knowlegable when it comes to diet and supplements and do us a disfavor by not saying that when they render an opinion   They need to use the phrase "I don't know" more often.  So ask, undertand if they are informed on the issue or just giving what in effect is a layman's opinion, which is often useless.  

peterz54's picture
peterz54
Posts: 231
Joined: Feb 2012

John,

 

The key thing is to get one's Vitamin D serum levels up.  At least above 30 ng/ml.   My wife, who passed last Sept, had a value in low 20s, based on a lab test I ordered - none of her doctors ever requested this.     There are many people who cannot get out 10 to 15 minutes a day with half their body exposed in order to generate sufficient D.   Or they live in an area where UVB is very low and they would need hours of exposure to be of value.   I agree that our body needs Vitamin D, and that is just what the researchers are saying, but advocating sun only sends the wrong message to people who can't get enough UVB that way to make a difference.

luvinlife2
Posts: 172
Joined: Jul 2012

This is why I take mine in a cream form.  25,000IU/mm once a day.  Keeps my level at optimum and I don't have to worry about taking another pill or that the pill I'm taking isn't all that it should be.  Rubbing on the inside of my arms make my body utlilize it the same as if I were in the sun.  I'd rather thave the sun anyday but we get more rain than anything.

lastorm2
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2012

Hello luvinlife2,

Could you please tell me what the name of the cream is & who manufactures it. Taking enough pills or capsules already. Need vita D like so many others!

Thank you for your time,

LaRae

Phil64's picture
Phil64
Posts: 461
Joined: Apr 2012

Do you get this test through your oncologist?

Is it part of the blood work they typically do?

Where do you go to buy the supplements?

West Michigan is low on sunlight too and being treated with Erbitux the recomendation (at least I think???) is to stay out of the sun...

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1531
Joined: Mar 2010

and the supplements I take are OTC.  However, your MD will give you an Rx version, if your counts are low.  That will be a high potency (50,000iu) capsule of vitamin D2 to be taken once or twice a week.  My body didn't respond to that either.  I need to get the D3.  After a year on 2 of those/week plus 2,000iu D3 daily, my counts were still low.  An integrative med MD at Memorial Sloan Kettering set me up with just using D3, and in 4 weeks had my levels normal (20,000iu D3/day for 2 weeks, followed by 10,000iu/day for life.  We tried lower, but then my counts dropped.)  However, high dose D3 is not available as an Rx, only D2.

Our bodies respond differently to different things.  For me, vitamin D is a problem.  I can't make it from sunlight, and the plant form (D2) has no effect.  For other people, sunlight and/or D2 work fine.  My Brother-in-law (a vegan) found that the D2 made him nauseous and wasn't helping, so he is now on the D3 and doing fine.  He concedes to use the animal form, as his body requires it.  (Btw, he is also a farmer, and has low D  levels despite spending his days outdoors.)

tanstaafl's picture
tanstaafl
Posts: 969
Joined: Oct 2010

Many have found that the expensive 50,000 iu D2 Rx's don't work for them.  It's crazy when inexpensive 10,000 and 50,000 iu D3 supplements are available.  

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1225
Joined: Oct 2010

This is a site that has reasonably priced vitamins.  https://www.nuvalife.com

 

They also have many promotional codes they send to your email.

 

Best Always, mike

PatchAdams
Posts: 272
Joined: Nov 2011

First, Phil, I have to ask for the test.  I buy my supplements at Walmart.  Spring Valley (dark green bottle) is a highly respected brand.  The owner purchased the company after having a child with serious health issues. 

 

I live in the deep south and even with spending time outside every day when it's not cold, my levels remained low.  I read a study that said by age 45, people begin to not absorb and use Vit. D3 from the sun well. By age 75, it drops by another 50%.  The study said that in England, mid day exposure of 20 minutes for a 45 year old person would result in an increased reading of 15ng.  An older person would increase their serum levels by less than 8ng.  

 

Older adults have inefficient cutaneous vitamin D photosynthesis.  In the elderly, their thinned epidermis may contain less 7-dehydrocholesterol, the cell membrane constituent that UVB converts to pre-vitamin D3.

coloCan
Posts: 1850
Joined: Oct 2009

using is truly of quality with no unnecessary,harmful ingredients, like silica, and with an accurate doseage? I've come across one site that you have to pay to get reports;haven't done so there.Any suggestions?

