Oddly, before I had breast cancer I took almost every supplement Shaklee had to offer EXCEPT Vitamin D. I think by the time they introduced that supplement I had enough. I didn’t feel like adding one more supplement. I am not sure how much of a difference it would have made because I found that I had an absorption issue that could not be remedied by supplementation. Vitamin D is one of the essential nutrients for breast health and one of the first supplements that is recommended by natural practitioners. I don’t know how low my Vitamin D levels were when I had breast cancer because it was only until I asked for the test after months of supplementing did I get my results. I was taking 5000 IUs and continue to do so all year round and add a few hundred extra IUs in the winter and more when I am fighting a cold.
Research shows that most people are severely deficient in Vitamin D, even those who receive sunlight exposure. It is recommended that vitamin D3 should be a supplement most people take for its numerous health benefits, including cancer prevention.
Vitamin D kills cancer by promoting cell differentiation and supporting apoptosis (normal programmed cell death), as well as helping to prevent metastases and angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation needed for cancer to grow and spread.)
Mammographic density is considered a strong risk factor for breast cancer. Women who had a combined daily intake of 100 IU or more of Vitamin D combined with 750 mg or more of calcium demonstrated decreased breast density compared to women with lower intakes of the two nutrients,Â suggesting that adequate consumption of Vitamin D and calcium may reduce breast cancer risk.
Compared with sun-deprived women, women from lower, sunnier latitudes typically have lower rates of breast cancer. Additionally, the women from sunny places who consumed the most dietary vitamin D (from foods and supplements) enjoyed a greater breast-risk reduction than the women who consumed less dietary vitamin D (a combination of ample sun exposure and ample vitamin D intake was associated with the greatest risk reduction, compared with getting vitamin D from either sunlight or diet alone.)
The Food & Nutrition Board of the U.S. Institute of Medicine just tripled the recommended daily allowances for vitamin D3 from 200 IU for adults to 600 IU. However, most naturopathic physicians recommend at least 1000 IU per day (my wife Sandy is taking 17000 IU per day; the ideal amount should be based upon blood testing for vitamin D levels.) For cancer patients, a target goal for Vitamin D3 blood levels should be at least 60-80 ng/ml and maybe even closer to 80-100 ng/ml (most people have levels less than 35, with 35 being a minimum level for health.)
New research shows that even higher daily doses of oral vitamin D3 (10,000-50,000 IU/day) are unlikely to be associated with toxicity (defined as blood levels above 200 ng/ml.) Blood levels above 100 ng/ml may increase the risk of a heart arrhythmia called atrial fibrillation, so most naturopathic doctors prefer to keep levels at 100 ng/ml or less. The best dose for each person to reach a target range of 60-100 ng/ml is best determined by blood testing due to individual response to supplemental vitamin D3.