Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that helps your body absorb and regulate calcium levels in your bones. We intake Vitamin D through sunlight, food sources, and supplements. But Vitamin D may do more than regulate our calcium levels. New scientific research has found that increasing Vitamin D may actually help fight cancer, heart disease, and other health problems.
Increasing Vitamin D May Help Fight Cancer
Scientific research on animals has shown that increasing Vitamin D can kill cancer cells and cut off the blood supply that feeds these tumors. A study published in 2007 using 1200 post menopausal women found those who took calcium supplements and 1100 international units (IU) of Vitamin D a day had a 60% lower incidence of cancer rates than those taking a placebo. It should be noted that this study used a group of women taking calcium and Vitamin D, not just Vitamin D alone.
Increasing Vitamin D May Help Fight Heart Disease
Researchers studying animals and human cell cultures have found Vitamin D may protect your heart by controlling the hormones responsible for high blood pressure and inflammation. And so far, research findings are encouraging. In one trial, men and women with less Vitamin D in their blood stream were 3 times as likely to develop hypertension. In another study, subjects with Vitamin D levels in the blood below 15ng/ml had a 60% greater chance of a heart attack.
Increasing Vitamin D May Help Fight Auto Immune Diseases
Vitamin D helps reduce inflammation, a necessary characteristic when dealing with auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis. In 2009, the results of a small trial of 25 MS patients found those who took 14,000 IU of Vitamin D daily for a year had fewer relapses than those who took only 1000 IU of Vitamin D a day. Studies involving larger populations must be done before any definitive conclusions can be drawn regarding Vitamin D’s effects on MS patients.
Increasing Vitamin D May Help Fight Depression
In 2008, a study on overweight subjects done at the Institute of Clinical Medicine in Norway found those who took 40,000 IU of Vitamin D weekly for a year were more likely to have a lower score on a test measuring depression than those taking the placebo.
Disclaimer: A patient with any of the diseases listed in this article should NOT substitute prescribed medical treatment with increasing Vitamin D without speaking to their physician first.
Alice Park, The Vitamin D Debate, Time Magazine, August 30, 2010, p66
Michele Grodner, Sara Long, Bonnie Walkingshaw, Foundations and Clinical Applications of Nutrition: A Nursing Approach Chapter 7 ‘Vitamins’ p 146 Mosby/Elsevier, CA 2007
Charlene Laino, High Doses of Vitamin D Cut MS Relapses, WebMD, April 28, 2009
Vitamin D and Cancer Prevention: Strengths and Limits of the Evidence , National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet, cancer.gov
Effects of vitamin D supplementation on symptoms of depression in overweight and obese subjects: randomized double blind trial (abstract from US National Library of Medicine National Institutes for Health on PubMed.com)