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Ian Clements’ Vitamin D research

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on April 21, 2011


Vitamin D

Contents

YouTube presentations: 2

Vitamin D Prevents Cancer: Is It True?. 2

Gabriele Stähler on Vitamin D3. 2

Most Americans Seem to Have Healthy Levels of Vitamin D.. 3

Vitamin D Linked to Lung Cancer Survival, Study Suggests. 3

Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk. 4

Associations of circulating and dietary vitamin D with prostate cancer risk. 4

Tanned women live longer (as long as you sunbathe sensibly), say scientists. 5

Taking Vitamin D, Calcium Supplements Not Necessary. 6

Impact of oral vitamin D supplementation on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in oncology  7

Serum vitamin D and risk of bladder cancer in smokers. 8

Insufficient Vitamin D Levels in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patients Linked to Cancer Progression and Death  9

Vit D and Bladder Cancer 11

Vitamin D Levels Confusion. 11

Vitamin D Deficiency Confirmed as Common Across a Range of Rheumatic Conditions  12

Vitamin D: With Meals, or Without?. 12

“Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic discovered that taking vitamin D with large meals boosts its absorption dramatically. 12

Vit D Research Video. 12

Vitamin D deficiency linked to more aggressive lymphoma. 12

Peter Granger’s Views. 13

Wikipedia. 14

Jan Alexander’s Views. 15

Vitamin A Reduces Vitamin D’s Effectiveness. 15

Vitamin D and Calcium Interplay Explored. 16

Recommended Level of Vit D.. 17

ask for the 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test 18

Vitamin D Crucial to Activating Immune Defenses. 18

Chemical Reaction that Enables Activation. 19

Activating and Deactivating the Immune System.. 20

Vitamin D, Miracle Drug: Is It Science, or Just Talk?. 20

The Roles of Vitamin D Binding Protein in Human Immune Function. 23

Abstract: 23

Results: 24

Discussion: 25

Citations: 25

From: Peter Granger (pete.granger@GMAIL.COM) 26

The Anticancer Effects Of Vitamin D3. 27

Vitamin D Levels Associated With Survival in Lymphoma Patients. 27

Meta-analysis of longitudinal studies: Serum vitamin D and prostate cancer risk. 29

Aim.. 29

Conclusions. 29

Does Vitamin D Treat Cancer?. 29

It’s not that simple… 29

Summer diagnosis prolongs life. Why?. 30

Sunlight’s robust treatment effect 31

So, how much vitamin D does one need?. 31

Vitamin D’s unique behavior 32

25(OH)D level should be greater than 60 ng/mL.. 33

Little to no risk. 33

The real risk: waiting for further studies. 34

Vitamin D Can Alter Colon Cancer Cells In Many Ways, Through One Pathway. 34

Macrophage Activation May Suppress Breast Cancer Metastasis. 35

Immunotherapy of metastatic colorectal cancer with vitamin D-binding protein-derived macrophage-activating factor, Gc-MAF. 36

Colon cancer: prognosis for different latitudes, age groups and seasons in Norway. 37

Circulating Vitamin D3 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D in Humans: An Important Tool to Define Adequate Nutritional Vitamin D Status. 37

Abstract 37

Introduction. 38

Materials and Methods. 38

Results. 40

Discussion. 40

References. 42

Women With Breast Cancer Have Low Vitamin D Levels. 43

Real Help for Cancer?. 44

High Levels of Vitamin D in Older People Can Reduce Heart Disease and Diabetes. 47

VITAMIN D TESTING 48

Inadequate Levels of Vitamin D May Significantly Increase Risk of Stroke, Heart Disease and Death  49

Heart and Bone Damage from Low Vitamin D Tied to Declines in Sex Hormones. 50

Vitamin D linked to lower heart disease risk. 52

Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency, Study Suggests. 54

Low Vitamin D Levels Associated With More Asthma Symptoms and Medication Use. 55

Researchers Recommend Pregnant Women Take 4,000 IU Vitamin D a Day. 56

Low Vitamin D Levels Are Related to MS Brain Atrophy, Cognitive Function, Studies Show   57

Vitamin D Deficiency Associated With Chronic Fatigue in Brain Injured Patients. 59

Better Vitamin D Status Could Mean Better Quality of Life for Seniors. 60

Effect of 25-hydroxyvitamin D status on serological response to influenza vaccine in prostate cancer patients  61

YouTube presentations:

Vitamin D Prevents Cancer: Is It True?[i]

Gabriele Stähler on Vitamin D3[ii]

Most Americans Seem to Have Healthy Levels of Vitamin D[iii]

WEDNESDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) — Nearly two-thirds of U.S. residents have sufficient levels of vitamin D levels, but about a fourth of the population is at risk for vitamin D inadequacy and 8 percent are at risk for vitamin D deficiency, a new federal government study indicates.

An additional 1 percent of Americans have vitamin D levels high enough that could be harmful, according to the report, released Wednesday by researchers at the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The body needs vitamin D to help it absorb calcium, which is a requisite for healthy bones. Muscles and nerves need vitamin D to function properly, and it helps the immune system fight off disease. Too little can lead to thin, brittle bones; extremely high levels can be toxic.

Vitamin D can be absorbed naturally from sunlight or obtained through foods or dietary supplements.

The National Institute of Medicine defines sufficient vitamin D by the amount registered in the blood: as a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D value of 50-125 nmol/L. A value of 30-49 nmol/L is defined as inadequacy and less than 30 nmol/L is considered a deficiency.

For their report, the researchers analyzed data from 2001 to 2006 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It included people aged 1 and older.

The analysis showed that the risk for vitamin D deficiency differed by age, sex and race or ethnicity.

By age, the risk for deficiency ranged from 1 percent to 8 percent among males and from 1 percent to 12 percent among females. For both sexes, the risk was lowest among children aged 1 to 8 and increased significantly until age 30 in men and age 18 in women. After that, the risk changed little as people aged, the study found.

Whites were less likely to be at risk for vitamin D deficiency than blacks or Mexican-Americans.

Among women of childbearing age, those who were pregnant or lactating were less likely to be at risk for vitamin D deficiency than those who weren’t pregnant or lactating.

Though vitamin D deficiency became more common in the United States between 1988-1994 and 2001-2002, the study found, risk for the deficiency did not change between 2001-02 and 2005-06.

About 4 percent of males 12 years and older had vitamin D levels that put them at risk for deficiency in 1988-1994, and 17 percent were at risk for inadequacy. Those numbers had risen to 7 percent and 22 percent, respectively, by 2001-2002, according to the study.

Among females 12 and older, vitamin D deficiency rose from 7 percent in 1988-1994 to 11 percent in 2001-2002. However, the proportion of females with inadequate levels of vitamin D dropped from 30 percent to 25 percent in that time.

Vitamin D Linked to Lung Cancer Survival, Study Suggests[iv]

ScienceDaily (Mar. 1, 2011) — Recent research suggests vitamin D may be able to stop or prevent cancer. Now, a new study finds an enzyme that plays a role in metabolizing vitamin D can predict lung cancer survival.

The study, from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, suggests that this enzyme stops the anti-cancer effects of vitamin D.

Levels of the enzyme, called CYP24A1, were elevated as much as 50 times in lung adenocarcinoma compared with normal lung tissue. The higher the level of CYP24A1, the more likely tumors were to be aggressive. About a third of lung cancer patients had high levels of the enzyme. After five years, those patients had nearly half the survival rate as patients with low levels of the enzyme.

Researchers then linked this to how CYP24A1 interacts with calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D. CYP24A1 breaks down calcitriol, which has a normal and crucial role when kept in check. But when levels of CYP24A1 climb, the enzyme begins to hinder the positive anti-cancer effects of vitamin D.

Results of the study appear in Clinical Cancer Research.

Previous studies have linked low levels of vitamin D to a higher incidence of cancer and worse survival. Researchers are looking at using vitamin D to help prevent lung cancer from returning and spreading after surgery. This new study suggests the possibility of using CYP24A1 levels to personalize this approach to those likely to benefit most.

“Half of lung cancers will recur after surgery, so it’s important to find a way to prevent or delay this recurrence. A natural compound like vitamin D is attractive because it has few side effects, but it’s even better if we can determine exactly who would benefit from receiving vitamin D,” says study author Nithya Ramnath, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School.

Researchers also are working to identify drugs that block CYP24A1. Blocking the enzyme would reinstate the positive anti-cancer effects of vitamin D, suggesting that this inhibitor could potentially be combined with vitamin D treatments.

Note: Current recommendations call for 600-800 IU of vitamin D daily, depending on age. Studies looking at vitamin D in lung cancer are testing medically administered doses 200 times what could be taken by mouth naturally. Taking large amounts of vitamin D supplements is not currently recommended to prevent or treat lung cancer.

Lung cancer statistics: 222,520 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year and 157,300 will die from the disease, making it the biggest cancer killer, according to the American Cancer Society

Additional U-M authors: Guoan Chen, So Hee Kim, Amanda N. King, Lili Zhao, Robert U. Simpson, Paul J. Christensen, Zhuwen Wang, Dafydd G. Thomas, Thomas J. Giordano, Lin Lin, Dean E. Brenner, David G. Beer

Funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health.

Story Source: The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by University of Michigan Health System, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Journal Reference: H. Meng, G. Chen, X. Zhang, Z. Wang, D. G. Thomas, T. J. Giordano, D. G. Beer, M. M. Wang. Stromal LRP1 in lung adenocarcinoma predicts clinical outcomeClinical Cancer Research, 2011; DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-2385

Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk[v]

SUNDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) — A new study says it takes far more vitamin D than initially thought to dramatically cut the risk of several major diseases, including breast cancer.

“We found that daily intakes of vitamin D by adults in the range of 4,000-8,000 IU are needed to maintain blood levels of vitamin D metabolites in the range needed to reduce by about half the risk of several diseases — breast cancer, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes,” study co-author Dr. Cedric Garland, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California at San Diego, said in a university news release.

Garland admitted that he was surprised that the levels required were so much higher than the 400 IU a day needed to vanquish rickets in the 20th century.

Vitamin D supplements often come in pills or capsules containing 1,000 or 2,000 international units. But 4,000 to 8,000 IU a day is still much lower than the range considered safe by the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine, the researchers noted.

The study — which also involved the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha — was based on a survey of several thousand people who took supplements ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 IU per day. The volunteers also underwent blood tests to determine the levels of vitamin D metabolites circulating in their blood.

Some studies suggest that only 10 percent of people in the United States have the appropriate level of the vitamin D-related form in their blood to prevent disease linked to a deficiency of the vitamin. These people tend to work outdoors, where their vitamin D levels are boosted through sun exposure.

Last year, a National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee announced that 4,000 IU a day of vitamin D appears safe for adults and kids aged 9 and up.

The IOM’s recommended minimum daily level is 600 IU, however, and the Institute noted there were preliminary signals that there might be some harms associated with consuming high levels of vitamin D daily, even at amounts under the recommended upper safe limit.

Garland and his colleagues suggested that 4,000 IU a day is a safe level.

“Now that the results of this study are in, it will become common for almost every adult to take 4000 IU/day,” Garland predicted in the news release. “This is comfortably under the 10,000 IU/day that the IOM Committee Report considers as the lower limit of risk, and the benefits are substantial.”

The findings appear in the journal Anticancer Research.

Associations of circulating and dietary vitamin D with prostate cancer risk[vi]

 
a systematic review and dose–response meta-analysis

Cancer Causes and Control, 01/17/2011  Evidence Based Medicine



Gilbert R et al. – Published literature provides little evidence to support a major role of vitamin D in preventing prostate cancer or its progression. Authors searched over 24,000 papers from seven electronic databases (to October 2010) for exposures related to vitamin D



Tanned women live longer (as long as you sunbathe sensibly), say scientists[vii]

By Sophie Borland
Last updated at 1:51 AM on 4th December 2010

Women who regularly sunbathe live longer, a leading cancer specialist has claimed.

Hakan Olsson says his research shows the health benefits of exposure to sunlight ‘far outweigh’ the danger of skin cancer.

He said vitamin D produced by the body when tanning gives vital protection against blood clots, diabetes and some tumours.

But the professor’s claims, based on a study of 40,000 women, sharply contradict warnings that sun exposure is behind soaring levels of skin cancer.

Dr Ollson said catching the sun had more health benefits than costs, as long as you don’t burn

Rates of malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of the disease, have quadrupled since 1980. Experts blame the rise on sunbeds and the increasing numbers of Britons going abroad on cheap package holidays.

But Professor Olsson, who works in the oncology unit at Lund University in Sweden, believes the benefits of the sun ‘far outweigh the negatives’.

He said there was overwhelming evidence that exposure to the sun helps protect against blood clots in the leg, which claim the lives of 25,000 Britons a year.

These clots, known as deep vein thromboses, have been shown to be far more prevalent in winter than summer.

Professor Olsson, who was presenting his research at the Swedish Society of Medicine, cited other studies showing that more patients are diagnosed with diabetes in the colder months, a phenomenon attributed to a lack of vitamin D.

For his study, he examined tanning habits and the incidence of illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes or malignant melanoma.

‘Our studies show that women with active sunbathing habits live longer,’ he said.

Professor Olsson also suggested that skin cancer was not caused by sunbathing alone.

‘I and many others believe that there may be factors other than the sun that influence the risk of malignant melanoma,’ he said.

‘The burning of the skin in the sun is not enough to explain this.’

But Ed Yong, of Cancer Research UK, said: ‘While some sunshine is good for us and vitamin D is important for good bone health, there’s inconclusive evidence to suggest that vitamin D protects against other disease such as cancer or heart disease.

‘Not burning is the most important thing people can do to protect themselves against developing skin cancer. Sunburn is a clear sign that skin cells have been damaged and increases the risk of the disease.

‘Everyone is different and you’re most at risk from skin cancer if you have fair skin, red hair, lots of freckles, moles, or a family history of the disease. These people should take extra care in the sun.’

Experts warn that most Britons lack vitamin D, which is found in oily fish, eggs and butter. Ninety per cent of our supply of it comes from the action of sunlight on the skin.

Taking Vitamin D, Calcium Supplements Not Necessary[viii]

Posted on: Tuesday, 30 November 2010, 09:21 CST

Most people get enough vitamin D from the sun, and there’s no evidence that taking supplements of the so-called sunshine vitamin will fight off cancer, prevent diabetes, or strengthen a person’s immune system, a panel of U.S. and Canadian doctors said on Tuesday.

The announcement comes as part of a new set of dietary intake guidelines for both calcium and vitamin D, released this week by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an independent American health agency established in 1863.

Using expert testimony and nearly 1,000 published studies analyzing the two nutrients, the IOM discerned that most North Americans 70 years of age or under need just 600 international units (IUs) of vitamin D per day, and those over the age of 71 need 800 IUs. Calcium intake, on the other hand, can vary from 700 to 1,300 milligrams daily.

“The committee that wrote the report also reviewed hundreds of studies and reports on other possible health effects of vitamin D, such as protection against cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes,” the IOM said in a Tuesday press release. “While these studies point to possibilities that warrant further investigation, they have yielded conflicting and mixed results and do not offer the evidence needed to confirm that vitamin D has these effects.”

However, both calcium and vitamin D were proven to have positive effects when it comes to bone health and skeletal growth and maintenance, the researchers noted.

“There is abundant science to confidently state how much vitamin D and calcium people need,” Committee Chairperson Catharine Ross, a professor with the Pennsylvania State University Department of Nutritional Sciences, said in a statement. “We scrutinized the evidence, looking for indications of beneficial effects at all levels of intake.  Amounts higher than those specified in this report are not necessary to maintain bone health.”

Children between the ages of 1 and 3 should consume 700mg of calcium per day, while kids between the ages of 4 and 8 should up their intake to 1,000mg, the IOM said. Individuals between the ages of 9 and 18 need no more than 1,300mg of calcium daily, while most adults between the ages of 19 and 50 can reduce their calcium intake back down to 1,000mg. Men over the age of 50 and under the age of 71 can maintain that level, while women are advised to up their consumption to 1,200mg daily.

“The majority of Americans and Canadians are getting enough vitamin D and calcium, the committee determined from reviewing national surveys of blood levels,” the IOM reported. “Some adolescent girls may not get quite enough calcium, and there is a greater chance that elderly individuals may fall short of the necessary amounts of calcium and vitamin D.  These individuals should increase their intake of foods containing these nutrients and possibly take a supplement.”

Overdosing on either nutrient can be dangerous, the researchers reported. Consuming high levels of vitamin D (at least 10,000 IUs daily) are known to cause kidney and tissue damage, they claim, and even taking 4,000 IUs daily could be risky. In terms of calcium, the IOM says that taking more than 2,000mg each day could lead to kidney stones, especially in post-menopausal women.