RobinKaye
Posts: 93
Joined: Nov 2011

You might be referring to Consumer Lab.  I can't copy and paste (tried) but will be happy to tell you if a paticular 

brand is approved and what the comments are.  They tend to analyze the more common brands, not the 'high-end' and specialty type brands.

 

Robin

 

RobinKaye
Posts: 93
Joined: Nov 2011

If you (or anyone) sends me a private message with your email I'd be happy to send you the list.  

 

Robin

coloCan
Posts: 1850
Joined: Oct 2009

that was the place i had tried but decided not to partake.....steve

YoVita's picture
YoVita
Posts: 541
Joined: Mar 2010

Thanks for checking in.  Hope your life is on the mend.  

peterz54's picture
peterz54
Posts: 231
Joined: Feb 2012

Thank you Vita.   Almost 8 months now.   It is a slow process.  

 

I feel for everyone here, and in the other cancer forums.      

PatchAdams
Posts: 272
Joined: Nov 2011

My reading is 101.  I take 6,000 IU's daily to reach that.  

Aicirtap's picture
Aicirtap
Posts: 46
Joined: Apr 2013

I also haven't heard much about vitamin D and cancer yet. his doctors (Germany) have never addresses nutrition or sports which is why it's a little bit of a struggle to get him to do something on that end - he reluctantly chows down what I give him - and gives me this: if it makes you happy, fine smile ;) are there side effects to vitamin d supplements or having too high levels when not on chemo? Just wondering if one had to take the tests (preparing for another battle with him ;) or could you just take supplements because there is no downside? Thanks! 

vinaykumar
Posts: 66
Joined: Dec 2012
LindaK.
Posts: 320
Joined: Apr 2013

I asked my husband's oncologist about this very subject on Tuesday.  He said most supplements could throw the effects of the chemo.  They only suggested a multi-vitamin during treatment and to get 10 minutes/day in the sun.  I know everyone is different, but I think we will ask our GP to test his levels after treatment and both of us will start taking the 5,000 IU pills.

Interesting reading.  I've heard about the D3 levels from some of my breast cancer survivor friends - they swear by it.

Thanks

RobinKaye
Posts: 93
Joined: Nov 2011

Linda, I'll probably get flamed for this but sometimes doctors don't know squat when it comes to supplements.  Vitamin D3 is not an antioxident in the same vein as he is referring to.  Yes, he's right that certain supplements can interfer with chemo but haven't heardthis anywhere when it comes to D which is actually a hormone...not a vitamin.  There are a lot of studies to read, of course be careful ofthe wackos but be equally as skeptical of some of the mainstream studies which will tell you that in studies they found that the recommended dose of D cannot be proven to ...fill in the blank.  The recommended dose referred to is 400mg/day, enough to prevent rickets.

My husband at my insistence had his D checked, he was at 19, started on 5K D3/day and it went down to 18.  It took almost a year at 10K to get him to 35, which may be in range but is still too low.  

Your doctor is correct that sitting in the sun is the best way to get your D.  However, this depends on where you live.  I'm in the Chicago area, I doubt there are five months in any given year when you can get enough D from sunlight.  Also, to get the necessary D from the sun in ten minutes you have to be sitting out virtually nude.  Age also plays a factor as do certain drugs which prohibit the absorption ofD.  Older people tend to not manufacture as much D as younger people, statins will also prohibit D's absorption just to name two          examples.  This is one area where you should study and decide for yourself.  

It's probably been about thirty years since we were all told to lather up in sunscreen and stay indoors.  I wish I could remember the doctors name but I remember the story.  He came out at the time and tried to fight the new recommendations saying that the problems which would come from lack of D would be much worst that the few who get melanoma which is more a result of sunburn...not a suntan. He was fired from his university position for bucking the system...now, he is a hero.  He tells the story of sitting next to a black woman on a plane.  They were discussing his research and she asked him what she could do to lessen her chances of getting cancer to which he replied, "get a tan".  Blacks are at paticular risk of cancer when they live in the northern hemisphere which statistics bear out.  Their skin is dark for a reason...to block the sun in tropical climates.  In the north though it does not let in enough sunlight and they don't make as much D putting them at higher risks for different cancers, colon being one of them.

It's up to you to decide what is best.  While you are getting your husband tested, make sure you test yourself.  I did and was at 54 which is really good but I wouldn't mind a bit higher...it was winter, summer will get the numbers up.  

