Vitamin D is the gift that keeps on giving. Unfortunately, way too many people remain deficient—in part because most mainstream doctors don’t know any better. But I’m hopeful that maybe that’s finally set to change.
If nothing else, it’s become abundantly clear during this pandemic that populations with lower vitamin D levels suffer the worst COVID-19 outcomes. And if that’s what it takes for the mainstream to take notice of the enormous benefits of having “high” levels, then so be it.
Of course, the findings I want to share today don’t have anything to do with COVID at all. They deal with the other “c-word”—cancer. And more specifically, vitamin D’s uniquely powerful ability to reduce cancer deaths among an older population.
Benefit by the numbers
This most recent finding stems from three different reviews published back in 2019, all showing significant reductions in cancer mortality—a consistent drop of 13 percent—with vitamin D supplementation. That’s a big deal!
In fact, the German researchers behind this study were so impressed that they want everyone over the age of 50 years to be taking a daily dose of the sunshine vitamin.
The authors also discussed the cost savings of such a measure, at length. (American researchers don’t usually tend to care about that sort of thing. If anything, cancer treatment is a full-blown for-profit industry, at this point. But as I’ve shared here before, being trained in England within the National Health Service [NHS], I personally had to know the price tag of everything I prescribed. It’s something I’m still mindful of today, and I’m grateful for it.)
These researchers project that if every older German supplemented to the tune of 25 mcg (1,000 IU) of vitamin D per day (a terribly low dose, for the record), it would prevent nearly 30,000 cancer deaths every year. And it would cut the country’s annual bill for cancer care by more than $300 million!
As usual, the study authors were stunned by the magnitude of the benefit and the cheapness of the solution. But I’m not sure what rock they’ve been living under. Because if they had been paying attention, they would have heard about the miraculous powers of vitamin D a long time ago…
More bang for your buck
Now, let’s look at the stats these researchers compiled for the United States.…
In the U.S., giving a five-cent vitamin D supplement to everyone over 50 would cost us $2.2 billion per year. But it would help prevent 78,000 cancer deaths. It would help save us $3.7 billion in healthcare costs. And it would help tack a collective 870,000 extra years onto older Americans’ lifespans, to boot.
Of course, notably, researchers explained that vitamin D didn’t appear to have any effect on cancer incidence in any of the studies.
This would suggest that vitamin D doesn’t work by stopping cancer from developing altogether. But that it impacts the invasiveness of the cancer—that is, its aggressiveness and how likely it is to metastasize, or spread. Which is even more impressive when you consider the costliness of more conventional cancer treatments.
To look at this in a different way, consider the fact that vitamin D costs $2,529 per year of life saved. Now, that may sound like a lot. But the authors point out that letrozole, which is a breast cancer drug, costs $71,084 per year of life saved. Meanwhile, atezolimumab—a more catch-all cancer drug—costs $94,965 for each extra year of life it saves.
I don’t know about you, but a cheap vitamin D supplement sounds like a much better option to me. Which is why I recommend D supplementation to all of my patients—and why I take it myself every day, as well.
Of course, most mainstream doctors consider a level of 30 ng/mL to be “adequate”. But this will only save your bones from disintegrating. Whereas levels between 80 to 90 ng/mL are “optimal”—because that’s where all the health benefits kick in. So, start by having your vitamin D 25 OH blood levels screened regularly (twice a year).
Then, if your levels come back less-than-optimal, I recommend a daily dose of 250 mcg (10,000 IU) to 375 mcg (15,000 IU) of vitamin D daily. Meanwhile, I typically recommend 125 mcg (5,000 IU) to 50 mcg (2,000 IU) to maintain already-optimal levels.
P.S. I exposed the many new, exciting cancer treatment advances that offer hope for a less barbaric future in last month’s issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“My comprehensive guide to navigating a cancer diagnosis”). If you missed, be sure to look in the archives. And if you’re not yet a subscriber, consider becoming one today. All it takes is one click
“Vitamin D for All Over 50s to Prevent Cancer Deaths?” Medscape Medical News, 03/17/2021. (medscape.com/viewarticle/947603)