Impact of oral vitamin D supplementation on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in oncology[ix]

Nutrition Journal 2010, 9:60doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-60

Published: 23 November 2010

Background

Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] is the major circulating form of vitamin D and a standard indicator of vitamin D status. Emerging evidence in the literature suggests a high prevalence of suboptimal vitamin D (as defined by serum 25(OH)D levels of <32 ng/ml) as well as an association between lower serum levels and higher mortality in cancer. We investigated the effect of oral vitamin D supplementation as a means for restoring suboptimal levels to optimal levels in cancer.

Methods

This is a retrospective observational study of 2198 cancer patients who had a baseline test prior to initiation of cancer therapy at our hospital to evaluate serum 25(OH)D levels between Jan 08 and Dec 09 as part of their initial nutritional evaluation. Patients with baseline levels of <= 32 ng/ml (n=1651) were considered to have suboptimal serum 25(OH)D levels and were supplemented with 8000 IU of Vitamin D3 (four 2000 IU D3 capsules) daily as part of their nutritional care plan. The patients were retested at their first follow-up visit. Of 1651 patients, 799 were available for follow up assessment. The mean serum 25(OH)D levels were compared in these 799 patients across the 2 time points (baseline and first follow-up) using paired sample t-test. We also investigated the factors associated with response to vitamin D supplementation.

Results

Of 2198 patients, 814 were males and 1384 females. 1051 were newly diagnosed and treated at our hospital while 1147 were diagnosed and treated elsewhere. The mean age at presentation was 55.4 years. The most common cancer types were breast (500, 22.7%), lung (328, 14.9%), pancreas (214, 9.7%), colorectal (204, 9.3%) and prostate (185, 8.4%). The mean time duration between baseline and first follow-up assessment was 14.7 weeks (median 10.9 weeks and range 4 weeks to 97.1 weeks). The mean serum 25(OH)D levels were 19.1 ng/ml (SD = 7.5) and 36.2 ng/ml (SD = 17.1) at baseline and first follow-up respectively; p <0.001. Patients with prostate and lung cancer had the highest percentage of responders (70% and 69.2% respectively) while those with colorectal and pancreas had the lowest (46.7% each). Similarly, patients with serum levels 20-32 ng/ml at baseline were most likely to attain levels >32 ng/ml compared to patients with baseline levels <20 ng/ml.

Conclusions

The response to supplementation from suboptimal to optimal levels was greatest in patients with prostate and lung cancer as well as those with baseline levels between 20-32 ng/ml. Characteristics of non-responders as well as those who take longer to respond to supplementation need to be further studied and defined. Additionally, the impact of improved serum 25(OH)D levels on patient survival and quality of life needs to be investigated.

Serum vitamin D and risk of bladder cancer in smokers[x]

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Vitamin D may protect against several cancers, but data about the association between circulating vitamin D and bladder cancer are limited. Within the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study, a randomized controlled trial conducted to determine the effects of α-tocopherol and β-carotene supplements on cancer incidence in male smokers, 250 bladder cancer cases were randomly sampled by month of blood collection. Controls were matched 1:1 to cases on age at randomization and date of blood collection. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of bladder cancer by a priori categories of baseline serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D; i.e., < 25, 25 to < 37.5, 37.5 to < 50, ≥50 nmol/L] and by season-specific quartiles. After multivariable adjustment, we found that lower 25(OH)D was associated with a statistically significantly increased risk of bladder cancer (versus ≥50 nmol/L; < 25 nmol/L: OR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.03-2.91; 25 to < 37.5 nmol/L: OR, 1.81; 95% CI, 1.05-3.14; 37.5 to < 50 nmol/L: OR, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.02-3.02; P trend = 0.04). Similarly, increased risks for the lowest vitamin D category were observed when season-specific quartiles were used (Q1 versus Q4: OR, 1.63; 95% CI, 0.96-2.75; P trend = 0.03). In this prospective study of male smokers, lower serum 25(OH)D was associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer. Future studies should examine the association in other populations, especially nonsmokers and women.

Written by: Mondul AM, Weinstein SJ, Männistö S, Snyder K, Horst RL, Virtamo J, Albanes D

Reference: Cancer Res. 2010 Oct 26. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-0985

PubMed Abstract PMID: 20978193

Insufficient Vitamin D Levels in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Patients Linked to Cancer Progression and Death[xi]

ScienceDaily (Nov. 4, 2010) — Researchers at Mayo Clinic have found a significant difference in cancer progression and death in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients who had sufficient vitamin D levels in their blood compared to those who didn’t.

In the Mayo Clinic study, published online in the journal Blood, the researchers found that patients with insufficient levels of vitamin D when their leukemia was diagnosed progressed much faster and were about twice as likely to die as were patients with adequate levels of vitamin D.

They also found solid trends: increasing vitamin D levels across patients matched longer survival times and decreasing levels matched shortening intervals between diagnosis and cancer progression. The association also remained after controlling for other prognostic factors associated with leukemia progression.

The finding is significant in a number of ways. For the first time, it potentially offers patients with this typically slower growing form of leukemia a way to slow progression, says the study’s lead author, Tait Shanafelt, M.D., a hematologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“This finding may be particularly relevant for this kind of leukemia because although we often identify it at an early stage, the standard approach is to wait until symptoms develop before treating patients with chemotherapy,” Dr. Shanafelt says. “This watch and wait approach is difficult for patients because they feel there is nothing they can do to help themselves.”

“It appears vitamin D levels may be a modifiable risk factor for leukemia progression. It is simple for patients to have their vitamin D levels checked by their physicians with a blood test,” he says. “And if they are deficient, vitamin D supplements are widely available and have minimal side effects.”

While the researchers have not yet determined if vitamin D replacement in patients with initially low levels will reverse the more rapid progression associated with insufficiency, they are planning a study to explore that hypothesis.

This research adds to the growing body of evidence that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for development and/or progression of a number of cancers, the researchers say. Studies have suggested that low blood vitamin D levels may be associated with increased incidence of colorectal, breast and other solid cancers. Other studies have suggested that low vitamin D levels at diagnosis may be associated with poorer outcomes in colorectal, breast, melanoma and lung cancers, as well as lymphoma.

Replacing vitamin D in some patients has proven to be beneficial, the researchers say. For example, they cite a placebo-controlled clinical trial that found women who increased their vitamin D intake reduced their risk of cancer development.

Vitamin D insufficiency, in general, is widespread, Dr. Shanafelt says. “Between one-fourth and one-half of patients seen in routine clinical practice have vitamin D levels below the optimal range, and it is estimated that up to 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D insufficiency,” he says.

Vitamin D is obtained from skin exposure to sunlight, from certain foods (fatty fish and eggs) and from supplements.

In this study, the research team, including physicians at the University of Iowa, enrolled 390 CLL patients into a prospective, observational study. They tested the blood of these newly diagnosed patients for plasma concentration of 25-hydroxyl-vitamin D and found that 30 percent of these CLL patients were considered to have insufficient vitamin D levels, which is classified as a level less than 25 nanograms per milliliter.

After a median follow-up of three years, CLL patients deficient in vitamin D were 66 percent more likely to progress and require chemotherapy; deficient patients also had a two-fold increased risk of death.

To confirm these findings, they then studied a different group of 153 untreated CLL patients who had been followed for an average of 10 years. The researchers found that about 40 percent of these 153 CLL patients were vitamin D deficient at the time of their diagnosis. Patients with vitamin D deficiency were again significantly more likely to have had their leukemia progress and to have died, Dr. Shanafelt says.

“This tells us that vitamin D insufficiency may be the first potentially modifiable risk factor associated with prognosis in newly diagnosed CLL,” he says.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (http://www.nih.gov/), Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation for Cancer Research, the Henry J. Predolin Foundation, Vysis, Inc., and the Mayo Hematologic Malignancies Fund. The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Vit D and Bladder Cancer

Reported by Crilly 4 Nov ‘11

Higher vitamin D levels associated with lower risk of bladder cancer 

 

An article published online on October 26, 2010 in the journal Cancer

Research reveals an association between higher levels of serum vitamin D and a lower risk of bladder cancer in men. The finding adds another cancer to the list of those for which vitamin D appears to have a protective benefit.

 

The current study involved 500 participants in the Alpha-Tocopherol,

Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study, a randomized, double-blinded trial of Finnish male smokers conducted to determine the effects of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene supplementation on cancer risk. Participants were cancer-free at the beginning of the study. Blood samples drawn upon enrollment between 1985 and 1988 were analyzed for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and other factors.

 

The National Cancer Institute researchers compared 250 subjects who were diagnosed with bladder cancer through April, 2005 and an equal number of participants who did not have the disease. Cases and controls were matched for age and date of blood draw. A low level of vitamin D was associated with a significantly greater risk of bladder cancer. Men whose vitamin D level was less than 25 nanomoles per liter experienced a 73 percent greater adjusted risk of the disease than those whose levels were at least 50 nanomoles per liter. Similar risks were observed for those whose levels fell between 25 and less than 37.5, and from 37.5 to less than 50 nanomoles per liter.

 

"These findings are consistent with previous cell culture, in vivo, and genetic evidence suggesting that greater exposure to vitamin D could have a role in protecting against bladder cancer," Alison M. Mondul and co-authors write. "Higher serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D may be associated with greater urinary excretion and concentration of free and conjugated vitamin D metabolites. Increased exposure of the bladder mucosa to these metabolites could promote transitional cell differentiation and apoptosis and, thus, reduce epithelial proliferation and neoplasia."

 

"Future studies should examine the association in other populations,

especially nonsmokers and women, and evaluate possible effect modification by season of blood draw, physical activity, and intake of other nutrients, including vitamin E," they recommend.

Vitamin D Levels Confusion

From: Crilly Butler (crilly@DCN.ORG)

Sent:  01 July 2010 01:46:54

Remember--when Vit D levels are tested, the BLOOD levels are being tested, not the fat levels.

Seems to me that the more Vit D stored in the fat, the less is available to the cells that need it as fed through the circulatory system.

 

Also remember that Vit D is only stored in the fat, or made available to the cells that need it, when it is absorbed during digestion.  That requires a complex interplay between GI transit time, condition of the GI tract, other foods with which the Vit D is taken, the amount of water consumed, and the interaction between Vit D, Calcium, Magnesium and probably other vitamins and minerals as well, not to mention your amount of sun exposure.

 

Why some people seem to absorb Vit D and/or utilize it more effectively than others is difficult to pin down.  That's why it's a good idea to slowly up your intake of the vitamin over time while regularly checking your blood levels until you reach the correct dosage.

Vitamin D Deficiency Confirmed as Common Across a Range of Rheumatic Conditions[xii]

ScienceDaily (June 19, 2010) — Two separate studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is common in patients with a range of rheumatic diseases, with over half of all patients having below the ‘normal’ healthy levels of vitamin D (48-145 nmol/L) in their bodies. A further study assessing response to vitamin D supplementation found that taking the recommended daily dose did not normalise vitamin D levels in rheumatic disease patients.

Researchers found that, regardless of supplementation, levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), (a standard clinical measure of vitamin D in the blood), were lower than healthy levels (<50 nmol/L) in 85% of the patients not taking a vitamin D supplement and in 60% of those taking 800 IU or more vitamin D daily as a supplement.

“The results of our study show that daily 800-1,000 IU supplementation is not sufficient to normalise vitamin D levels in patients with rheumatologic or bone conditions. What is unclear is whether a higher dose would be more effective.”

Vitamin D: With Meals, or Without?

“Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic discovered that taking vitamin D with large meals boosts its absorption dramatically.

Vit D Research Video

Vitamin D deficiency linked to more aggressive lymphoma[xiii]

(NaturalNews) Lymphoma patients with vitamin D deficiency are twice as likely to die from their cancer than patients with sufficient blood levels of the vitamin, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Mayo Clinic and presented at a meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

Researchers took blood samples from 374 patients between 2002 and 2008 who had been recently diagnosed with a cancer of the white blood cells known as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. The average participant age was 62.

Approximately 40 percent of all lymphomas are of the diffuse large-B cell type. The disease mainly affects people over the age of 50.

The researchers found that roughly 50 percent of all participants suffered from vitamin D deficiency at the beginning of the study, defined as having blood levels below 25 nanograms per liter. Over an average of three years of follow-up, patients with vitamin D deficiency were 50 percent more likely to have their cancer worsen and twice as likely to die as patients with vitamin levels above 25 nanograms per liter.

Researchers have known for a long time that vitamin D helps regulate calcium absorption and thus plays a crucial role in bone and dental health. Recent research suggests that the vitamin may also help regulate the immune system, and that higher levels can help prevent against chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes and dementia. Some researchers are making the case that for these benefits, vitamin D levels must be maintained at a level closer to 40 nanograms per liter.

The Mayo Clinic researchers used the 25 nanogram per liter cutoff because that is the level at which the body begins to leach calcium from its own bones, and is therefore a well-defined deficiency threshold.

Prior research has suggested that vitamin D deficiency may worsen the prognosis for patients with breast, colon and throat cancers.

Sources for this story include: www.sciencenews.org.

Peter Granger’s Views

 
From: Peter Granger (pete.granger@GMAIL.COM) Sent: 07 April 2010 21:31:07 & 16 May 2010 00:14:44

Most people are vitamin D deficient.

 

I have been taking 4,000 - 8,000 IU/day (divide by 40 for conversion

to mcg) for several years now, and my vitamin D [(25(OH)D] levels are

at the maximum desirable range - which is about 56 ng/ml, or 140

nmol/L. [The recommended maximum levels vary considerably -

http://www.easy-immune-health.com/Normal-Vitamin-D-level.html

 

I wont be increasing this level, in fact, I may try and reduce it

fractionally to be on the safe side. Those taking Oncovite may have

lower vitamin D levels, and may need to increase their vitamin D

intake until it gets into the preferred range.

 

I am not a medical practitioner, but I believe the research is

suggesting an increased intake of vitamin D and vitamin K

(spinach, greens), in combination with modest dietary intake of

calcium (dairy foods), is a more desirable option than supplementing

with high doses of calcium.

 

A daily 'dose' of spinach and ricotta pie is looking more and more

attractive. Actually, to reach the calcium rda, you will need (say) 1

cup of ricotta, plus one cup of yoghurt, plus a little cheese or milk.

 

http://www.dentalgentlecare.com/Calcontfood.

 

I have serious concerns about calcium supplementation in the absence

of adequate vitamin D and vitamin K levels. It seems much preferable

to get adequate calcium from dairy foods, and vitamin K from greens -

esp, spinach and parsely), plus some vitamin D supplementation.

 

I believe treating calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K as separate

entities has been a big mistake.

 

Time will tell.
&
Its unlikely you will get vitamin D toxicity unless you start getting

up to the 300 level (much less if pregnant). Nonetheless, both too

much or too little vitamin D might increase the risk of

atherosclerosis, so its better to keep vitamin D levels in moderation.

Between 40 - 100 is recommended for cancer patients. Mine are are

currently at 150 (excessive supplementation), which I am cutting back

to below 100.

 

'vitamin D intoxication will not occur until a person (an adult) is

taking more than 10,000 IU of vitamin D/d for more than six months'.

 

'my preference is to recommend that you take no more than 3,000 IU of vitamin D/d.'

 

You can get more detail from: http://www.vitamindhealth.org/?p=63#more-63


Pete (and his quote from Wikipedia below)

Wikipedia[xiv]

'A concentration of over 15 ng/ml (>37.5 nmol/L) is recommended.

 

Higher levels (>30 ng/ml or >75 nmol/L) are proposed by some as

desirable for achieving optimum health but there is not enough

evidence to support them.[32][33][34][35]'

 

'Vitamin D toxicity is usually the result of taking supplements in

excess, when toxic symptoms occur the serum 25(OH)D levels are usually found to be elevated >150 ng/mL (>375 nmol/L).

  

'full body exposure to sunlight (produces) approximately 250 µg

(10,000 IU) per day'.

 

'The U.S. Dietary Reference Intake Tolerable Upper Intake Level (upper limit) of vitamin D for children and adults is set at 50

micrograms/day (2,000 IU)'.

 

'prompted a researcher [82]  to suggest that 250 micrograms/day

(10,000 IU) in healthy adults should be adopted as the tolerable upper limit'

 

One study found a possible negative link between excessive vitamin D

supplementation and calcification/atherosclerosis, however this risk

may be confined to African-Americans (it is quite possible African

Americans require much lower levels of vitamin D, and excessive

supplementation may be harmful)  - 'dietary vitamin D may be carried

by lipoprotein particles[90]  into cells of the artery wall and

atherosclerotic plaque, where it may be converted to active form by

monocyte-macrophages'.[91]

 

A 2007 study reports that vitamin D supplementation (1,100

international units (IU)/day) resulted in a 60% reduction in cancer

incidence, during a four-year clinical trial, rising to a 77%

reduction for cancers diagnosed after the first year (and therefore

excluding those cancers more likely to have originated prior to the

vitamin D intervention).

