On Tuesday, I told you how getting more melatonin could be the surprising secret to beating breast cancer. Today, I want to talk to you about a slightly less surprising—but equally powerful—ally against this disease.
I’m talking about vitamin D. If you’re like most Americans, you don’t get enough. And it could be killing you.
I mean that quite literally. A recent meta-analysis looked at data from more than 4,000 breast cancer patients. Researchers categorized women with vitamin D levels around 30 ng/ml as subjects with “high” levels. (Not nearly high enough, in my opinion. But I’ll get to that in a moment.)
Women categorized as “low” on vitamin D had levels of 17 ng/ml. (By the way, this number also represents the average vitamin D of the average American breast cancer patients in the U.S. And it’s woefully deficient.)
Results showed that breast cancer patients with the highest vitamin D levels had better survival odds than women with lowest levels. And I mean much better. These women were half as likely to die from the disease.
Yes… vitamin D really is that important.
Which is why everyone should have a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test—especially cancer patients. And you should re-test every six weeks, until your levels are where they should be. Which, I should add, is a whole lot higher than your doctor probably thinks.
A level of 30 might be sufficient. But that’s not the same as optimal. And when you’re fighting cancer, you can’t afford anything less. So aim for closer to 80 ng/ml instead.
Your best source of vitamin D will always be sunshine. (Twenty minutes daily of mid-day rays—without sunscreen—is all it takes.) But obviously, this prescription isn’t always practical.
That’s why I always recommend supplementing with at least 2,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3. (Even in the summer.) But depending on your blood levels, you may need as much as 10,000 IU per day.
“Meta-analysis of Vitamin D Sufficiency for Improving Survival of Patients with Breast Cancer.” Anticancer Res. 2014 Mar;34(3):1163-6.