LindaK.
Posts: 320
Joined: Apr 2013

Thank you for all the info.  I know we are new to cancer and the more I find out, the more questions I have.  My husband is 60 and does not work.  We live in western NY which is about the same as Chicago weather-wise.  He gets outside every day since he got off oxaliplatin and once we finally got nice weather here.  I have had mine checked and was on a super Vitamin (presecription 1/week) but I'm sure I'm low again - almost everyone I know who lives here is.  I take a supplement but know it is not enough.

How is your husband feeling taking all that vitamin D?  Does it affect his stomach or bowels?  I'm a little hesitant to have my husband start anything since he has extreme constipation from the leucovorin and 5FU - we are struggling to stay on top of that.  He had an obstruction about a month ago and we definitely want to avoid that again.  He will have 5 more treatments of leucovorin and 5FU only, no more oxaliplatin.  He was stage II and had a right hemi-colectomy in December, resection successful.  He's been through a lot and really hates all this extra stuff he has to do.  I'm trying to keep the positive big picture in mind - hopefully we will never have to deal with cancer again (but always knowing we may) after he gets through this treatment.

I don't take offense to any comments or suggestions.  As I said, I'm new to it and want to find out all I can.  Would the statins prevent absorption from the sun and a supplement?  He takes generic Lipitor (atorvastatin) so maybe this would block any Vit D3 from helping.  I also just read something about statins reducing colorector cancer by 50% - too late for that in his case!

Each person is different and with having so many doctors involved in his care, it's hard to know who is in charge.  We've been told during treatment the oncologist is the "lead" doctor. (not by the oncologist by the way).  Once treatment is over, we will schedule a physical with our primary to get an idea about the future. 

I'll keep reading.....

RobinKaye
Posts: 93
Joined: Nov 2011

I have always had a 'thing' about vitamin D, read all the studies etc.  When my kids were little I was the bad mom who didn't

lather them up with sunscreen before they walked out of the house, only using it for the times where it was likely they could burn: on

the lake, a day at the Jersey shore or Florida in winter, otherwise just felt I was slathering on chemicals and keeping them from

getting healthy sunshine.  Remember when our grandmothers said to put the baby out for a sunbath? 

 

Anyway, you have to decide.  I have never come across anything that suggests that D causes constipation, it would be the last thing

I would blame for gastro side affects.  I read about the statins reducing crc as well but they also reduce absorption of D so a quandry.  

 

You said that you took a prescription of D when low for a short period of time?  I know this is how doctors deal and when the number 

goes up they say you're fine now.  Not true, you need a steady dose of D to keep the levels up.  As long as your numbers don't go 

too high there is no risk.  If you get over a hundred or so you may be at risk of hypocalcemia but I doubt you are at risk of that happening.  

 

Remember when your husband goes out for some sun he should have his shorts on and that's it.  Go for the midday sun to get the

most results...just don't burn.  Considering he is 60, has crc and is on statins I would stay out longer than the recommended 15 minutes, 

especially in NY...there just isn't that much sun.

 

Robin

tanstaafl's picture
tanstaafl
Posts: 969
Joined: Oct 2010

My wife was vit D insufficient while on 12,000 iu vitamin D3 per day with chemo.   As you see in the photo, we're not a northern exposure either.  Many colorectal cancer patients simply don't get much vitamin D3 from the sun.

Also common multivitamins (and fortified foods) have folic acid that is varying degrees toxic with 5FU.  Folic acid almost derailed my wife's tx.  L-5 methyl tetrahydrofolate is the preferred natural type of folate.  Calcium folinate (leucovorin) is much less toxic than folic acid.   Multivitamins with L5MTHF or leucovorin are harder and more expensive to get.  We mix our own multi vitamin formula from scratch.    

Doctors are consultants.  The buck actually stops with the patients.

 

merrysmom's picture
merrysmom
Posts: 46
Joined: Jun 2011

Hello, I read your comments about serum vitamin D and forced my doctor to give me the test. The D2 test came out 4 and the D3 test came out 30. She never commented on it. Right now I have a high INR and a high PTT. I had one huge gush of blood when  going to the bathroom. I thought I would have to go to the hospital if it did not stop. My endoscopy mentions 3 lymphoid aggregates. I am not sure what those are. Has anyone heard of that? I had my colorectal surgeon say that those should have been biopsied. It is difficult to get anyone to listen. I have golfball size lumps on my right side and down by my stoma area. I am worried but the docs seem to feel I am overreacting. Anyone have advice for me? Sorry for rambling, just so many things going on.

Thanks, barb

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