 

However, smokers who supplement with vitamin D may be at an additional risk of cancer.

Jan Alexander’s Views

From:   Jan Alexander (jea1013@YAHOO.COM)

Sent:  16 May 2010 00:22:21

seems like we are all different–I have to take 8000/day just to maintain my level at 70.  there is some thought that taking cod liver oil may interfere with the absorption of vit. d.  i guess there is a lot we don’t know about this.  but it is being researched more and more because it seems implicated in so many diseases, or rather, the lack of it seems implicated.

From:  Jan Alexander (jea1013@YAHOO.COM)

Sent:  29 June 2010 15:27:14

My oncologist feels that anyone with cancer needs to have Vitamin D levels definitely above 60, and closer to 80 is better.  At 50,000 IU/week my level will not budge above 60, so now I am at 72,000 IU/week, and will get my levels tested again next month.  This is VERY important, she feels, for people with cancer, to keep those levels up.  30 is considered "normal" but is NOT enough for us.  -Jan

Vitamin A Reduces Vitamin D’s Effectiveness[xv]

Posted by Dr. Mercola | March 16 2010

The British Medical Journal has published a remarkable paper confirming that low vitamin D levels obtained in the past are a risk factor for developing colon cancer in the future.

But the study contained an even more significant finding — as Dr. Cannell’s site has reported before, vitamin A, even in relatively low amounts, can thwart vitamin D’s association with reduced rates of colon cancer.

This is the largest study to date showing vitamin A blocks vitamin D’s effect.

Hidden on page eight of the paper was one sentence and a small table, showing that the benefits of vitamin D are almost entirely negated in those with the highest vitamin A (retinol) intake.

And the retinol intake did not have to be that high — only about 3,000 IU/day. Young autistic children often take 3,500 IU of retinol a day in their powdered multivitamins, which doesn’t count any additional vitamin A given in high single doses.

The finding explains some of the anomalies in other papers on vitamin D and cancer — similar studies sometimes have widely different results. This may be because the effect of vitamin A was not taken into account. In some countries, cod liver oil, which contains vitamin A, is commonly used as a vitamin D supplement, and in others it is used more rarely, causing differences in the results.

Sources:

The Natural Advocate February 28, 2010

Vitamin D Council

British Medical Journal, BMJ 2010;340:b5500

Vitamin D and Calcium Interplay Explored[xvi]

ScienceDaily (Mar. 15, 2010) — Increasing calcium intake is a common — yet not always successful — strategy for reducing bone fractures. But a study supported in part by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) underscores the importance of vitamin D and its ability to help the body utilize calcium. The study also may explain why increasing calcium alone isn’t always successful in dealing with this problem.

Currently, calcium intake recommendations are not tied to vitamin D status, which may explain why markedly different recommended calcium intakes exist among countries. In the United States, the recommended calcium intake is 1,200 milligrams (mg) daily for adults aged 50 and older.

The body’s skeleton needs adequate dietary calcium to reach its full potential in terms of bone mass. Still, many other factors affect bone mass, such as exercise, smoking and vitamin D — the latter through its effect on calcium absorption and direct effect on the skeleton.

The study involved a close look at about 10,000 men and women aged 20 and older participating in a nationally representative survey. Coauthors included nutrition specialist Bess Dawson Hughes with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University in Boston, Mass. Dawson Hughes is director of the HNRCA Bone Metabolism Laboratory.

Blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D are used as the primary indicator of vitamin D adequacy. Within the study sample of U.S. adults, a large fraction of younger and older adults were below a suggested desirable serum vitamin D concentration of at least 75 nanomoles-per-liter (nmol/L).

The study supports the idea that correcting inadequate blood levels of vitamin D is more important than increasing dietary calcium intake beyond 566 mg a day among women and 626 mg a day among men for better bone mineral density. For example, a higher calcium intake beyond 566 mg a day may only be important among women whose vitamin D concentrations are low (less than 50 nmol/L), according to authors.

Journal Reference:

1.      Heike A Bischoff-Ferrari, Douglas P Kiel, Bess Dawson-Hughes, John E Orav, Ruifeng Li, Donna Spiegelman, Thomas Dietrich, Walter C Willett. Dietary Calcium and Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Status in Relation to BMD Among U.S. Adults. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 2009; 24 (5): 935 DOI: 10.1359/jbmr.081242

Recommended Level of Vit D

Re: [CAFE] Vitamin D and Cancer/Immune System Functioning‏

From:   Jan Alexander (jea1013@YAHOO.COM)

Sent:  09 March 2010 14:27:05

To:     BLADDER-CANCER-CAFE@LISTSERV.ACOR.ORG

my oncologist wants me at least at 80, since i have had cancer.  she said some studies even show 100 is better.

Re: [CAFE] Vitamin D and Cancer/Immune System Functioning‏

From:   Linda Weyand (lweyand@AOL.COM)

Sent:  09 March 2010 15:19:55

To:     BLADDER-CANCER-CAFE@LISTSERV.ACOR.ORG

Hi, Puff and All,

The lab that ran my vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy test listed the range of 32 to 100 and added a note with reference that stated "Recent studies consider the lower limit of 32.0 ng/mL to be a threshold for optimal health." This coincides with articles I have read that lists anything below 30 as being a deficiency and stresses that this level is a bare minimum. These articles recommend a level of 50 to 80. With the recent studies showing the importance of vitamin D, I am glad my primary care physician suggested I have my level checked during my annual exam, especially since my results showed a level of 8.1....a severe deficiency. 

 

I have been taking the 50,000 IU capsules and after the first 3 months, my level tested at 22. At that time, I expressed the desire to have my levels reach the 50 to 80 level, so my doctor told me to continue taking the 50,000 IU and we would recheck at my next annual exam. She said that she has never had any of her patients test over 80, even those that had been taking high dosages over long period of time. 

 

Today I read: 

"Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is absorbed from the intestine like a fat, vitamin D [test] is sometimes used to monitor individuals with diseases that interfere with fat absorption, such as cystic fibrosis and Chron's disease, and in patients who have had gastric bypass surgery and may not be able to absorb enough Vitamin D." 

http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/vitamin_d/test.html

 

To me, this means that those of us whose ileum (small intestine) has been used to make our urinary diversions MIGHT have impaired Vitamin D absorption. It also explains why the capsules are to be taken with food. With recent research connecting vitamin D deficiency with cancer, I think all of us probably should ask that the 25-Hydroxy, Vitamin D test be included with our check-ups. 

 

For any of us that are taking bile sequestrants, we need to space a good bit of time between taking the bile sequestrant and the Vitamin D. The literature that came with my Vitamin D stated that it should be spaced at least 2 hours, longer if possible and suggested taking the Vit. D at bedtime if taking these other medicines (bile acid sequestrants such as cholestyramine/colestipol, mineral oil, orlistat). 

 

This literature also cautioned that this medication (Vit. D) "may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including cholesterol test)"  so to let all your doctors know you are taking this medication. 

 

My best to all,

Linda W neobladder 2/2002

ask for the 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test

Vitamin D Crucial to Activating Immune Defenses[xvii]

ScienceDaily (Mar. 8, 2010) — Scientists at the University of Copenhagen have discovered that Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin, the killer cells of the immune system — T cells — will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body.

For T cells to detect and kill foreign pathogens such as clumps of bacteria or viruses, the cells must first be ‘triggered’ into action and ‘transform’ from inactive and harmless immune cells into killer cells that are primed to seek out and destroy all traces of a foreign pathogen.

The researchers found that the T cells rely on vitamin D in order to activate and they would remain dormant, ‘naïve’ to the possibility of threat if vitamin D is lacking in the blood.

When the naïve T cell recognizes foreign molecules with its T cell receptor (TCR) it sends activation signals (1) to the VDR gene. The VDR gene now starts the production of VDR (2). VDR binds vitamin D in the T cell (3) and becomes activated. Vitamin D bound to activated VDR goes back into the cell nucleus and activates the gene for PLC-gamma1 (5). PLC-gamma1 is produced (6) and the T cells can get started. (Credit: Professor of Immunology, Carsten Geisler)

Chemical Reaction that Enables Activation

In order for the specialized immune cells (T cells) to protect the body from dangerous viruses or bacteria, the T cells must first be exposed to traces of the foreign pathogen. This occurs when they are presented by other immune cells in the body (known as macrophages) with suspicious ‘cell fragments’ or ‘traces’ of the pathogen. The T cells then bind to the fragment and divide and multiply into hundreds of identical cells that are all focused on the same pathogen type. The sequence of chemical changes that the T cells undergo enables them to both be ‘sensitized to’ and able to deliver a targeted immune response.

Professor Carsten Geisler from the Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology explains that “when a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it extends a signaling device or ‘antenna’ known as a vitamin D receptor, with which it searches for vitamin D. This means that the T cell must have vitamin D or activation of the cell will cease. If the T cells cannot find enough vitamin D in the blood, they won’t even begin to mobilize. ”

T cells that are successfully activated transform into one of two types of immune cell. They either become killer cells that will attack and destroy all cells carrying traces of a foreign pathogen or they become helper cells that assist the immune system in acquiring “memory.” The helper cells send messages to the immune system, passing on knowledge about the pathogen so that the immune system can recognize and remember it at their next encounter. T cells form part of the adaptive immune system, which means that they function by teaching the immune system to recognize and adapt to constantly changing threats.

Activating and Deactivating the Immune System

For the research team, identifying the role of vitamin D in the activation of T cells has been a major breakthrough. “Scientists have known for a long time that vitamin D is important for calcium absorption and the vitamin has also been implicated in diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, but what we didn’t realize is how crucial vitamin D is for actually activating the immune system — which we know now. ”

The discovery, the scientists believe, provides much needed information about the immune system and will help them regulate the immune response. This is important not only in fighting disease but also in dealing with anti-immune reactions of the body and the rejection of transplanted organs. Active T cells multiply at an explosive rate and can create an inflammatory environment with serious consequences for the body. After organ transplants, e.g. T cells can attack the donor organ as a “foreign invader.” In autoimmune disease, hypersensitive T cells mistake fragments of the body’s own cells for foreign pathogens, leading to the body launching an attack upon itself.

The research team was also able to track the biochemical sequence of the transformation of an inactive T cell to an active cell, and thus would be able to intervene at several points to modulate the immune response. Inactive or ‘naïve’ T cells crucially contain neither the vitamin D receptor nor a specific molecule (PLC-gamma1) that would enable the cell to deliver an antigen specific response.

The findings, continues Professor Geisler “could help us to combat infectious diseases and global epidemics. They will be of particular use when developing new vaccines, which work precisely on the basis of both training our immune systems to react and suppressing the body’s natural defenses in situations where this is important — as is the case with organ transplants and autoimmune disease.”

Most Vitamin D is produced as a natural byproduct of the skin’s exposure to sunlight. It can also be found in fish liver oil, eggs and fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel or taken as a dietary supplement. No definitive studies have been carried out for the optimal daily dosage of vitamin D but as a large proportion of the population have very low concentrations of vitamin D in the blood, a number of experts recommend between 25-50mg micrograms a day.

Journal Reference:

1.      von Essen et al. Vitamin D controls T cell antigen receptor signaling and activation of human T cells. Nature Immunology, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/ni.1851

Vitamin D, Miracle Drug: Is It Science, or Just Talk?[xviii]

Stuart Bradford

Imagine a treatment that could build bones, strengthen the immune system and lower the risks of illnesses like diabetes, heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure and cancer.

Some research suggests that such a wonder treatment already exists. It’s vitamin D, a nutrient that the body makes from sunlight and that is also found in fish and fortified milk.

Yet despite the health potential of vitamin D, as many as half of all adults and children are said to have less than optimum levels and as many as 10 percent of children are highly deficient, according to a 2008 report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

As a result, doctors are increasingly testing their patients’ vitamin D levels and prescribing daily supplements to raise them. According to the lab company Quest Diagnostics, orders for vitamin D tests surged more than 50 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, up from the same quarter a year earlier. And in 2008, consumers bought $235 million worth of vitamin D supplements, up from $40 million in 2001, according to Nutrition Business Journal.

But don’t start gobbling down vitamin D supplements just yet. The excitement about their health potential is still far ahead of the science.

Although numerous studies have been promising, there are scant data from randomized clinical trials. Little is known about what the ideal level of vitamin D really is, whether raising it can improve health, and what potential side effects are caused by high doses.

And since most of the data on vitamin D comes from observational research, it may be that high doses of the nutrient don’t really make people healthier, but that healthy people simply do the sorts of things that happen to raise vitamin D.

“Correlation does not necessarily mean a cause-and-effect relationship,” said Dr. JoAnn E. Manson, a Harvard professor who is chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“People may have high vitamin D levels because they exercise a lot and are getting ultraviolet-light exposure from exercising outdoors,” Dr. Manson said. “Or they may have high vitamin D because they are health-conscious and take supplements. But they also have a healthy diet, don’t smoke and do a lot of the other things that keep you healthy.”

Dr. Manson is leading a major study over the next five years that should provide answers to these questions and more. The nationwide clinical trial is recruiting 20,000 older adults, including men 60 and older and women 65 and older, to study whether high doses of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids from fish-oil supplements will lower risk for heart disease and cancer. (Learn about taking part in the study at www.vitalstudy.org.)

Dr. Manson said fish-oil supplements were included in the study because they are another promising treatment that suffers from a dearth of clinical trial evidence. In addition, both vitamin D and fish oil are known to have an anti-inflammatory effect, but each works through a different pathway in the body, so there may be an added health benefit in combining them.

Study participants will be divided into four groups. One will take both vitamin D and fish oil pills. Two will take either a vitamin D or a fish-oil supplement and a placebo. The fourth will take two placebo pills.

Vitamin D is found throughout the body and acts as a signaling mechanism to turn cells on and off. Right now, the recommended dose from food and supplements is about 400 international units a day for most people, but most experts agree that is probably too low. The Institute of Medicine is reviewing guidelines for vitamin D and is expected to raise the recommended daily dose.

Study participants will take 2,000 I.U.’s of vitamin D3, believed to be the form most easily used by the body. The study will use one-gram supplements of omega-3 fish oil, about 5 to 10 times the average daily intake.

The vitamin D dose is far higher than what has been used in other studies. The well-known Women’s Health Initiative study, for instance, tracked women taking 400 units of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium. The study found no overall benefit from the supplements, although women who consistently took their pills had a lower risk of hip fracture. Even so, many experts think 400 units is far too low for any additional health benefits.

Another study, of 1,200 women, looked at the effects of 1,500 milligrams of calcium and 1,000 units of vitamin D. Women who took both supplements showed a lower risk for breast cancer over the next four years, but the numbers of actual cases — seven breast cancers in the placebo group and four in the supplement group — were too small to draw meaningful conclusions.

Although consumers may be tempted to rush out and start taking 2,000 I.U.’s of vitamin D a day, doctors warn against it. Several recent studies of nutrients, including vitamins E and B, selenium and beta carotene, have proved disappointing — even suggesting that high doses do more harm than good, increasing risk for heart problems, diabetes and cancer, depending on the supplement.

Despite the promise of vitamin D in observational studies, research into other supplements shows it’s difficult to document a benefit in otherwise healthy people, and virtually impossible to predict potential harms, notes Dr. Eric A. Klein, chairman of the Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Klein recently worked as national coordinator for Select, a study of vitamin E and selenium for prostate cancer. The study seemed promising, but in the end it showed no benefit from the supplements and a potentially higher risk for diabetes in selenium users.

“My sentiment is that the lesson we have learned form large trials with other vitamin supplements, including Select, is that there is no proven health or preventative benefit for dietary supplements in nutritionally replete populations, which accounts for most of the people who enter this sort of clinical trial,” Dr. Klein said. “It makes more sense to me to study dietary supplements or vitamins in populations who are deficient.”

People most at risk for vitamin D deficiency are older, have diabetes or kidney disease, stay indoors or have darker skin. African-American teenagers are at particularly high risk, possibly because in addition to their dark skin, they are less likely at that stage in life to drink milk or play outside.

The scientific community continues to debate the optimum level of vitamin D. In general, people are considered to be deficient if they have blood levels below 15 or 20 nanograms per milliliter. But many doctors now believe vitamin D levels should be above 30. The ideal level isn’t known, nor is it known at what point a person is getting too much vitamin D, which can lead to kidney stones, calcification in blood vessels and other problems.

People’s vitamin D levels are influenced by whether they have light or dark skin, where they live, how much time they spend outdoors and by fish and milk consumption. To raise vitamin D without supplements, a person could increase sun exposure for 10 to 15 minutes a day. Eating more fish can help — a 3.5-ounce serving of wild fresh salmon has 600 to 1,000 I.U.’s of vitamin D — but it would take a quart of milk a day to get the recommended dose of vitamin D.

