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There's overwhelming evidence indicating that vitamin D deficiency plays a crucial role in cancer development. Research has identified a number of vitamin D's protective mechanisms against cancer, including:
- Regulating genetic expression
- Increasing the self-destruction of mutated cells (which, if allowed to replicate, could lead to cancer)
- Reducing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells
- Causing cells to become differentiated (cancer cells often lack differentiation)
- Reducing the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous
Researchers within this field have estimated that about 30 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented annually simply by optimizing the vitamin D levels in the general population. On a personal level, you can decrease your risk of cancer by MORE THAN HALF simply by optimizing your vitamin D levels with sun exposure. And if you are being treated for cancer it is likely that higher blood levels-probably around 70-100 ng/ml-would be beneficial.
If the notion that sun exposure actually prevents cancer is still new to you, I highly recommend you watch my one-hour vitamin D lecture to clear up any confusion. It's important to understand that the risk of skin cancer from the sun comes only from excessive exposure. Meanwhile, countless people around the world have an increased risk of cancer because their vitamin D levels are too low due to utter lack of sun exposure.
I strongly recommend optimizing your vitamin D levels with appropriate amounts of sun exposure because when your skin is exposed to the sun, in addition to creating vitamin D3 it also synthesizes high amounts of vitamin D sulfate and cholesterol sulfate-both of which are very important for heart- and cardiovascular health. In fact, research by Dr. Stephanie Seneff suggests that heart disease may be a symptom of cholesterol sulfate deficiency, and healthy cholesterol and sulfur levels are both highly dependent on your vitamin D levels...
Vitamin D sulfate is a water soluble form of sulfur that can travel freely in your blood stream, making it readily available, while oral vitamin D3 is unsulfated, and therefore needs LDL (the so-called "bad" cholesterol) as a vehicle of transport. Dr. Seneff's suspicion is that the simple oral non-sulfated form of vitamin D may not provide as much of the same heart-healthy benefits as the vitamin D created in your skin from sun exposure, because it cannot be converted to vitamin D sulfate, and therefore will not improve your sulfur status.
Furthermore, sulfur deficiency also promotes obesity and related health problems like diabetes, so all in all, the importance of getting regular sun exposure simply cannot be overstated.
If you can't get enough sun exposure during certain parts of the year, I advise using a safe tanning bed to allow your body to produce vitamin D naturally. Safe tanning beds have electronic ballasts and produce less UVA than sunshine.
A third option is taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement. According to the most recent findings by Carole Baggerly, founder of GrassrootsHealth, her research of nearly 10,000 people shows the ideal adult dose appears to be 8,000 IU's a day to get most into the healthy range. Just remember to get your vitamin D levels tested regularly if you take an oral supplement.
Posted by Dr. Mercola