This one’s for all those naysayers out there. (And trust me, they number in the bazillions.)
It may have taken years—not to mention millions of dollars and thousands of lives lost—to get to this point. But it seems that the mainstream has finally come around on at least one supplement. (Albeit far too late to the party, as usual.)
You may recall that studies have already linked higher blood levels of vitamin D with higher survival rates in patients with colorectal cancer. But now, there’s a phase 2 clinical trial—aptly named the SUNSHINE trial—showing that high-dose vitamin D supplements can slam the brakes on the disease’s progression.
This was the first study of this scope. And it showed that high dose vitamin D boosted survival by roughly two months. So yes, I’d say it’s a pretty big deal.
The patients in this study all had metastatic colorectal cancer for which they had not received previous treatment. The trial included a standard chemotherapy and cancer drug regimen—along with high and low doses of vitamin D.
The high-dose group took 8,000 IU of vitamin D as a “loading dose” for two weeks, and then continued with 4,000 IU daily. (Still too low by my standards, but I’ll come back to that.) The low-dose group took the measly standard RDA of just 400 IU daily.
Chemo cycles were closely matched in both groups, and they all took their vitamin D supplements regularly. Both groups also had similar tumor locations.
But in the end, the high-dose vitamin D group saw the greatest benefit. Median progression-free survival—that is, survival time during which the cancer did not grow or spread—was 13.1 months in this group. As compared with 11.2 months in the low-dose group.
That’s a reduction in disease progression risk of more than 30 percent—and two whole extra months during which these patients’ cancer was stopped in its tracks. All without any increased toxicity. (And with a significant reduction in incidents of serious diarrhea, to boot.)
These results are impressive all by themselves. But then there’s this: The low-dose group began the study with a higher performance status on average compared with the high-dose group. Which means that the high-dose group benefited from slower disease progression despite being in worse shape, physically.
I think it’s safe to call this another stunning victory for vitamin D3. And another critical reminder that, even if you don’t take any other supplements, you absolutely must take this one.
Think about it: The subjects in this study were untreated, metastatic-disease ridden patients—the toughest cases imaginable. And yet, vitamin D still prevailed as a treatment.
But even if you aren’t in such dire condition, you really can’t afford to skip this supplement. Because as I mentioned above, previous research has linked higher blood levels of vitamin D with better survival rates, too. Which means that maintaining healthy levels is one of your simplest and most effective forms of protection against cancer, period.
That’s why you have to get tested regularly. And keep in mind that your blood levels should be around 80. Do not let your doctor convince you that you’re fine simply because you fall within the “normal” range. (Which is anything above 29.) There is a world of difference between this so-called “normal” level and an optimal, truly healthy level.
And if your numbers aren’t up to snuff, don’t be afraid to take large amounts to get those levels where they need to be, either. The paltry 400 IU you’ll find in most multivitamins is nowhere near an effective dose for most people.
I always recommend at least 5,000 IU daily. And I personally take 10,000 IU per day. Most personal physicians would be shocked by that number. But with regular monitoring, a dose this high is perfectly safe—and it may very well save your life.