“What we know is that there are a lot of people who are vitamin D deficient based on estimates from national surveys,” said Dr. Michal L. Melamed, assistant professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. “But we don’t know what happens when the curve shifts to the other end. There probably is a risk to having too much vitamin D in the system.”

And see http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/

The Roles of Vitamin D Binding Protein in Human Immune Function[xix]

Sunday, January 24th, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Abstract:

The recent proliferation of published studies outlining the role of vitamin D in the prevention of many diseases associated with a weakened immune system has brought to light the importance of monitoring the serum levels of 25(OH) vitamin D. (1)  Specifically, the direct correlation of vitamin D levels in the human serum with increased levels of cathelicidin and the potentiating role cathelicidin plays in the immune response to infections, cancer, autoimmune disease, and especially acute viral infections. (2)  While research into vitamin D needs to continue, the importance of vitamin D binding protein (VDBP) has been demonstrated to have synergistic yet independent functions in the human immune system.(3)  This article will outline the emerging role of VDBP in the field of immunology.

Method:

A review of the scientific literature pertaining to vitamin D binding protein and its derivatives identified in human serum and produced in the laboratory.

Results:

Vitamin D binding protein, also known as Gc-protein, is a group of isoform proteins with O-linked glycans.  The dominant isoform of VDBP are non-glycosylated 656 Da proteins produced mainly in the liver.(4)  Vitamin D binding protein participates in liver cell stability and regeneration through Calcium dependent interaction with the megalin/gp330 receptor.(5)  There are 4 important roles VDBP has in humans.  It binds circulating vitamin D for transport and storage, it is the most important scavenger of extracellular G-actin, it enhances the chemotactic activity of C5a for neutrophils in inflammation, and it activates macrophages thru GaINAc-modified Gc-protein. (6)  Additionally, low levels of VDBP have been found to correlate with multiple organ failure sepsis, and non-survival in fulminant liver failure and traumatic liver failure.(7)  The non-glycosylated isoform of VDBP is able to mask the presence of endotoxins by 20%.(7)  Therapy with VDBP may increase survival in trauma, sepsis and fulminant liver failure.(7)

The function of VDBP is independent of the hormone actions of 1,25(2OH) vitamin D and it has limited impact on the extracellular pool of 1,25(OH) vitamin D.(8)  Vitamin D binding protein has virtually no impact on the distribution, uptake, activation profile, or biological potency of the hormone vitamin D.(8)  Vitamin D binding protein is not affected by race or adiposity the way vitamin D levels are affected.(9)  The serum levels of VDBP are decreased by trauma, septic infections, and chronic or acute liver diseases.(10)  The normal levels of serum VDBP are 350-50 mg/L and low levels below 80 mg/L yield a positive and negative mortality predictive value 85% and 43% respectively.(11)

While vitamin D binding protein is a primary macrophage activating factor, several glycosylated isoforms have more potent and specific macrophage activating properties.(12)  The most potent serum macrophage activation factor (MAF) is produced by a series of glycosylation reactions performed by the B-cells and T-cells.(13)  Vitamin D-MAF as a potent adjuvant activity for immunization and healthy serum levels of MAF prevent tumours from being able to transplant into mice.(14)  Other roles for VDBP derived MAF have been described, including an anti-angiogenesis function through blocking VEGF-induced angiogenesis.(15)

Laboratory derived MAF from serum VDBP has the advantage of activating macrophages and not being deglycosylated by N-acetylgalactosaminidase enzymes (NaGaLase) produced by cancer cells and infectious bacteria, viruses and fungi.(16)  The clinical dose required to have a sustained systemic activation of macrophages in 100 mcg injected weekly.(16)  A novel MAF (Gc-MAF) can be produced in the lab with cancer specific activity that targets undifferentiated cancer cells better than well differentiated cancer cells.(17)  Several prospective clinical trials of treatment of cancer and HIV with Gc-MAF have been reported and three trials with metastatic colon, breast and prostate cancer have provided 100% remission rate beyond the five years since Gc-MAF treatment.(16)(17)(18)

Discussion:

The scientific and clinical experience with VDBP and Gc-MAF are very encouraging.  Several clinical trials are underway in the Bahamas at the Immune Augmentation Therapy Centre to reproduce and confirm the current clinic studies, as well as to answer several clinical questions that have not yet been reported in the scientific literature about VDBP and Gc-MAF.  If you would like to enrol any clients with cancer or immune suppression in a trial with Gc-MAF, please contact the author of this review.

Citations:

  1. Bikie DD, “Vitamin D and immune function: understanding common pathways” Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2009 Jul;7(2):58-63
  2. Yuk JM, Shin DM, Lee HM, Yang CS, Jin HS, Kim KK, Lee SH, Kim JM, Jo EK, “Vitamin D3 induces autophagy in human monocytes/macrophages via cathelicidin” Cell Host Microbe. 2009 Sep 17;6(3):231-43
  3. Chkri M et al, “Production of human macrophages with potent antitumoral properties (MAK) by culture of monocytes in the presence of GM-CSF and 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D3.” Anticancer Res. 1992 Nov-Dec;12(6B):2257-60
  4. Christiansen M et al, “Protein chemical characterization of Gc-gobulin (vitamin D-binding protein) isoforms; Gc-f1, Gc-s, and Gc-2.” Biochem Biophys Acta. 2007 Apr; 1774(4):481-92
  5. Gressner OA et al, “Gc-globulin (vitamin D binding protein) is synthesized and secreted by hepatocytes and internalized by hepatic stellate cells through Ca2+ dependent interaction with megalin/gp330 receptor.” Clinica ChimiceActa 2008 Apr 390;1-2:28-37
  6. Nagasawa H et al, “Gc-protein (vitamin D-binding protein): Gc genotyping and GcMAF precursor activity.” Anticancer Res. 2005 Nov-Dec; 25(6A):3689-95
  7. Jorgensen CS et al, “Large-scale purification and characterization of non-glycosylated Gc-protein (vitamin D binding protein) from plasma fraction IV.” Biotechnol Appl Biochem. 2006 Apr;44(pt1):35-44
  8. Zella LA et al, “Vitamin D-binding protein influences total circulating levels of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 but does not directly modulate the bioactive levels of the hormone in vivo.” Endocrinology. 2008 Jul;149(7):3656-67
  9. Winters SJ et al, “Influence of obesity on vitamin D-binding protein and 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels in African and white women.” Metabolism. 2009 Apr;58(4):438-42
  10. Schiodt FV et al, “Increased turnover of Gc-protein in patients with hepatic encephalopathy.” Scand J Gastroenterol. 2001 Sep;36(9):998-1003
  11. Schiodt FV et al, “Gc-globulin and prognosis in acute liver failure.” Liver Transpl. 2005 Oct;11(10):1223-7
  12. Homma S et al, “Vitamin D-binding protein (group-specific component) is the sole serum protein required for macrophage activation after treatment of peritoneal cells with lyso-phosphatidylcholine.” Immunol Cel Biol. 1993 Aug;71(pt4):249-57
  13. Yamamoto N et al, “Conversion of vitamin D3 binding protein (group-specific component) to a macrophage activating factor by stepwise action of beta-galactosidase of B-celss and sialidase of T-cells.” J Immunol. 1993 Sep 1;151(5):2794-802
  14. Yamamoto N et al, “Structurally well-defined macrophage activating factor derived from vitamin D3-binding protein has a potent adjuvant activity for immunization.” Immunol Cell Biol. 1998 Ju;76(3):237-44
  15. Kallunte S et al, “Inhibition of angiogenesis by vitamin D-binding protein: characterization of anti-endothelial activity of DBP-MAF.”  Angiogenesis. 2005;8(4):349-60
  16. Yamamoto N et al, “Immunotherapy of metastatic colorectal cancer with vitamin D-binding protein derived macrophage activating factor, Gc-MAF.” Cancer Immunol Immunotherapy 2008;57:1007-16
  17. Yamamoto N et al, “Immunotherapy of metastatic breast cancer patients with vitamin D-bindng protein-derived macrophage activating factor (GcMAF).” Int J Cancer. 2008;122:461-467
  18. Yamamoto N, Suyama H, Yamamoto N “Immunotherapy for prostate cancer with Gc protein-derived macrophage activating factor, GcMAF.” Transl Oncol.2008 Jul;1(2):65-72

Kevin Paul Bethel MD CM FAARM is the Research Director for the Immune Augmentation Therapy Centre (Freeport Bahamas), the Regenerative Medicine Consultant at Renaissance Medical Centre (Nassau Bahamas), and Medical Director for the Freeport Family Wellness Centre (Freeport Bahamas). Contact information: drkevinbethel@hotmail.com, PO Box F42689, Freeport, GBI, Bahamas. 1-242-352-7455

Article Source:http://www.articlesbase.com/medicine-articles/the-roles-of-vitamin-d-binding-protein-in-human-immune-function-1773282.html

Re: [CAFE] More on Vit D & cancer‏

From: Peter Granger (pete.granger@GMAIL.COM)

Sent: 26 January 2010 02:08:07

A weakened immune response contributes to the development of
infections, cancer, autoimmune disease, and acute viral infections. A
vitamin D deficiency (in fact, reduced levels of vitamin D binding
protein (VDBP) and its derivatives such as macrophage activation
factor (MAF) contribute to a weakened immune response by lowering
cathelicidin levels.

MAF has various anti-tumor effects, including as an angiogenesis
inhibitor (hindering metastasis by preventing cancer cells forming
their own blood supply).

Cancer cells, bacteria, viruses and fungi are able to block MAP. This
unfortunately leads to harmful immunosuppression – which is also
cyclical in nature. However, not so MAF developed in the laboratory,
and injected in patients at about 100 mcg/weekly for 30-50 weeks. In
trials, these injections have proved very effective in treating
metastatic cancer and HIV.

There has been 5 year, 100% remission in three trials with metastatic
colon, breast and prostate cancer following such treatment.

Several clinical trials are underway in the Bahamas at the Immune
Augmentation Therapy Centre. Clearly, it is a very promising
treatment, especially in metastatic cancer. However, the trials are
not being held at a major cancer centre. The question is, why? The
treatment has been patented by a Japanese/American researchers
(Yamamoto, Division of Cancer Immunology and Molecular Immunology,
Socrates Institute for Therapeutic Immunology, Philadelphia) which may account for its current lack of acceptance. Presumably, the treatment is also quite expensive.
In the interim, maintaining high serum levels of vitamin D may be
beneficial in protecting against viral infections and cancer.
Other immune boosting techniques include low-dose naltrexone,
melatonin, zinc, curcumin (which is also anti-inflammatory, but works
via a different pathway), vitamin K, probiotics, omega 3, calorie
restriction, green tea, oats, garlic, mushrooms, taurine, and Coley’s
Toxins.

Pete.

The Anticancer Effects Of Vitamin D3[xx]

ScienceDaily (July 7, 2009) — The active form of vitamin D3 seems to have anticancer effects. To try and understand the mechanisms underlying these effects, researchers previously set out to identify genes whose expression in a human colon cancer cell line was altered by the active form of vitamin D3.

One gene identified in this previous study was CST5, which is responsible for making the protein cystatin D. Now, a team of researchers, at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas-Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, and the Universidad de Oviedo, Spain, has studied this protein in detail and determined that it has tumor suppressor activity that likely accounts for some of the anticancer effects of the active form of vitamin D3.

The team, led by Alberto Muñoz and Carlos López-Otín, initially established that the active form of vitamin D3 directly activates the CST5 gene in human colon cancer cell lines, increasing levels of cystatin D protein. Functionally, cystatin D was shown to inhibit the growth of human colon cancer cells lines in vitro and when they were xenotransplanted into mice. As knocking down expression of cystatin D in human colon cancer cell lines rendered them unresponsive to the antiproliferative effects of the active form of vitamin D3, the authors conclude that CST5 is a candidate tumor suppressor gene and that it mediates a large proportion of the anticancer effects of the active form of vitamin D3. These data provide rationale for clinical trials examining the preventive and therapeutic potential of the active form of vitamin D3 in colon cancer.

Vitamin D Levels Associated With Survival in Lymphoma Patients[xxi]

ScienceDaily (Dec. 9, 2009) — A new study has found that the amount of vitamin D in patients being treated for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma was strongly associated with cancer progression and overall survival. The results will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology in New Orleans.

“These are some of the strongest findings yet between vitamin D and cancer outcome,” says the study’s lead investigator, Matthew Drake, M.D., Ph.D., an endocrinologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. “While these findings are very provocative, they are preliminary and need to be validated in other studies. However, they raise the issue of whether vitamin D supplementation might aid in treatment for this malignancy, and thus should stimulate much more research.”

The researchers’ study of 374 newly diagnosed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma patients found that 50 percent had deficient vitamin D levels based on the commonly used clinical value of total serum 25(OH)D less than 25 ng/mL. Patients with deficient vitamin D levels had a 1.5-fold greater risk of disease progression and a twofold greater risk of dying, compared to patients with optimal vitamin D levels after accounting for other patient factors associated with worse outcomes.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from Mayo Clinic and the University of Iowa. These researchers participate in the University of Iowa/Mayo Clinic Lymphoma Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE), which is funded by the National Cancer Institute. The 374 patients were enrolled in an epidemiologic study designed to identify predictors of outcomes in lymphoma. Since this was not a clinical trial, patient management and treatments were not assigned, but rather followed standard of care for clinical practice.

The findings support the growing association between vitamin D and cancer risk and outcomes, and suggest that vitamin D supplements might help even those patients already diagnosed with some forms of cancer, says Dr. Drake. “The exact roles that vitamin D might play in the initiation or progression of cancer is unknown, but we do know that the vitamin plays a role in regulation of cell growth and death, among other processes important in limiting cancer,” he says.

The findings also reinforce research in other fields that suggest vitamin D is important to general health, Dr. Drake says. “It is fairly easy to maintain vitamin D levels through inexpensive daily supplements or 15 minutes in the sun three times a week in the summer, so that levels can be stored inside body fat,” he says. Many physicians recommend 800-1,200 International Units (IU) daily, he adds.

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone obtained from sunlight and converted by the skin into its active form. It also can come from food (naturally or fortified as in milk) or from supplements. It is known best for its role of increasing the flow of calcium into the blood. Because of that role, vitamin D deficiency has long been known to be a major risk factor for bone loss and bone fractures, particularly in elderly people whose skin is less efficient at converting sunlight into vitamin D. But recent research has found that many people suffer from the deficiency, and investigators are actively looking at whether low vitamin D promotes poorer health in general.

Cancer researchers have discovered that vitamin D regulates a number of genes in various cancers, including prostate, colon and breast cancers. Recent studies have suggested that vitamin D deficiency may play a role in causing certain cancers as well as impacting the outcome once someone is diagnosed with cancer.

Researchers looked at vitamin D levels in lymphoma patients because of the observation, culled from U.S. mortality maps issued by the National Cancer Institute, that both incidence and mortality rates of this cancer increase the farther north a person lives in the United States, where sunlight is limited in the winter. Also, several recent reports have concluded that vitamin D deficiency is associated with poor outcomes in other cancers, including breast, colon and head and neck cancer. This is the first study to look at lymphoma outcome.

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Mayo Hematologic Malignancies Lymphoma Fund.

Meta-analysis of longitudinal studies: Serum vitamin D and prostate cancer risk[xxii]

Aim: To review and summarize evidence from longitudinal studies on the association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and the risk of prostate cancer (PC). Methods: Relevant prospective cohort studies and nested case-control studies published until July 2009 were identified by systematically searching Ovid Medline, EMBASE, and ISI Web of Knowledge databases and by cross-referencing. The following data were extracted in a standardized manner from eligible studies: first author, publication year, country, study design, characteristics of the study population, duration of follow-up, PC incidence/PC mortality according to serum vitamin D status and the respective risk ratios, and covariates adjusted for in the analysis. Due to the heterogeneity of studies in categorizing serum vitamin D levels, all results were recalculated for an increase in serum 25(OH)D by 10ng/ml. Summary odds ratios (ORs) were calculated using meta-analysis methods. Results: Overall, eleven original articles were included, ten of which reported on the association between serum vitamin D levels and PC incidence and one article reported on the association with PC mortality. Meta-analysis of studies on PC incidence resulted in a summary OR (95% confidence interval, CI) of 1.03 (0.96–1.11) associated with an increase of 25(OH)D by 10ng/ml (P=0.362). No indication for heterogeneity and publication bias was found.

Conclusions: According to available evidence from longitudinal studies, serum 25(OH)D is not associated with PC incidence.

Does Vitamin D Treat Cancer?[xxiii]

As you may remember, the last newsletter was on preventing cancer, not treating it. Below is a small sampling of some of the questions contained in the tragic emails generated by last month’s newsletter:

Dr. Cannell, I was just diagnosed with breast cancer. How much vitamin D should I take?

