If vitamin D3 levels among populations worldwide were increased, 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancers could be prevented each year, according to researchers from the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

This includes nearly 150,000 cases of cancer that could be prevented in the United States alone.

The researchers estimate that 250,000 cases of colorectal cancer and 350,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented worldwide by increasing intake of vitamin D3, particularly in countries north of the equator.

The study examines the dose-response relationship between vitamin D and cancer, and is the first to use satellite measurements of sun and cloud cover in countries where blood serum levels of vitamin D3 were also taken.

Serum vitamin D levels during the winter from 15 countries were combined, then applied to 177 countries to estimate the average serum level of a vitamin D metabolite among the population.

An inverse association between serum vitamin D and the risk of colorectal and breast cancers was found.

Protective effects began when 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels (the main indicator of vitamin D status) ranged from 24 to 32 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). In the United States, late winter 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels ranged from 15 to 18 ng/ml.

Previous research has suggested that raising levels to 55 ng/ml was actually optimal to prevent cancer, the researchers said.

To increase your vitamin D3 levels, the researchers recommended a combination of dietary methods, supplements and sunlight exposure of about 10 to 15 minutes a day, with at least 40 percent of your skin exposed.

Nutrition Reviews August 2007 Volume 65, Supplement 1, pp. 91-95(5) (Registration Required)

The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology March 2007; 103(3-5):708-11

Eurekalert August 21, 2007

Dr Mercola’s comments:

The dangers of sun exposure have been greatly exaggerated, and the benefits highly underestimated.  Sun exposure is not the major reason people develop skin cancer. I know many of you might be surprised by this, but this is simply not the truth, and buying into this lie will most assuredly deprive you of the vital benefits the sun can provide.

And one of the major benefits is lowering your risk of getting cancer — the number one cause of death. As this groundbreaking study found, 600,000 cases of cancer could be prevented every year just by increasing your levels of vitamin D, and without question, the best way to obtain your vitamin D is by UVB sunlight falling on unexposed skin in doses that do not cause sunburn.

Even beyond cancer, the researchers pointed out that increasing levels of vitamin D3 could prevent diseases that claim nearly 1 million lives throughout the world each year!

That is absolutely extraordinary, and NO ONE is making a penny from this recommendation, which is one of the primary reasons why this is not being more widely promoted.

The Endless Benefits of The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is different from other vitamins in that it 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.

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.

Further, optimal vitamin D levels are also known to positively influence the following conditions:

    * Heart disease

    * Diabetes

    * Inflammatory bowel disease

    * Rheumatoid arthritis

    * Multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis

How to Get Enough Vitamin D (and What Level is Optimal)

Optimal vitamin D levels lie in a very small range. To be certain your levels are where they should be, have your doctor test your blood and supplement (or, preferably, get moderate sun exposure) as needed in order to maintain that level.

The correct test your doctor needs to order is 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

The OPTIMAL value that you’re looking for is 45-52 ng/ml (115-128 nmol/l).

Bear in mind that even though 25-hydroxyvitamin D lab values of 20-56 ng/ml (50-140 nmol/l) are considered “normal,” your vitamin D level should NEVER be below 32 ng/ml, and any levels below 20 ng/ml are considered serious deficiency states and will increase your risk of breast and prostate cancers and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Now, how should you get your vitamin D levels into that optimum range? Ideally, from sun exposure. This is always the preferable method.

However, I realize that sometimes it just isn’t possible to get out into the sun as much as you’d like (particularly if you’re in the middle of a Chicago winter, which is the dilemma much of my staff at The Optimal Wellness Center faces!).

If you decide to supplement your diet with vitamin D, there are two crucial things to know:

    * It IS possible to overdose on oral vitamin D supplements (there’s very little risk of overdosing on vitamin D from the sun, however), so you need to have your blood levels of vitamin D measured regularly.

    * Only vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), the type of vitamin D found naturally in foods like eggs, organ meats, animal fat, cod liver oil, and fish, is appropriate for supplementation. Do NOT use the highly inferior vitamin D2.

To find out more about the crucial importance of sunlight and vitamin D for your health, my forthcoming book Dark Deception will explore this topic in detail, and expose why the conventional wisdom on the subject, which encourages you to stay out of the sun, is dead wrong.

My new book, Dark Deception, goes into FAR more details but it will be coming out next year.

In the meantime, you can find out the vital details you need to know to keep your vitamin D levels where they need to be throughout the upcoming fall and winter seasons in my brand new Sunshine Special Report.  I decided to make this report available to you now so you don’t have to be at the mercy of my publisher and wait till next year.

Folks there is still rampant confusion out there (see the post below about oral vitamin D). That is why I wrote this TWENTY PAGE Report to clear it up and give you a resource before the book is published.  I am confident the information in this report can clearly have a profound impact on your health and those of your family.  You simply need to understand how to use this wonderful FREE nutrient.

Related Articles:

New Evidence, Sunshine DOES Slash Your Cancer Risk

Critics Now Accept the Sun as Your Healthiest Source of Vitamin D

Bet You Did Not Know This About Vitamin D