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VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY IS IT A ROOT CAUSE OF CHRONIC ILLNESS AND CANCER??? Seventy seven percent (77%) of U.S. teens and adults are deficient in vitamin D (less than 30ng/mL), ten years earlier, fifty-five percent (55%) were deficient, in the so-called “sunshine vitamin” whose deficits are increasingly blamed for everything from cancer and heart disease to diabetes.

Recent scientific studies have found that the level of Vitamin D in most people, while adequate to protect against rickets, is not high enough to lower the probability of other medical conditions that may be caused by insufficient amounts of Vitamin D.

W. Michael Hooten, M.D., et al., from Mayo Comprehensive Pain Rehabilitation Center in Rochester, Minn. reported that about one in four patients who have chronic pain also have inadequate blood levels of vitamin D, which might contribute to their pain. Patients who did not have enough vitamin D also needed higher doses of morphine for a longer period of time.

Dr. Philippe Autier, et al., found that… Ecological and observational studies suggest that low vitamin D status could be associated with higher mortality from life-threatening conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes mellitus that account for 60% to 70% of total mortality in high-income countries

Higher serum levels of the main circulating form of vitamin D, (25(OH)D), are associated with substantially lower incidence rates of colon, breast, ovarian, renal, pancreatic, aggressive prostate and other cancers.5,6

In a 2007 study, Dr. Garland, et al., combine data from 29 observational studies in their report, which appears in the journal Nutrition Reviews. They concluded that in North America, “a projected 50% reduction in cancer could be achieved by increasing the intake of Vitamin D so that the blood level reaches 42ng/mL and breast cancer has to get to about 50ng/mL.

In a 2009 study, Dr. Garland, et al., projected that raising the minimum year- around serum 25(OH)D level to 40 to 60 ng/mL (100–150 nmol/L) would prevent approximately 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer each year, and three fourths of deaths from these diseases in the United States and Canada, based on observational studies combined with a randomized trial. Such intakes also are expected to reduce case-fatality rates of patients who have breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer by half.

At Dana-Farber and Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, researchers are helping illuminate how vitamin D may play a beneficial role in colorectal cancer, health disparities, pediatric stem cell transplants, and overall disease prevention.

Working with Fuchs and others, Dana-Farber’s Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH, explored the potential impact of vitamin D on cancer patients. A study she co-led found that colorectal cancer patients with the highest vitamin D levels in their blood were 48 percent less likely to die (from any cause) than those with the lowest vitamin D measurements. Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent among patients with stage IV colorectal cancer receiving firstline chemotherapy, particularly in black and female patients.

Evidence that vitamin D reduces the risk of many types of disease is increasing exponentially. In 2011, 3,100 publications with “vitamin D” in the title or abstract were published, up from 2,606 in 2010, 1,303 in 2005, and 796 in 2000. Based on the latest findings, raising the year-around 25(OH)D level above 40 to 60 ng/mL could have a significant impact on overall cancer rates.


  1. Adit A. Ginde; et al., “Demographic Differences and Trends of Vitamin D Insufficiency in the US Population, 1988-2004” Arch Intern Med, Mar 2009; 169: 626 – 632.
  2. Gerry Schwalfenberg, MD CCFP, Clinical lecturer in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada“Not enough vitamin D” Can Fam Physician Vol. 53, No. 5, May 2007, pp.841 – 854 Copyright © 2007 by The College of Family Physicians of Canada.
  3. W. Michael Hooten, M.D., et al., “Lack of Vitamin D may Worsen Chronic Pain,” American Society of Anesthesiologists 2007 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, October 13-17, 2007.
  4. Philippe Autier, MD; Sara Gandini, PhD, “Vitamin D Supplementation and Total Mortality – A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials” Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:1730-1737.
  5. Garland, Cedric F.; Grant, William B.; Mohr, Sharif B.; Gorham, Edward D.; Garland, Frank C. “What is the Dose-Response Relationship between Vitamin D and Cancer Risk?” Nutrition Reviews, Volume 65, Supplement 1, August 2007 , pp. 91-95(5).
  6. Garland, Cedric F.; et al.,“Low Vitamin D May Be Root Cause of Cancer” Annals of Epidemiology, Volume 19, Issue 7, July 2009, pp. 468-483.
  7. Ng, Kimmie M.D., et al, “Vitamin D Status in Patients With Stage IV Colorectal Cancer” J Clin Oncol. 2011 April 20; 29(12): 1599–1606.

-Mayer Eisenstein

MD JD MPH Dr Eisenstein’s Daily Minimum Recommendation for Vitamin D intake

  • Get a Vitamin D blood test25(OH)D

  • Make sure your whole family has adequate blood levels of Vitamin D this flu season (>50 80ng/ml). Most children and adults Vitamin D blood level is <30ng/ml.

  • Adults ……………………………. 5,000 IU daily

  • Children …………………………. 1,000 IU/25lbs

  • Chronic conditions………………….. 10,000IU daily At the first symptoms of a cold or flu 1,000IU/ lb. daily for 7 days. Examples:

  • 50 lb daily 50,000IU daily.

  • 100 lb daily 100,000IU daily.

  • 150 lb daily 150,000IU daily.

  • 200 lb daily 200,000 IU daily

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