My mother has colon cancer, how much vitamin D should she take?

I’ve had prostate cancer for four years, is there any reason to think vitamin D would help?

Dr. Cannell, my son has leukemia, should I give him vitamin D?

It’s not that simple…

It’s one thing to talk about evidence that vitamin D may prevent cancer but something quite different to discuss evidence that vitamin D might help treat cancer. I used to think the answers to all the above questions were the same. Like anyone else, people with cancer should be screened for vitamin D deficiency and be treated if deficiency is present. Simple. However, it’s not that simple. The real questions are:

  • What are reasonable 25-hydroxy-vitamin D [25(OH)D] levels for someone with a life-threatening cancer?
  • How much vitamin D do they need to take to obtain such levels?
  • Is there any evidence, of any kind, that vitamin D will help treat cancer?

The risk/benefit analysis of taking vitamin D is quite different if you are in perfect health than if your life, or your child’s life, is on the line.

Remember, unlike cancer prevention, not one human randomized controlled trial exists showing vitamin D has a treatment effect on cancer. By treatment effect, I mean prolongs the lives of cancer patients. However, as I cited in my last newsletter, Dr. Philippe Autier of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and Dr. Sara Gandini of the European Institute of Oncology, performed a meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials showing even low doses of vitamin D extend life but they looked at all-cause mortality, not just cancer. Autier P, Gandini S. Vitamin D supplementation and total mortality: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(16):1730–1737.

Summer diagnosis prolongs life. Why?

However, some epidemiological studies indirectly address the treatment issue and are quite remarkable. The first are a series of discoveries by Professor Johan Moan, Department of Physics at the University of Oslo, with Dr. Alina Porojnicu as the lead author on most of the papers. Moan J, et al. Colon cancer: Prognosis for different latitudes, age groups and seasons in Norway. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2007 Sep 19. Lagunova Z, et al. Prostate cancer survival is dependent on season of diagnosis. Prostate. 2007 Sep 1;67(12):1362–70. Porojnicu AC, et al. Changes in risk of death from breast cancer with season and latitude: sun exposure and breast cancer survival in Norway. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2007 May;102(3):323–8. Porojnicu AC, et al. Season of diagnosis is a predictor of cancer survival. Sun-induced vitamin D may be involved: a possible role of sun-induced Vitamin D. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Mar;103(3–5):675–8. Porojnicu AC, et al. Season of diagnosis is a prognostic factor in Hodgkin’s lymphoma: a possible role of sun-induced vitamin D. Br J Cancer. 2005 Sep 5;93(5):571–4. Porojnicu AC, et al. Seasonal and geographical variations in lung cancer prognosis in Norway. Does Vitamin D from the sun play a role? Lung Cancer. 2007 Mar;55(3):263–70.

What Professor Moan’s group repeatedly discovered is quite simple—whether it be cancer of the breast, colon, prostate, lung, or a lymphoma: You live longer if your cancer is diagnosed in the summer. And it is not just Moan’s group who has found this. A huge English study recently confirmed Moan’s discovery. Lim HS, et al. Cancer survival is dependent on season of diagnosis and sunlight exposure. Int J Cancer. 2006 Oct 1;119(7):1530–6.

What do these studies mean? Something about summer has a treatment effect on cancer. Whatever it is, you live longer if you are diagnosed in the summer but die sooner if you are diagnosed in the winter. What could it be about summer? Exercise? Fresh air? Melatonin? Sunlight? Pretty girls? Remember, these patients already had cancer. Whatever it is about summer, it is not a preventative effect that Professor Moan discovered, it is a treatment effect. Something about summer prolongs the life of cancer patients.

Sunlight’s robust treatment effect

Dr. Ying Zhou, a research fellow, working with Professor David Christiani at the Harvard School of Public Health, went one step further. The stuffy Harvard researchers assumed summer worked its magic, not by pretty girls, but by summer sunlight making vitamin D. So they looked at total vitamin D input, from both sun and diet, to see if high vitamin D intake improved the survival of cancer patients. Yes, indeed, remarkably. They found that early stage lung cancer patients with the highest vitamin D input (from summer season and high intake from diet) lived almost three times longer than patients with the lowest input (winter season and low intake from diet). Three times longer is a huge treatment effect, a treatment effect that most conventional cancer treatment methods would die for. Zhou W. Vitamin D is associated with improved survival in early-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005 Oct;14(10):2303–9.

And that’s not all, Marianne Berwick and her colleagues, at the New Mexico Cancer Institute, found malignant melanoma patients with evidence of continued sun exposure had a 60% mortality reduction compared to patients who did not. That implies a robust treatment effect from sunlight. Berwick M, et al. Sun exposure and mortality from melanoma. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005 Feb 2;97(3):195–9.

I will not list the thousands of animal studies that indicate vitamin D has a treatment effect on cancer as almost all of them studied activated vitamin D or its analogs—drugs that bypass normal regulatory mechanisms, cannot get autocrine quantities of the hormone into the cell, and that often cause hypercalcemia. However, Michael Holick’s group found that simple vitamin D deficiency made cancers grow faster in mice. That is, vitamin D has a cancer treatment effect in vitamin D-deficient mice. Professor Gary Schwartz, at Wake Forest, recently reviewed the reasons to think that vitamin D may have a treatment effect in cancer. Tangpricha V, et al. Vitamin D deficiency enhances the growth of MC-26 colon cancer xenografts in Balb/c mice. J Nutr. 2005 Oct;135(10):2350–4. Schwartz GG, Skinner HG. Vitamin D status and cancer: new insights. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2007 Jan;10(1):6–11.

Finally, one human interventional study exists. In 2005, in an open trial, Professor Reinhold Vieth and his colleagues found just 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day had a positive effect on PSA levels in men with prostate cancer. Woo TC, et al. Pilot study: potential role of vitamin D (Cholecalciferol) in patients with PSA relapse after definitive therapy. Nutr Cancer. 2005;51(1):32–6.

So, how much vitamin D does one need?

So we come back to the crucial question. If you have cancer, how much vitamin D should you take, or, more precisely, what 25(OH)D level should you maintain? We don’t know. You can correctly say that definitive studies have not been done and incorrectly conclude physicians treating cancer patients should do nothing. I say incorrectly because standards of medical practice have always demanded that doctors make reasonable decisions as to what is best for their patients based on what is currently known—what is called a risk/benefit analysis. If a patient has a potentially fatal cancer, the doctor cannot dismiss a relatively benign potential treatment modality just because definitive studies have not been done, passively watching his or her patient die. Standards of care require doctors perform a risk/benefit analysis and then act in the best interest of their patient.

Luckily, such doctors recently obtained some guidance. In the first study of its kind, Professor Bruce Hollis of the Medical University of South Carolina gave all of us something to think about. He asked and answered a simple question: How much vitamin D do you have to take to normalize the metabolism of vitamin D?

Vitamin D’s unique behavior

Remember, unlike other steroid hormones, vitamin D has very unusual metabolism in most modern humans, called first-order, mass-action kinetics. What this means is that the more vitamin D you take, the higher the 25(OH)D level in your blood and the higher the 25(OH)D level in your blood, the higher the levels of activated vitamin D in your tissues. No other steroid hormone in the body behaves like this. Think about it, would you like your estrogen level to be dependent on how much cholesterol you ate? Or your cortisol level? (I’d ask the same about testosterone levels but I know men well enough not to ask.) No, the body must tightly regulate powerful steroid hormones through substrate inhibition, that is, if an enzyme turns A into B, when the body has enough B, B inhibits the enzyme and so limits its own production.

Not so with vitamin D, at least at modern, human vitamin D levels. Professor Reinhold Vieth was the first to write about this and Vieth’s Chapter 61 in Feldman, Pike, and Glorieux’s wonderful textbook, entitled Vitamin D (Elsevier, 2005, second edition), is a great reason to buy the textbook or have your library do so. I’m glad to see Amazon is out of stock of the new ones—someone must be reading about vitamin D!—but you can still buy used editions.

Why would the kinetics of vitamin D be different from all other steroids? Maybe they are not, Hollis reasoned like Vieth before him. Maybe vitamin D levels are so low in modern humans that its metabolic system is on full blast all the time in an attempt to give the body all the vitamin D metabolites it craves. So Hollis asked, Is vitamin D’s metabolism different in populations in the upper end of 25(OH)D levels (a population of sun-exposed people and a group of women prescribed 7,000 IU per day)? Note: the entire Hollis study is free to download on Medline. Hollis BW, et al. Circulating vitamin D3 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D in humans: An important tool to define adequate nutritional vitamin D status. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Mar;103(3–5):631–4.

If you look at the two graphs (Figures 1 and 2) of Hollis’ paper, you find vitamin D’s kinetics can be normalized, made just like all other steroid hormones in the body, but you have to get enough sunshine or take enough vitamin D to get your 25(OH)D level above 50 ng/mL—60 ng/mL would be even better. Then your body would start to store cholecalciferol without much further increase in 25(OH)D levels. The reaction becomes saturable. This is a remarkable discovery and it implies levels of 30 and 40 ng/mL are usually not sufficient. It also implies actual vitamin D levels (cholecalciferol levels), not just 25(OH)D levels, may be useful in diagnosing and treating deficiency. Note, that not all of the sun-exposed individuals or women prescribed 7,000 IU/day achieved such levels. That’s because the sun-exposed individuals were tested after an Hawaiian winter and because prescribing and taking are two different things.

25(OH)D level should be greater than 60 ng/mL

So my answer to “How much should I take if I have cancer?” is “Take enough to get your 25(OH)D level above 60 ng/mL, summer and winter.” In doing so, you will have normalized the kinetics of vitamin D and stored the parent compound, cholecalciferol, in your tissues. In the absence of sunshine, you need to take at least 5,000 IU/day to do this. And this may not be enough; cancer patients may use it up faster (increased metabolic clearance) and children may do the same due to their young and vital enzymes. Or you may need less, because you get more sun than you think, more from your diet, or because you are taking a modern medicine that interferes with the metabolism of vitamin D. An even easier way to do it is go to a sun tanning booth every day and obtain and keep a dark, full-body, tan. Then you don’t have to worry about blood levels but I’d get one anyway, just to be sure it was above 60 ng/mL.

Given what Hollis discovered, given the well-known potent anti-cancer properties of activated vitamin D, given epidemiological evidence that summer extends the life of cancer patients, given a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials showed that vitamin D prolongs life, given animal data that simple vitamin D has a treatment effect on cancer, and given a patient with a life-threatening cancer, what would a reasonable physician do? Simply let their patient die while muttering something about the lack of randomized controlled trials?

No, they would simply check 25(OH)D levels every month and advise cancer patients to take enough vitamin D or to frequent sun tanning parlors enough to keep their level above 60 ng/mL. Toxicity does not start until levels reach 150 ng/mL but if you take more than 5,000 IU per day have your doctor order a blood calcium every month or two, along with the 25(OH)D. Both you and he will feel better and because, if you have cancer, you are probably taking lots of other drugs and little is known about how modern drugs interact with vitamin D metabolism. By getting your level above 60 ng/mL, all you are doing is getting your level to where most lifeguards’ levels are at the end of summer, to levels our ancestors had when they lived in the sun, to levels regular users of sun-tan parlors levels achieve, and most importantly, to levels where vitamin D’s pharmacokinetics are normalized.

Little to no risk

In the end, if you have cancer and your physician won’t do a risk/benefit analysis, do it yourself. The risk side of that equation is easy. Both Quest Diagnostics and Lab-Corp, the two largest reference labs in the United States, report the upper limit of 25(OH)D normal is 100 ng/mL and toxic is above 150 ng/mL, so 60 ng/mL is well below both. The reason levels up to 100 ng/mL are published normals is because there is no credible evidence in the literature that levels of 100 ng/mL do any harm and because sun worshipers often have such levels. (If you don’t believe me, go to the beach in the summer for one month, sunbath every day for 30 minutes on each side in your bathing suit, and go home and have a 25(OH)D level.) By getting your level above 60 ng/mL, all you are doing is getting your levels into the mid to upper range of laboratory reference normals. Little or no risk.

What are the potential benefits? It probably depends on a number of things. Did your cancer cells retain the enzyme that activates vitamin D? Many do. Did your cancer cells retain the vitamin D receptor? Many do. If your cancer cells get more substrate [25(OH)D], will that substrate induce the cancer cells to make more vitamin D receptors or more of the activating enzyme? Some cancer cells do both. In practical terms, vitamin D is theoretically more likely to help your cancer the earlier you start taking it. However, no one knows. Certainly there is no reason, other than bad medicine, for cancer patients to die vitamin D deficient. Unfortunately, most do. Tangpricha V, et al. Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients attending an outpatient cancer care clinic in Boston. Endocr Pract. 2004 May–Jun;10(3):292–3. Plant AS, Tisman G. Frequency of combined deficiencies of vitamin D and holotranscobalamin in cancer patients. Nutr Cancer. 2006;56(2):143–8.

It is very important that readers understand I am not suggesting vitamin D cures cancer or that it should replace standard cancer treatment. Oncologists perform miracles every day so one should do what they say. The only exception is vitamin D. If your oncologist tells you not to take vitamin D, ask him three questions.

  • How do you convert ng/mL to nmol/L?
  • How many IU in a nanogram (ng)?
  • How do you spell “cholecalciferol?”

If he doesn’t know how to measure it, weigh it, or spell it, chances are he doesn’t know much about it.

The real risk: waiting for further studies

All of the epidemiological and animal studies in the literature suggest cancer patients will prolong their lives if they take vitamin D. I can’t find any studies that indicate otherwise. However, none of the suggestive studies are randomized controlled interventional trials; they are all epidemiological or animal studies, or, in the case of Vieth’s, an open human study. However, if you have cancer, or your child does, do you want to wait the decades it will take for the American Cancer Society to fund randomized controlled trials using the proper dose of vitamin D? Chances are you, or your child, will not be around to see the results.

John Jacob Cannell MD Executive Director

Vitamin D Can Alter Colon Cancer Cells In Many Ways, Through One Pathway[xxiv]

ScienceDaily (Nov. 26, 2008) — A colon cancer cell isn’t a lost cause. Vitamin D can tame the rogue cell by adjusting everything from its gene expression to its cytoskeleton. In the Nov. 17 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology, Ordóñez-Morán et al. show that one pathway governs the vitamin’s diverse effects. The results help clarify the actions of a molecule that is undergoing clinical trials as a cancer therapy.

Vitamin D stymies colon cancer cells in two ways. It switches on genes such as the one that encodes E-cadherin, a component of the adherens junctions that anchor cells in epithelial layers. The vitamin also induces effects on the cytoskeleton that are required for gene regulation and short-circuiting the Wnt/b-catenin pathway, which is overactive in most colon tumors. The net result is to curb division and prod colon cancer cells to differentiate into epithelial cells that settle down instead of spreading.

To delve into the mechanism, the team dosed colon cancer cells with calcitriol, the metabolically active version of vitamin D. Calcitriol triggered a surge of calcium into the cells and the subsequent switching on of RhoA–RhoGTPases, which have been implicated in the cytoskeletal changes induced by vitamin D. The activated RhoA in turn switched on one of its targets, the rho-associated coiled kinase (ROCK), which then roused two other kinases. Each step in this nongenomic pathway was necessary to spur the genomic responses, the researchers showed. The team also nailed down the contribution of the vitamin D receptor (VDR). The receptor was crucial at the beginning of the pathway, where it permitted the calcium influx, and at the end, where it activated and repressed genes.

The study is the first to show that vitamin D’s genomic and nongenomic effects integrate to regulate cell physiology. One question the researchers now want to pursue is whether VDR from different locations—the nucleus, the cytosol, and possibly the cell membrane—has different functions in the pathway.

Reference: Ordóñez-Morán, P., et al. 2008. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200803020.

Macrophage Activation May Suppress Breast Cancer Metastasis[xxv]

By David Douglas

NEW YORK FEB 20, 2008 (Reuters Health) – Vitamin D-binding protein-derived macrophage activating factor (Gc-MAF) appears to be an effective immunotherapeutic agent in patients with metastatic breast cancer, according to US and Japanese researchers.

“Serum vitamin D-binding protein – known as Gc protein – is the precursor of the principal macrophage activating factor,” lead investigator Dr. Nobuto Yamamoto told Reuters Health.

“Treatment of purified Gc protein with beta-galactosidase and sialidase generates Gc-MAF,” he added, “the most potent macrophage activating factor ever discovered, which produces no side effect in humans.”

Dr. Yamamoto of the Socrates Institute for Therapeutic Immunology, Philadelphia and colleagues note that in vitro studies show that macrophages treated with Gc-MAF have a highly tumoricidal effect in mammary adenocarcinomas.

To investigate whether the approach can be effective in humans, the researchers studied 16 non-anemic breast cancer patients who were given “a minute amount – 100 nanograms per week – of Gc-MAF,” Dr. Yamamoto said.

