Vitamin D is one of the most researched and explored supplements. Vitamin D supplementation in deficient patients has been part of our program for wellness for many decades. In 2020 numerous studies have come out in support of supplementing vitamin D in people with certain cancers.
Over the years, researchers have found that vitamin D deficiency may be used as a marker to help screen patients who may be at risk for cancer.
This was demonstrated in a March 2020 study where researchers wrote:(1)
Over the past two decades, many studies reported the benefits of higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]. Researchers found significant benefits in reducing risk of acute respiratory tract infections, many types of cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus, premature death, and adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes.
Measuring 25(OH)D concentrations is one way to both increase the awareness of vitamin D’s importance in maintaining good health and to encourage vitamin D supplementation or increased solar ultraviolet-B exposure to sustain well-being throughout life by reducing disease incidence.
Although 20 ng/ml seems adequate to reduce risk of skeletal problems and acute respiratory tract infections, concentrations above 30 ng/ml have been associated with reduced risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes. Thus, judicious testing of 25(OH)D concentrations could reduce disease incidence and make treatment expenditures more cost-effective.
Benefits in colorectal cancer, respiratory diseases, and digestive cancer and diseases
An April 2020 (2) study suggested that that vitamin D might be important for preventing death due to some cancers, respiratory diseases, and digestive diseases. In cancer this was seen particularly in colorectal cancer. Higher 25(OH)D concentrations were also associated with a lower risk of death due to diseases of the respiratory system particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diseases of the digestive system.
A February 2020 (3) study noted that vitamin D has been shown to suppress the growth of cancer cells in colorectal cancer; esophageal cancer; and gastric cancer. In this study investigators suggested that vitamin D supplementation may be effective in improving relapse-free survival among digestive tract cancer patients with low bioavailable 25(OH)D levels.
Benefits in mantle cell lymphoma
An April 2020 (4) study found in 40 out of 70 patients with Mantle cell lymphoma a subtype of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, researchers found that 25-OH vitamin D deficiency was significant enough in these cancer patients that low levels of vitamin D could be used as a diagnostic tool for this cancer and guide a more effective prognostic capacity.
Benefits of vitamin D on malignant behavior of non-small cell lung cancer cells
A November 2020 study (5) suggested that “Vitamin D can inhibit the proliferation, invasion and metastasis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells A549 and NCI-H1975 and promote apoptosis, up-regulate the sensitivity of chemotherapy drugs.”
Benefits in breast cancer
Vitamin D in Estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) breast cancer
An April 2020 study (6) found that among Estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) breast cancer patients, increases in 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations meant lower risk of recurrence. Researchers also found that (proliferation of cancer, migration of cancer, and inflammation) were significantly down-regulated in ER-positive tumors of women with high 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, compared to those with low levels.
In breast cancer
A January 2020 study from Pakistan (7) explored the assessment that serum vitamin D deficiency was associated with increased risk of breast cancer, while vitamin D supplementation was associated with decreased risk of breast cancer. In testing Pakistani women, where vitamin D deficiency is common, the researchers found that raising and maintaining serum vitamin D at population level is a safe and affordable strategy. It may play a role in reducing the incidence of both vitamin D deficiency and breast cancer, particularly among poor women where the breast cancer mortality is highest due to limited resources for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment.
Vitamin D and p53 crosstalk
P53 is a gene that makes a protein that plays a key role in controlling cell division and cell death. This protein is found inside the nucleus of cells. The relationship between vitamin D and and p53 is the subject of numerous studies investigating the crosstalk or communication between the p53 gene and vitamin D.
A 2020 study in the journal Advances in experimental medicine and biology (8) confirms this communication between p53 and vitamin D and its implication in cancer suppression.
