Friday, September 4, 2009

Vitamin D

In the last post, I mentioned placebo controlled trial showing that 1100 IUs of vitamin D3 resulted in a 77% reduction in all-cause cancer over a 3 year observation period. There is also a
mountain of epidemeological evidence that vitamin D protects against cancer (and just about everything else). However, the placebo trial is significant because it is the gold standard of evidence, making it very hard to dismiss or debunk.

However, the study has nonetheless been subject to some criticism. The most potent criticism that I have seen is that the rate of cancer in the control group was higher than government statistics would have suggested for the demographic tested. In response to this cirticism, the study authors noted that their study was randomized and the results had a p value of less than 0.005. The study authors also noted the mountain of epidemiological evidence on their side. I think that's a winning argument. Anyway, even if the government cancer statistic was used, vitamin D supplementation still reduced the rate of cancer by about a half in this study.

Whether vitamin D protects against esophageal adenocarcinoma specifically is unclear. There is a study from Italy finding that it protects against esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCCE). On the other hand, in a study conducted in a poor and polluted province in China, where almost everyone studied was actually vitamin D deficient, slightly higher, but still deficient, levels of vitamin D were associated with slightly more SCCE. Between the two study populations, I think the Italian study has more to do with me. Of course, SCCE is a different disease than adenocarcinoma anyway. For these reasons, I don't think the China study is worth worrying about at all.

Also, now there is even a good reason why vitamin D protects us from cancer.

From March through July, I took 2500IUs of vitamin D3 per day in a gel cap and my levels rose to 45 ng/ml. After my test, I increased my D to about 3000IU per day hoping get a tiny bit higher.

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