The researchers found that after 16 to 22 Gc-MAF doses, initially elevated nagalase levels, which reflect the tumor burden, fell to those found in healthy controls. Follow-up over 4 years showed that the level remained low and that there was no tumor recurrence, they report in the January 15th issue of The International Journal of Cancer.

The findings, the team concludes, clearly demonstrate “the importance of focusing cancer immunotherapy on macrophage activation.”

International Journal Cancer. 2008 Jan 15; 122(2):461-7.

Immunotherapy of metastatic colorectal cancer with vitamin D-binding protein-derived macrophage-activating factor, Gc-MAF

Nobuto Yamamoto, Hirofumi Suyama, Hiroaki Nakazato, Nobuyuki Yamamoto and Yoshihiko Koga

Abstract: Serum vitamin D binding protein (Gc protein) is the precursor for the principal macrophage-activating factor (MAF). The MAF precursor activity of serum Gc protein of colorectal cancer patients was lost or reduced because Gc protein is deglycosylated by serum α-N-acetylgalactosaminidase (Nagalase) secreted from cancerous cells. Deglycosylated Gc protein cannot be converted to MAF, leading to immunosuppression. Stepwise treatment of purified Gc protein with immobilized β-galactosidase and sialidase generated the most potent macrophage-activating factor (Gc-MAF) ever discovered, but it produces no side effect in humans. Macrophages treated with Gc-MAF (100 pg/ml) develop an enormous variation of receptors and are highly tumoricidal to a variety of cancers indiscriminately. Administration of 100 nanogram (ng)/human maximally activates systemic macrophages that can kill cancerous cells. Since the half-life of the activated macrophages is approximately 6 days, 100 ng Gc-MAF was administered weekly to eight nonanemic colorectal cancer patients who had previously received tumor-resection but still carried significant amounts of metastatic tumor cells. As Gc-MAF therapy progressed, the MAF precursor activities of all patients increased and conversely their serum Nagalase activities decreased. Since serum Nagalase is proportional to tumor burden, serum Nagalase activity was used as a prognostic index for time course analysis of Gc-MAF therapy. After 32–50 weekly administrations of 100 ng Gc-MAF, all colorectal cancer patients exhibited healthy control levels of the serum Nagalase activity, indicating eradication of metastatic tumor cells. During 7 years after the completion of Gc-MAF therapy, their serum Nagalase activity did not increase, indicating no recurrence of cancer, which was also supported by the annual CT scans of these patients.

May 22, 2008

Colon cancer: prognosis for different latitudes, age groups and seasons in Norway.[xxvi]

Moan J, Porojnicu A, Lagunova Z, Berg JP, Dahlback A.

Department of Radiation Biology, Institute for Cancer Research, Montebello, 0310 Oslo, Norway. johan.moan@labmed.uio.no

The survival of colon cancer patients in Norway, as determined three years after diagnosis, is dependent on the season of diagnosis. This has been attributed to seasonal variations of the vitamin D status. Since solar radiation and food are the human sources of vitamin D, we divided Norway in three regions: The southeast region with a high annual dose of ultraviolet (UV) to the population, as evidenced by a high incidence rate of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin (SCC), the midwest region and the north region with low annual UV doses. The latter region is characterized by a high consumption of vitamin D, mainly through fish intake. Vacations to southern latitudes were equally frequent for all the three geographical regions. Two age groups were analyzed separately (< or =65 years and >65 years), since the photosynthesis of vitamin D(3) in skin decreases with age. In all three regions, and in both age groups, the survival was highest for summer and autumn diagnosis. The seasonal effect was slightly, but not significantly, better for the younger than for the older age group. The effect was similar for all three geographical regions, irrespective of SCC incidence.

PMID: 18029190 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Circulating Vitamin D3 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D in Humans: An Important Tool to Define Adequate Nutritional Vitamin D Status[xxvii]

Bruce W. Hollis, Carol L. Wagner, Mark K. Drezner, and Neil C. Binkley

Abstract

Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] is generally considered the means by which we define nutritional vitamin D status. There is much debate, however, with respect to what a healthy minimum level of circulation 25(OH)D should be. Recent data using various biomarkers such as intact parathyroid hormone (PTH), intestinal calcium absorption, and skeletal density measurements suggest this minimum level to be 80 nmol (32 ng/mL). Surprisingly, the relationship between circulating vitamin D3 and its metabolic product—25(OH)D3 has not been studied. We investigated this relationship in two separate populations: the first, individuals from Hawaii who received significant sun exposure; the second, subjects from a lactation study who received up to 6,400 IU vitamin D3/day for six months.

Results: 1) The relationship between circulating vitamin D3 and 25(OH)D in both groups was not linear, but appeared saturable and controlled; 2) Optimal nutritional vitamin D status appeared to occur when molar ratios of circulating vitamin D3 and 25(OH)D exceeded 0.3; at this point, the Vmax of the 25-hydroxylase appeared to be achieved. This was achieved when circulating 25(OH)D exceeded 100 nmol.

We hypothesize that as humans live today, the 25-hydroxylase operates well below its Vmax because of chronic substrate deficiency, namely vitamin D3. When humans are sun (or dietary) replete, the vitamin D endocrine system will function in a fashion as do these other steroid synthetic pathways, not limited by substrate. Thus, the relationship between circulating vitamin D and 25(OH)D may represent what “normal” vitamin D status should be.

Keywords: vitamin D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, nutritional vitamin D status

Introduction

What is a normal circulating level of 25(OH)D that is sufficient to meet all physiological needs, not simply skeletal requirements in humans? In the past, this was addressed by simply sampling a diverse population of subjects who were asymptomatic for disease, measuring circulating 25(OH)D, and plotting the data using a Gaussian distribution. This approach yields normative data that are used to assess circulating 25(OH)D in that population. This is how Haddad and Chyu (1) performed their assessment of 25(OH)D status more than thirty-five years ago. They referred to their normal, asymptomatic volunteers as the normal population for circulating 25(OH)D levels. Their study also presented a group of lifeguards that had circulating 25(OH)D levels 2.5 times that of the “normals.” Countless similar studies have been performed during the ensuing decades, reiterating the same conclusion. We, however, interpret the original Haddad data differently: we suggest that the 25(OH)D levels in the sun-replete lifeguards are normal and the “normals” actually exhibit varying degrees of vitamin D deficiency.

How nutritional vitamin D deficiency is defined is a key to developing a coherent supplement policy that meets the needs of all humans. Recently, inadequate circulating 25(OH)D levels have been linked to biomarkers, including skeletal density (24), intestinal calcium absorption (5), secondary hyperparathyroidism (610), insulin secretion (11, 12), and innate immune response (13). These markers all are useful in identifying nutritional vitamin D deficiency; however, the link between 25(OH)D and vitamin D—when available at adequate concentration, remains unknown and could prove to be another important piece in understanding vitamin D metabolism. We sought to investigate this question of how 25(OH)D would respond if adequate substrate, namely vitamin D3, was always present. Thus, for this project, we studied two groups of subjects, one from a sun-rich environment and the other from a high-dose vitamin D3 supplementation study, the results of which are presented here.

Materials and Methods

Part 1. Study of Sun-Exposed Subjects

Approval for this study was granted by the University of Wisconsin Health Sciences Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects and the Committee on Human Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. All subjects provided written informed consent prior to the conduct of any study procedure.

Subjects

Skin surface exposed to the sun in these subjects varied from almost total in surfers to head, arms and hands in skateboarders. Ninety-three subjects (63 males/30 females) participated in the study.

Entrance Criteria

Subjects from a sun-rich climate were recruited from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and from patrons of the A’ala Park Board shop, Honolulu, Hawaii (latitude 21°N), in late March 2005. In order to participate, volunteers had to have met the entrance criteria of the following: a self-reported sun exposure time of three or more hours per day on five or more days per week for at least the preceding three months. Those who met entrance criteria were enrolled in the study following written informed consent.

Study Protocol

  1. Blood was collected for serum 25(OH)D and vitamin D3 measurement when they were interviewed.
  2. All participants completed a non-validated, self-administered questionnaire, which included questions about sun exposure, sunscreen use, and dietary vitamin D intake.
  3. To document sun exposure, skin color was measured by reflectance colorimetry (IMS SmartProbe, Millford, CT). A measurement was taken on the back of the hand and the front of the distal thigh for the darkest measurement and under the arm and at the self-reported least sun-exposed area—often the breast or buttock, to determine the lightest or natural skin color. A previously developed sun exposure index (14), which utilizes the rule of nines was used to estimate the amount and duration of skin sun exposure.
  4. Circulating 25(OH)D was measured on all 93 subjects using an RIA as previously reported (15).
  5. Data Analysis: The 10 highest and 10 lowest circulating 25(OH)D levels were selected to determine circulating vitamin D3 levels using direct ultraviolet (UV) detection following high performance liquid chromatography as previously described (16). The data were plotted using a best-fit regression analysis with vitamin D3 serving as the independent variable.

Part II. Study of High Dose Vitamin D3 Supplemented Subjects

Approval for this study was granted by the Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects, HR #11345 and the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC; Protocol #694). Fully lactating mothers (17) within one month postpartum were eligible for inclusion in the study if they planned to continue full breastfeeding for the next six months. The subjects were randomly divided into two groups. Exclusion criteria included preexisting type I or type II diabetes, hypertension, parathyroid disease, and uncontrolled thyroid disease. Subjects were compensated for their participation with gift cards given at the end of each visit.

Study Design

Women in the high dose supplementation group of a larger randomized, double-blind, placebo-control trial were included in this study. Following written informed consent, mothers were randomized to one of two vitamin D supplementation regimens: Group 1: 400 IU vitamin D3/day (0 IU vitamin D3—placebo and 1 prenatal vitamin containing 400 IU vitamin D3), or Group 2: 6,400 IU vitamin D3/day (6,000 IU vitamin D3 and 1 prenatal vitamin containing 400 IU vitamin D3).

Study Protocol

  1. Following written informed consent, each mother had baseline serum samples collected for measurement of circulating 25(OH)D and vitamin D3.
  2. The mothers were started on a total of 400 or 6,400 IU vitamin D3 tablets/day (Tishcon Corporation, Westberry, NY, a Good-Manufacturing-Practice (GMP) facility that met FDA production guidelines) for up to 6 months.
  3. Serum samples were collected at monthly intervals and analyzed for circulating 25(OH)D and vitamin D3 as described for the sun-rich population in Part I (Methods).
  4. Data Analysis: The data were plotted as in Part I of the study using a best-fit regression analysis with vitamin D3 serving as the independent variable.

Results

Subjects from the sun-rich environment exhibited a wide range of circulating 25(OH)D levels (11–71 ng/mL). Similarly, the range of circulating 25(OH)D levels in women in the supplementation group was from 12–77 ng/mL. This wide range also was observed for the circulating vitamin D3 levels (<1–64 ng/mL in the sun-rich environment group and <1–75 in the supplementation group). When data from the 20 subjects in the lowest and highest quartiles, comparing circulating 25(OH)D and vitamin D3 were plotted, a significant second-order equation was generated (p<0.0001, Figure 1). Similarly, when the data from the supplementation group was plotted, a similar, significant second-order equation was observed (p<0.0001, Figure 2). These equations did not differ statistically (p>0.15).

Figure 1

Circulating 25(OH)D as a Function of Vitamin D3 Status in Subjects from a Sun-Rich Environment

Figure 2

Circulating 25(OH)D as a Function of Vitamin D3 Status in Supplemented Subjects

Discussion

The question, what is a “normal” nutritional vitamin D status, is currently a hotly debated topic. Historically, a “normal” nutritional vitamin D status has been defined as just about any circulating level of 25(OH)D in asymptomatic subjects (1, 18). Recently, attempts have been made to reevaluate this “normal” circulating level of 25(OH)D using biomarkers such as parathyroid hormone (610), intestinal calcium absorption (5), skeletal density (24), glucose clearance (12), and innate immune function (13). Generally, these studies suggest that a minimum circulating level of 25(OH)D should be >80 nmol (32 ng/mL) (18).

In the present study, we sought to investigate what circulating 25(OH)D levels would result in populations exhibiting no substrate limitations to the vitamin D-25-hydroxylase. To perform this, we chose two distinct populations. The first were individuals from a year-found sunny environment who spent a good deal of time outdoors. The second were a group of lactating women receiving a substantial daily oral dose of vitamin D3. Surprisingly, a study such as this previously had not been undertaken. There are several reasons for this. First, finding a group of sun-exposed individuals is not an easy task; in fact, we had to go to Hawaii to find them. Secondly, very few studies have been performed where subjects actually received adequate vitamin D3 supplementation to make them replete. Finally, it is very difficult and costly to measure circulating vitamin D3 and relate it to circulating 25(OH)D. The results of our study are far-reaching.

At a maternal intake of 6,400 IU vitamin D3/day, circulating vitamin D3 increased dramatically. Maternal circulating 25(OH)D also increase; however, the increase appeared to be limited and controlled (Figure 2). A similar relationship was observed in the sun-exposed individuals (Figure 1). In these individuals, sun exposure was greater than fifteen hours/week—although not all had total body exposure, some only hands, arms, and head. The data from our study suggests the following: The relationship between circulating vitamin D3 and 25(OH)D is not linear in either case; rather it appears saturable and controlled. This suggest either/or product-substrate inhibition of the vitamin D-25-hydroxylase. Optimal nutritional vitamin D status may occur when approaching equimolar concentrations of circulating vitamin D3 and 25(OH)D (>100 nmol). At this point, the Vmax of the enzyme appears to be achieved. It is important to note that as humans live today, the vitamin D-25-hydroxylase operates well below its Vmax because of chronic substrate (vitamin D) deficiency. Not a single other steroidal hormone system in the body is limited in this fashion since their starting point is cholesterol. When humans are sun- (or dietary-) replete, the vitamin D endocrine system will function in a fashion as do these other steroid synthetic pathways, not limited by substrate availability.

This study also demonstrates that individuals can be vitamin D deficient with significant sun exposure if the skin area exposed is limited as was suggested several years ago (19). Finally, whether one receives their vitamin D3 orally or through UV exposure, the vitamin D-25-hydroxylase appears to handle it in an equivalent fashion with respect to maintaining circulating 25(OH)D levels. Thus, we believe that the relationship between circulating vitamin D and 25(OH)D may define adequate nutritional vitamin D status.

References

1. Haddad JG, Chyu K. Competitive protein-binding radioassay for 25-hydroxycholecalciferol. J Clin Endocrinal Metab. 1971;33:992–995.

2. Bischoff-Ferrari H, Dietrich T, Orav E, Dawson-Hughes B. Positive association between 25(OH)D levels and bone mineral density: A population-based study of younger and older adults. Amer J Med. 2004;116:634–639. [PubMed]

3. Fuleihan E, Nabulsi M, Tamim H, Maalouf J, Salamoun M, Khalife H, et al. Effect of vitamin D replacement on musculoskeletal parameters in school children: A randomized controlled trial. J Clin Endocrinal Metab. 2006;91:405–412.

4. Javaid M, Crozier S, Harvey N, Gale C, Dennison E, Boucher B, et al. Maternal vitamin D status during pregancy and childhood bone mass at 9 years: A longitudinal study. Lancet. 2006;367:36–43. [PubMed]

5. Heaney R, Dowell M, Hale C, Bendich A. Calcium absorption varies within the reference range for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D. J Amer College Nutr. 2003;22(2):142–146.

6. Lips P, Wiersinga A, Van Ginkel FC, Jongen MJ, Netelenbos JC, Hackeng WH, et al. The effect of vitamin D supplementation on vitamin D status and parathyroid function in elderly subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1988;67:644–650. [PubMed]

7. Gloth FM, Gundberg CM, Holllis BW, Haddad JG, Tobin JD. Vitamin D deficiency in homebound elderly persons. JAMA. 1995;274:1683–1686. [PubMed]

8. Visser M, Deeg D, Lips P. Low vitamin D and high parathyroid hormone levels as determinants of loss of muscle strength and muscle mass (sarcopenia): The longitudinal aging study Amsterdam. J Clin Endocrinal Metab. 2003;88:5766–5772.

9. Vieth R, Ladak Y, Walfish P. Age-related changes in the 25-hydroxyvitamin D versus parathyroid hormone relationship suggest a different reason why older adults require more vitamin D. J Clin Endocrinal Metab. 2003;88:185–191.

10. Chel VG, Ooms ME, Popp-Snijders C, Pavel S, Schothorst AA, Meulemans CCE, et al. Ultraviolet irradiation corrects vitamin D deficiency and suppresses secondary hyperparathyroidism in the elderly. J Bone Mineral Res. 1998;13:1238–1242.