“It has now been convincingly shown that vitamin D and p53 signaling protect against spontaneous or carcinogen-induced malignant transformation of cells. The vitamin D receptor and the p53/p63/p73 proteins (described as the p53 family) exert their effects as receptors/sensors that turn into transcriptional regulators upon stimulus. (p53 is stimulated by excessive radiation of UV light (too much sun) and by signals from cell membranes that there is an abnormality in cell division, as is present in cancer.) The p53 (also) responds to a large and still growing number of alterations in cellular homeostasis commonly referred to as stress Interestingly, a crosstalk between vitamin D and p53 signaling has been demonstrated that occurs at different levels, has genome-wide implications, and is of high importance for many malignancies, including non-melanoma skin cancer.”
This builds upon early research that suggests that higher levels of vitamin D MAY help p53 suppress cancer growth. One of those previous studies published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (9) published by the American Association for Cancer Research wrote: “The evidence that higher vitamin D levels through increased sunlight exposure or dietary or supplement intake inhibit colorectal carcinogenesis is substantial. And vitamin D3 and its analogues induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, so it potentially could be used for cancer prevention.”
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness
Supplementation of vitamin D may only be one part of the program to help support cancer patients. The Magaziner Center’s Comprehensive Cancer Support Program combines conventional, complementary and functional therapies individualized to the needs of each patient. We place great emphasis on an extremely thorough series of lab tests to evaluate the metabolic pathways of cells as they proliferate in the immune system, inflammatory markers, antioxidant defenses, nutritional status, and overall toxic burden to the body. Most of our patients have already been through the rigors of conventional treatments but have either experienced adverse side effects or unsatisfactory outcomes or both.
Our whole-body approach to cancer includes a variety of therapies, such as dietary modifications, nutrient supplementation, intravenous vitamin C, oxidative therapies, immunotherapy, detoxification, nutrition, lifestyle modifications, exercise therapy, spirituality and mind-body techniques, including stress management and meditation, all with the goal of strengthening the immune system and restoring normal cellular function.
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1 Grant WB, Al Anouti F, Moukayed M. Targeted 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration measurements and vitamin D3 supplementation can have important patient and public health benefits. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2020;74(3):366–376. doi:10.1038/s41430-020-0564-0
2 Heath AK, Hodge AM, Ebeling PR, et al. Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and cause-specific mortality in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2020;198:105612. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2020.105612
3 Urashima M, Okuyama M, Akutsu T, Ohdaira H, Kaji M, Suzuki Y. Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Survival of Digestive Tract Cancer Patients with Low Bioavailable 25-Hydroxyvitamin D levels: A Post Hoc Analysis of the AMATERASU Randomized Clinical Trial. Cancers (Basel). 2020;12(2):347. Published 2020 Feb 4. doi:10.3390/cancers12020347
4 Xu DM, Liang JH, Wang L, et al. 25-Hydroxy vitamin D deficiency predicts inferior prognosis in mantle cell lymphoma. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2020;146(4):1003–1009. doi:10.1007/s00432-020-03125-w
5 Songyang Y, Song T, Shi Z, Li W, Yang S, Li D. Effect of vitamin D on malignant behavior of non-small cell lung cancer cells. Gene. 2020 Nov 13:145309.
6 Peng C, Heng YJ, Lu D, et al. Pre-diagnostic 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in relation to tumor molecular alterations and risk of breast cancer recurrence [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 1]. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2020;cebp.1217.2019. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-1217
7 Shamsi U, Khan S, Azam I, et al. A multicenter case control study of association of vitamin D with breast cancer among women in Karachi, Pakistan. PLoS One. 2020;15(1):e0225402. Published 2020 Jan 22. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0225402
8 Reichrath J, Reichrath S, Vogt T, Römer K. Crosstalk Between Vitamin D and p53 Signaling in Cancer: An Update. InSunlight, Vitamin D and Skin Cancer 2020 (pp. 307-318). Springer, Cham.
9. Maruyama R, Toyota M, Suzuki H, Sasaki Y, Aoki F, Shinomura Y, Imai K, Tokino T. The functional relation of vitamin D receptor and p53 in cancer cells.