11. Lee S, Clark S, Gill R, Christakos S. 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 and pancreatic beta-cell function: vitamin D receptors, gene expression, and insulin secretion. Endocrinology. 1994;134(4):1602–1610. [PubMed]

12. Chiu K, Chu A, Go V, Soad M. Hypovitaminosis D is associated with insulin resistance and beta cell dysfunction. Amer J Clin Nutr. 2004;79:820–825. [PubMed]

13. Liu PT, Stenger S, Li H, Wenzel L, Tan BH, Krutzik S, et al. Toll-Like Receptor Triggering of a Vitamin D-Mediated Human Antimicrobial Response. Science. 2006:1770–1773. doi: 10.1126/science.1123933. [PubMed]

14. Barger-Lux MJ, Heaney RP. Effects of Above Average Summer Sun Exposure on Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Calcium Absorption. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002;87(11):4952–4956. doi: 10.1210/jc2002-020636. [PubMed]

15. Hollis BW, Kamerud JQ, Selvaag SR, Lorenz JD. Determination of vitamin D status by radioimmunoassay with a 125I-labeled tracer. Clin Chem. 1993;39:529–533. [PubMed]

16. Hollis BW. Detection of vitamin D and its major metabolites. In: Feldman D, Glorieux F, Pike J, editors. Vitamin D. New York, N.Y.: Academic Press; 2005. pp. 932–950.

17. Coffin CF, Labbok MH, Belsey M. Breastfeeding definitions. Contraception. 1997;55:323–325. [PubMed]

18. Hollis BW. Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels indicative of vitamin sufficiency: Implications for establishing a new effective DRI for vitamin D. J Nutr. 2005;135:317–322. [PubMed]

19. Matsuoka LY, Wortsman J, Hollis BW. Use of topical sunscreen for the evaluation of regional synthesis of vitamin D3. J Amer Acad Dermatol. 1990;22:772–775. [PubMed]

Women With Breast Cancer Have Low Vitamin D Levels[xxviii]

ScienceDaily (Oct. 10, 2009) — Women with breast cancer should be given high doses of vitamin D because a majority of them are likely to have low levels of vitamin D, which could contribute to decreased bone mass and greater risk of fractures, according to scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

In a study of 166 women undergoing treatment for breast cancer, nearly 70 percent had low levels of vitamin D in their blood, according to a study being presented Thursday, Oct. 8, at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Breast Cancer Symposium in San Francisco. The analysis showed women with late-stage disease and non-Caucasian women had even lower levels.

“Vitamin D is essential to maintaining bone health, and women with breast cancer have accelerated bone loss due to the nature of hormone therapy and chemotherapy. It’s important for women and their doctors to work together to boost their vitamin D intake,” said Luke Peppone, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Radiation Oncology, at Rochester’s James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. He is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Community Clinical Oncology Program research base in Rochester.

Scientists funded by the NCI analyzed vitamin D levels in each woman, and the average level was 27 nanograms per milliliter; more than two-thirds of the women had vitamin deficiency. Weekly supplementation with high doses of vitamin D — 50,000 international units or more — improved the levels, according to Peppone’s study.

The U.S. Institute of Medicine suggests that blood levels nearing 32 nanograms per milliliter are adequate.

This problem is not unexpected, Peppone said, because previous studies have shown that nearly half of all men and women are deficient in the nutrient, with vitamin D levels below 32 nanograms per milliliter. Vitamin D, obtained from milk, fortified cereals and exposure to sunlight, is well known to play an essential role in cell growth, in boosting the body’s immune system and in strengthening bones.

Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include muscle pain, weak bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, symptoms of depression and mood swings, and sleep irregularities, many of which are common for women undergoing breast cancer treatment.

Adapted from materials provided by University of Rochester Medical Center.

Real Help for Cancer?

by Bill Sardi and Timothy Hubbell

The weekly injection of just 100 billionths of a gram of a harmless glyco-protein (a naturally-produced molecule with a sugar component and a protein component) activates the human immune system and cures cancer for good, according to human studies among breast cancer and colon cancer patients, producing complete remissions lasting 4 and 7 years respectively. This glyco-protein cure is totally without side effect but currently goes unused by cancer doctors.

Normal Gc protein (also called vitamin D binding protein), an abundant glyco-protein found in human blood serum, becomes the molecular switch to activate macrophages when it is converted to its active form, called Gc macrophage activating factor (Gc-MAF). Gc protein is normally activated by conversion to Gc-MAF with the help of the B and T cells (bone marrow-made and thymus gland-made white blood cells). But, as researchers explain it themselves, cancer cells secrete an enzyme known as alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase (also called Nagalase) that completely blocks conversion of Gc protein to Gc-MAF, preventing tumor-cell killing by the macrophages. This is the way cancer cells escape detection and destruction, by disengaging the human immune system. This also leaves cancer patients prone to infections and many then succumb to pneumonia or other infections.

The once-weekly injection of minute amounts of Gc-MAF, just 100 nanograms (billionths of a gram), activates macrophages and allows the immune system to pursue cancer cells with vigor, sufficient to produce total long-term cures in humans.

Nobuto Yamamoto, director of the Division of Cancer Immunology and Molecular Biology, Socrates Institute for Therapeutic Immunology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, says this is “probably the most potent macrophage activating factor ever discovered.”

A MACROPHAGE OVERCOMES AND EATS A CANCER CELL
FROM THE UPJOHN COMPANY, THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Once a sufficient number of activated macrophages are produced, another Gc-MAF injection is not needed for a week because macrophages have a half-life of about six days. After 16-22 weekly doses of Gc-MAF the amount of Nagalase enzyme fell to levels found in healthy people, which serves as evidence tumors have been completely eliminated. The treatment was fool-proof – it worked in 100% of 16 breast cancer patients and there were no recurrent tumors over a period of 4 years, says a report in the January 15 issue of the International Journal of Cancer. [International Journal Cancer. 2008 January15; 122(2):461-7]

In another startling follow-up report by Dr. Yamamoto and colleagues, published in the upcoming July issue of Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy, Gc-MAF therapy totally abolished tumors in 8 colon cancer patients who had already undergone surgery but still exhibited circulating cancer cells (metastases). After 32-50 weekly injections, “all colorectal cancer patients exhibited healthy control levels of the serum Nagalase activity, indicating eradication of metastatic tumor cells,” said researchers, an effect that lasted 7 years with no indication of cancer recurrence either by enzyme activity or CT scans, said researchers. [Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy Volume 57, Number 7 / July, 2008] Published in an early online edition of this journal, this confirming report has received no attention by the new media so far, despite its striking importance.

Gc-MAF treatment for cancer has been agonizingly slow to develop. Dr. Yamamoto first described this immuno-therapy in 1993. [The Journal of Immunology, 1993 151 (5); 2794-2802]

● Untreated mice ○ Mice given macrophage activating factor

In a similar animal experiment published in 2003, researchers in Germany, Japan and the United States collaborated to successfully demonstrate that after they had injected macrophage activating factor (Gc-MAF) into tumor-bearing mice, it totally eradicated tumors (see the above chart). [Neoplasia 2003 January; 5(1): 32–40]

In 1997 Dr. Yamamoto injected Gc-MAF protein into tumor-bearing mice, with the same startling results. A single enzyme injection doubled the survival of these mice and just four enzyme injections increased survival by 6-fold. [Cancer Research 1997 Jun 1; 57(11):2187-92]

In 1996 Dr. Yamamoto reported that all 52 cancer patients he had studied carried elevated blood plasma levels of the immune inactivating alpha-N-acetylgalactosaminidase enzyme (Nagalase), whereas healthy humans had very low levels of this enzyme. [Cancer Research 1996 Jun 15; 56(12):2827-31]

In the early 1990s Dr. Yamamoto first described how the human immune system is disengaged by enzymes secreted from cancer cells, even filing a patent on the proposed therapy. [US Patent 5326749, July 1994; Cancer Research 1996 June 15; 56: 2827-31]

Activated Gc protein has been used in humans at much higher doses without side effect. This Gc macrophage activating factor (Gc-MAF) has been shown to be effective against a variety of cancers including breast, prostate, stomach, liver, lung, uterus, ovary, brain, skin, head/neck cancer and leukemia.

Although Gc-MAF is also called vitamin D binding protein, the activation of macrophages does not require vitamin D.

It cannot be said the Gc-MAF cancer cure has gone unheralded. Reuters News covered this developing story in January. But the news story still did not receive top billing nor did it fully elucidate the importance of the discovery, actually made years ago, that the human body is capable of abolishing cancer once its immune system is properly activated.

Gc-MAF is a naturally made molecule and is not patentable, though its manufacturing process is patent protected. There is no evidence of any current effort to commercialize this therapy or put it into practice. Should such an effective treatment for cancer come into common practice, the income stream from health insurance plans for every oncology office and cancer center in the world would likely be reduced to the point of financial insolvency and hundreds of thousands of jobs would be eliminated.

The National Cancer Institute estimates cancer care in the U.S. costs ~$72 billion annually (2004). Furthermore, about $55 billion of cancer drugs are used annually, none which have not significantly improved survival rates throughout the history of their use. If a typical cancer patient had to undergo 30 Gc-MAF injections at a cost of $150 per injection, that would cost ~$4500, not counting doctor’s office visits and follow-up testing. For comparison, gene-targeted cancer drugs range from $13,000 to $100,000 in cost per year and produce only marginal improvements in survival (weeks to months). [Targeted Oncology 2007 April, 2 (2); 113-19]

Up to this point, the National Cancer Institute is totally silent on this discovery and there is no evidence the cancer care industry plans to quickly mobilize to use this otherwise harmless treatment.

Timothy Hubbell, a biochemist from Cincinnati, first called attention to this discovery and provided consultation on the biochemistry.


High Levels of Vitamin D in Older People Can Reduce Heart Disease and Diabetes[xxix]

ScienceDaily (Feb. 22, 2010) — Middle aged and elderly people with high levels of vitamin D could reduce their chances of developing heart disease or diabetes by 43%, according to researchers at the University of Warwick.

A team of researchers at Warwick Medical School carried out a systematic literature review of studies examining vitamin D and cardiometabolic disorders. Cardiometabolic disorders include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in some foods and is also produced when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel are good sources of vitamin D, and it is also available as a dietary supplement.

Researchers looked at 28 studies including 99,745 participants across a variety of ethnic groups including men and women. The studies revealed a significant association between high levels of vitamin D and a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (33% compared to low levels of vitamin D), type 2 diabetes (55% reduction) and metabolic syndrome (51% reduction).

The literature review, published in the journal Maturitas, was led by Johanna Parker and Dr Oscar Franco, Assistant Professor in Public Health at Warwick Medical School.

Dr Franco said: “We found that high levels of vitamin D among middle age and elderly populations are associated with a substantial decrease in cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

“Targeting vitamin D deficiency in adult populations could potentially slow the current epidemics of cardiometabolic disorders.”

All studies included were published between 1990 and 2009 with the majority published between 2004 and 2009. Half of the studies were conducted in the United States, eight were European, two studies were from Iran, three from Australasia and one from India.

Journal Reference: Parker et al. Levels of vitamin D and cardiometabolic disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Maturitas, 2010; 65 (3): 225 DOI: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2009.12.013

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“ …. studies have shown a link between low vitamin D status and heart disease.”[xxx]

VITAMIN D TESTING [xxxi]

I hope you are convinced by the information I’ve given you that Vitamin D3 is a vital part of your recovery (or prevention) regimen for cancer. It also is vital for preventing or treating virtually all other degenerative conditions. Studies have shown that over 95% of the population of all civilized countries are deficient in this vital substance.

When I interviewed Dr. William Grant a few weeks ago on my Web Talk Radio show, he stressed the importance of cancer patients taking enough of Vitamin D3. This is significant because Dr. Grant is one of the world’s most informed scientists about this subject. He has published at least three dozen studies of the effects of Vitamin D and cancer. He is a Ph.D., not a medical doctor, and this is his primary field of study.

Dr. Grant told me about a wonderful service where you can get your Vitamin D level tested every 6 months for the next 5 years for the very reasonable price of $40 every six months. This is part of a five-year study being done by Carole Baggerly, another Vitamin D expert, on the long term effects of Vitamin D on your health. When you go to the website below and sign up for this study, you’ll be asked to fill out a short health questionnaire. When you pay your $40, you’ll be sent a kit and instructions for drawing a couple of drops of blood from your finger at home. You send the packet back to them. A week or so later, you’ll receive an e-mail with your Vitamin D level. Here’s the website for getting started:

www.GrassRootsHealth.net

My first test came back at 94. That’s in the top 3% of all the tests they have done so far of these levels. Most cancer patients, according to Dr. Grant and others I have talked to about this, are in the low 20’s. The “healthy level” is defined as 40-60 on this test, but Dr. Grant assured me that even higher levels are healthy. Dr. Grant recommended that all cancer patients begin taking 30,000 to 40,000 I.U. of Vitamin D3 every day immediately. Then, he said you should adjust this dosage up or down after you get your test results. There is no toxicity at these levels — or much higher levels. The easy way to take this amount is to buy the 5,000 I.U gelcaps. They are very small and easy to swallow. They are also very inexpensive. I get mine at www.PuritansPride.com. I take one or two of these a day for prevention.

Inadequate Levels of Vitamin D May Significantly Increase Risk of Stroke, Heart Disease and Death[xxxii]

ScienceDaily (Nov. 16, 2009) — While mothers have known that feeding their kids milk builds strong bones, a new study by researchers at the Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City suggests that Vitamin D contributes to a strong and healthy heart as well — and that inadequate levels of the vitamin may significantly increase a person’s risk of stroke, heart disease, and death, even among people who’ve never had heart disease.

For more than a year, the Intermountain Medical Center research team followed 27,686 patients who were 50 years of age or older with no prior history of cardiovascular disease. The participants had their blood Vitamin D levels tested during routine clinical care. The patients were divided into three groups based on their Vitamin D levels — normal (over 30 nanograms per milliliter), low (15-30 ng/ml), or very low (less than 15 ng/ml). The patients were then followed to see if they developed some form of heart disease.

Researchers found that patients with very low levels of Vitamin D were 77 percent more likely to die, 45 percent more likely to develop coronary artery disease, and 78 percent were more likely to have a stroke than patients with normal levels. Patients with very low levels of Vitamin D were also twice as likely to develop heart failure than those with normal Vitamin D levels.

Findings from the study will be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Conference on Nov. 16 in Orlando, Florida.

“This was a unique study because the association between Vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease has not been well-established,” says Brent Muhlestein, MD, director of cardiovascular research of the Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center and one of the authors of the new study. “Its conclusions about how we can prevent disease and provide treatment may ultimately help us save more lives.”

A wealth of research has already shown that Vitamin D is involved in the body’s regulation of calcium, which strengthens bones — and as a result, its deficiency is associated with musculoskeletal disorders. Recently, studies have also linked Vitamin D to the regulation of many other bodily functions including blood pressure, glucose control, and inflammation, all of which are important risk factors related to heart disease. From these results, scientists have postulated that Vitamin D deficiency may also be linked to heart disease itself.

“Utah’s population gave us a unique pool of patients whose health histories are different than patients in previous studies,” Dr. Muhlestein says. “For example, because of Utah’s low use of tobacco and alcohol, we were able to narrow the focus of the study to the effects of Vitamin D on the cardiovascular system.”

The results were quite surprising and very important, says Heidi May, PhD, MS, an epidemiologist with the Intermountain Medical Center research team and one of the study authors.

“We concluded that among patients 50 years of age or older, even a moderate deficiency of Vitamin D levels was associated with developing coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke, and death,” she says. “This is important because Vitamin D deficiency is easily treated. If increasing levels of Vitamin D can decrease some risk associated with these cardiovascular diseases, it could have a significant public health impact. When you consider that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America, you understand how this research can help improve the length and quality of people’s lives.”

Because the study was only observational, definitive links between Vitamin D deficiency and heart disease could not be assigned — but the findings create an impetus for further study, says Dr. Muhlestein.

“We believe the findings are important enough to now justify randomized treatment trials of supplementation in patients with Vitamin D deficiency to determine for sure whether it can reduce the risk of heart disease,” he says.

Heart and Bone Damage from Low Vitamin D Tied to Declines in Sex Hormones[xxxiii]

ScienceDaily (Nov. 16, 2009) — Researchers at Johns Hopkins are reporting what is believed to be the first conclusive evidence in men that the long-term ill effects of vitamin D deficiency are amplified by lower levels of the key sex hormone estrogen, but not testosterone.

In a national study in 1010 men, to be presented Nov. 15 at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) annual Scientific Sessions in Orlando, researchers say the new findings build on previous studies showing that deficiencies in vitamin D and low levels of estrogen, found naturally in differing amounts in men and women, were independent risk factors for hardened and narrowed arteries and weakened bones. Vitamin D is an essential part to keeping the body healthy, and can be obtained from fortified foods, such as milk and cereals, and by exposure to sunlight.

“Our results confirm a long-suspected link and suggest that vitamin D supplements, which are already prescribed to treat osteoporosis, may also be useful in preventing heart disease,” says lead study investigator and cardiologist Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S.

“All three steroid hormones — vitamin D, estrogen and testosterone — are produced from cholesterol, whose blood levels are known to influence arterial and bone health,” says Michos, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart and Vascular Institute. “Our study gives us a much better understanding of how the three work in concert to affect cardiovascular and bone health.”

Michos says the overall biological relationship continues to puzzle scientists because studies of the long-term effects of adding estrogen in the form of hormone replacement therapy in women failed to show fewer deaths from heart disease. Indeed, results showed that in some women, an actual increase in heart disease and stroke rates occurred, although, bone fractures declined.

The Hopkins team’s latest data were provided by analyzing blood samples from a subset of men participating in a study on cancer. That study was part of a larger, ongoing national health survey involving both men and women and was designed to compare the risk of diseases between those with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D to those with higher amounts. An unhealthy deficiency, experts say, is considered blood levels of 20 nanograms per milliliter or lower.

The men in the study had their hormone levels measured for both chemical forms of testosterone and estrogen found in blood, when each is either unattached or circulating freely, and when each is attached to a separate protein, known as sex hormone binding globulin, or SHBG for short.

Initial results showed no link between vitamin D deficiency and depressed blood levels of either hormone. And despite finding a harmful relationship between depressed testosterone levels and rates of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, as well as osteopenia in men, researchers found that it was independent of deficiencies in vitamin D.

However, when researchers compared ratios of estrogen to SHBG levels, they found that rates of both diseases, especially osteopenia, the early stage of osteoporosis, were higher when both estrogen and vitamin D levels were depressed.

For every single unit decrease in ratios of estrogen to SHBG (both in nanomoles per liter), men low in vitamin D showed an 89 percent increase in osteopenia, but men with sufficient vitamin D levels had a less worrisome 64 percent jump.

Using the same measure of estrogen levels, men low in vitamin D were also at heightened risk of cardiovascular diseases, at 12 percent, compared to men with adequate levels of the vitamin, at 1 percent, numbers that researchers say are still statistically significant.

“These results reinforce the message of how important proper quantities of vitamin D are to good bone health, and that a man’s risk of developing osteoporosis and heart disease is heavily weighted on the complex and combined interaction of how any such vitamin deficits interact with both their sex hormones, in particular, estrogen,” Michos says.

Michos and her team next plan to analyze blood samples from women to see if the same results from men hold true.

Michos recommends that men and women boost their vitamin D levels by eating diets rich in fatty fish, such as cod, sardines and mackerel, consuming fortified dairy products, taking vitamin supplements, and in warmer weather briefly exposing skin to the sun’s vitamin-D producing ultraviolet light.

She points out that clinical trials are under way to determine whether or not vitamin D supplements can prevent incidents of or deaths from heart attack, stroke and other signs of cardiovascular disease.

The U.S. Institute of Medicine suggests that an adequate daily intake of vitamin D is between 200 and 400 international units, but Michos feels this is inadequate to achieve optimal nutrient blood levels (above 30 nanograms per milliliter). Previous results from the same nationwide survey showed that 41 percent of men and 53 percent of women are technically deficient in the nutrient, with vitamin D levels below 28 nanograms per milliliter.

Funding for this study was provided by the Hormone Demonstration Project, a part of the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund Research Grant Program at the Johns Hopkins University. Additional support was provided by the American College of Cardiology Foundation and a Clinician Scientist Award at the Johns Hopkins University.

Besides Michos, other researchers at Johns Hopkins involved in this study were Jared Reis, Ph.D.; and Meredith Shields and Elizabeth Platz, Ph.D., Sc.D., at the University’s School of Public Health; and Sabine Rohrmann, now at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. Another investigator in this research was Nader Rifai, Ph.D., at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School.

Vitamin D linked to lower heart disease risk[xxxiv]

By raising low levels of the vitamin to normal levels, patients reduce their risk of heart disease by about 30%, an observational study finds.

March 15, 2010|By Shari Roan

Raising the amount of vitamin D in the blood appears to help some people — at least those deficient in the vitamin — reduce their risk of heart disease by about 30%, researchers announced Monday. The findings, though preliminary, support further investigation of the interplay between vitamin D and heart health.

Observational studies have linked heart disease with low vitamin D levels in the blood. In recent years, studies have shown that as many as three-quarters of Americans have a concentration in their blood that is under the normal level of 30 nanograms per milliliter.

But it has been unclear if people with low vitamin D have more heart disease because of the vitamin deficiency or for other reasons, such as lack of exercise, said Dr. J. Brent Muhlestein, the lead author of the new study and director of cardiovascular research at Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City.

He announced the findings at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in Atlanta. “The question we looked at is, if you do something about it, like taking vitamin D supplements, does that reduce the risk?” he said.

Researchers have been uncomfortable randomizing people with low vitamin D into a group that receives supplements and a group that does not because, in theory, every vitamin D deficiency should be treated. Low vitamin D levels can contribute to weaker bones and have been associated with increased risks of several diseases, including several types of cancer.

Instead, Muhlestein’s group examined data from more than 9,000 people who had been diagnosed with low vitamin D and who had a blood sample taken at a later date.

About half of the people had normalized their vitamin D levels by the time of the second blood sample, and they showed much less heart disease compared to people whose levels were still below normal.

“What we did was observational and not definitive, but we think it adds significantly to the story,” Muhlestein said. “It’s at least a reasonable piece of evidence to add to the hypothesis that low vitamin D is causative of cardiovascular risk and treatment can reduce cardiovascular disease risk.”

It’s not clear, however, whether the people who improved their vitamin D levels did other things to benefit their health, such as lowering their cholesterol or blood pressure, that might account for the lower risk of heart disease. Moreover, the pages of science journals are littered with now-disproved studies suggesting that various nutrients, such as vitamins E, C and folic acid, might prevent or treat heart disease.

“It turned out those things didn’t help. The low levels seem to be just markers for people who are less healthy,” said Dr. Douglas Weaver, immediate past president of the American College of Cardiology and chief of cardiology at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. “But I think these studies that show a relationship between heart attack and vitamin D are going to provoke a lot more research to understand what is going on.”

Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin from exposure to sunlight. It’s also found in a limited number of foods, including salmon and fortified milk. Adequate levels may strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation, Muhlestein said.

shari.r oan@latimes.com

Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency, Study Suggests[xxxv]

ScienceDaily (Apr. 10, 2010) — Women living in the northeastern United States are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA), suggesting a link between the autoimmune disease and vitamin D deficiency, says a new study led by a Boston University School of Public Health researcher.

In the paper, which appears online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, a spatial analysis led by Dr. Verónica Vieira, MS, DSc, associate professor of environmental health, found that women in states like Vermont, New Hampshire and southern Maine were more likely to report being diagnosed with RA.

“There’s higher risk in the northern latitudes,” Dr. Vieira said. “This might be related to the fact that there’s less sunlight in these areas, which results in a vitamin D deficiency.”

The study looked at data from the Nurses’ Health Study, a long-term cohort study of U.S. female nurses. Looking at the residential addresses, health outcomes and behavioral risk factors for participants between 1988 and 2002, researchers based their findings on 461 women who had RA, compared to a large control group of 9,220.

RA is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the lining of the joints, mostly in the hands and knees. This chronic arthritis is characterized by swelling and redness and can wear down the cartilage between bones. RA is two to three times more common in women than in men.

Although the cause of RA is unknown, the researchers wrote, earlier studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency, which can be caused by a lack of sunlight, has already been associated with a variety of other autoimmune diseases.

“A geographic association with northern latitudes has also been observed for multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease, other autoimmune diseases that may be mediated by reduced vitamin D from decreased solar exposure and the immune effects of vitamin D deficiency,” the authors wrote.

The authors said further research is needed to look into the relationship between vitamin D exposure and RA.

Dr. Vieira said she and her co-authors were somewhat surprised by the findings. A previous geographic study of RA had suggested an ecologic association with air pollution, she said.

“The results were unexpected,” Dr. Vieira said. “Prior to the analysis, we were more interested in the relationship with air pollution. I hadn’t given latitudes much thought.”

In addition to the geographic variation, the study suggested that the timing of residency may influence RA risk. “Slightly higher odds ratios were observed for the 1988 analysis suggesting that long term exposure may be more important than recent exposure,” the study said.

Dr. Vieira and other BUSPH researchers previously have used innovative spatial-temporal analyses to study the incidence of breast cancer, specifically focused on Cape Cod.

In addition to Dr. Vieira, co-authors of the article are Dr. Jaime Hart, MS, ScD, research fellow, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health; Dr. Thomas Webster, DSc, professor and associate chair, Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health; Dr. Janice Weinberg, ScD, MS, associate professor, Department of Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health; Dr. Robin Puett, PhD, MPH, research assistant professor, Environmental Health Sciences, University of South Carolina; Dr. Francine Laden, ScD, MS, associate professor, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health; Dr. Karen Costenbader, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School; and Dr. Elizabeth Karlson, MD, associate professor of medicine, Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Journal Reference:

Vieira et al. Association between Residences in U.S. Northern Latitudes and Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Spatial Analysis of the Nurses’ Health Study. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2010; DOI: 10.1289/ehp.0901861

Low Vitamin D Levels Associated With More Asthma Symptoms and Medication Use[xxxvi]

ScienceDaily (Apr. 20, 2010) — Low levels of vitamin D are associated with lower lung function and greater medication use in children with asthma, according to researchers at National Jewish Health. In a paper published online this week in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, Daniel Searing, MD, and his colleagues also reported that vitamin D enhances the activity of corticosteroids, the most effective controller medication for asthma.

“Asthmatic children in our study who had low levels of vitamin D were more allergic, had poorer lung function and used more medications,” said Dr. Searing. “Conversely, our findings suggest that vitamin D supplementation may help reverse steroid resistance in asthmatic children and reduce the effective dose of steroids needed for our patients.”

The researchers examined electronic medical records of 100 pediatric asthma patients referred to National Jewish Health. Overall, 47 percent of them had vitamin D levels considered insufficient, below 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL). Seventeen percent of the patients had levels below 20 ng/mL, which is considered deficient. These levels were similar to vitamin D levels found in the general population.

Patients low in vitamin D generally had higher levels of IgE, a marker of allergy, and responded positively to more allergens in a skin prick test. Allergies to the specific indoor allergens, dog and house dust mite, were higher in patients with low vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D also correlated with low FEV1, the amount of air a person can exhale in one second, and lower FEV1/FVC, another measure of lung function. Use of inhaled steroids, oral steroids and long-acting beta agonists were all higher in patients low in vitamin D.

“Our findings suggest two possible explanations,” said senior author Donald Leung, MD, PhD. “It could be that lower vitamin D levels contribute to increasing asthma severity, which requires more corticosteroid therapy. Or, it may be that vitamin D directly affects steroid activity, and that low levels of vitamin D make the steroids less effective, thus requiring more medication for the same effect.”

The researchers performed a series of laboratory experiments that indicated vitamin D enhances the action of corticosteroids. They cultured some immune cells with the corticosteroid dexamethasone alone and others with vitamin D first, then dexamethasone. The vitamin D significantly increased the effectiveness of dexamethasone. In one experiment vitamin D and dexamethasone together were more effective than 10 times as much dexamethasone alone.

The researchers also incubated immune-system cells for 72 hours with a staphylococcal toxin to induce corticosteroid resistance. Vitamin D restored the activity of dexamethasone.

“Our work suggests that vitamin D enhances the anti-inflammatory function of corticosteroids,’ said Dr. Leung. “If future studies confirm these findings vitamin D may help asthma patients achieve better control of their respiratory symptoms with less medication.”

This study comes on the heels of another paper by National Jewish Health faculty, which showed that low levels of vitamin D in adult asthma patients are associated with lower lung function and reduced responsiveness to corticosteroids.

Journal Reference: Searing et al. Decreased serum vitamin D levels in children with asthma are associated with increased corticosteroid use. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2010.03.008

Researchers Recommend Pregnant Women Take 4,000 IU Vitamin D a Day[xxxvii]

ScienceDaily (May 1, 2010) — Taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy is not only safe for mother and baby, but also can prevent preterm labor/births and infections, according to results of a randomized controlled study to be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

In the 1950s and ’60s, people were concerned that vitamin D could cause birth defects, according to Carol L. Wagner, MD, lead author of the study and a pediatric researcher at Medical University of South Carolina. It now is known that vitamin D is important for maternal and infant health, including bone health and immune function.

Recent studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is a serious public health issue.

“Diet doesn’t provide enough vitamin D, and we don’t go in the sun as much as we need,” Dr. Wagner said.

Therefore, she and her colleagues, including Bruce W. Hollis, PhD, who has worked in the field of vitamin D research for the last 30 years, set out to determine the optimal dose of vitamin D supplements for pregnant women without doing harm.

Researchers randomized 494 pregnant women at 12-16 weeks’ gestation into three treatment groups. Group one received 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D a day until delivery; group two received 2,000 IU and group three received 4,000 IU. The women were evaluated monthly to ensure safety.

“No adverse events related to vitamin D dosing were found in any of the three arms of the study,” Dr. Wagner said.

Investigators also looked at the effects of vitamin D supplementation on complications during pregnancy, including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, infections, and preterm labor and birth.

“The spectacular part of the study was it showed women replete in vitamin D had lower rates of preterm labor and preterm birth, and lower rates of infection,” Dr. Wagner said.

The greatest effects were seen among women taking 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day. Therefore, the researchers recommend this daily regimen for all pregnant women.

Story Source: Adapted from materials provided by American Academy of Pediatrics, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Low Vitamin D Levels Are Related to MS Brain Atrophy, Cognitive Function, Studies Show[xxxviii]

ScienceDaily (Apr. 30, 2010) — Low vitamin D levels may be associated with more advanced physical disability and cognitive impairment in persons with multiple sclerosis, studies conducted by neurologists at the University at Buffalo have shown.

Their results, reported at the American Academy of Neurology meeting, held earlier this month, indicated that:

  • The majority of MS patients and healthy controls had insufficient vitamin D levels.
  • Clinical evaluation and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images show low blood levels of total vitamin D and certain active vitamin D byproducts are associated with increased disability, brain atrophy and brain lesion load in MS patients.
  • A potential association exists between cognitive impairment in MS patients and low vitamin D levels.

The MRI study involved 236 MS patients — 208 diagnosed with the relapsing-remitting type and 28 with secondary progressive, a more destructive form of MS — and 22 persons without MS.

All participants provided blood serum samples, which were analyzed for total vitamin D (D2 and D3) levels as well as levels of active vitamin D byproducts. MRI scans performed within three months of blood sampling were available for 163 of the MS patients.

Results showed that only seven percent of persons with secondary-progressive MS showed sufficient vitamin D, compared to 18.3 percent of patients with the less severe relapsing-remitting type.

Higher levels of vitamin D3 and vitamin D3 metabolism byproducts (analyzed as a ratio) also were associated with better scores on disability tests, results showed, and with less brain atrophy and fewer lesions on MRI scans.

Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, UB associate professor of neurology/Jacobs Neurological Institute and director of the Baird Multiple Sclerosis Center, is first author on the study. Commenting on these results, Weinstock-Guttman said: “Clinical studies are necessary to assess vitamin D supplementation and the underlying mechanism that contributes to MS disease progression.”

While lower-than-normal vitamin D status is known to be associated with a higher risk of developing MS, little is known about its relationship to cognitive impairment.

Sarah A. Morrow, MD, UB assistant research professor of neurology/Jacobs Neurological Institute and lead author on the cognitive-impairment study, compared vitamin D levels in blood samples of 136 MS patients with the results of their neuropsychological assessments that tested multiple types of cognition affected by MS.

“Results showed that MS patients who were impaired on tests of executive function — critical reasoning and abstract thinking — and the ability to plan and organize, were more likely to be deficient in vitamin D,” said Morrow.

“This relationship held true when controlling for the season during which vitamin D was measured, as well as depression, which is known to be associated with lower vitamin D levels.” Morrow noted there also was a suggestion that verbal fluency (word generation) and visual-spatial memory (learning and memory of shapes and figures) is more likely to be affected when vitamin D levels are not sufficient.

Morrow is continuing her research to clarify these relationships.

Vitamin D Deficiency Associated With Chronic Fatigue in Brain Injured Patients[xxxix]

ScienceDaily (Apr. 28, 2010) — New evidence presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology has shown that vitamin D deficiency is closely associated with the chronic fatigue that often follows post traumatic brain injury (TBI).

TBI is a major cause of death and disability worldwide. In the European Union the annual incidence of TBI hospitalizations and fatalities is estimated at 235 per 100,000 people. This means that on average a large European state such as the UK, France or Germany, will have around 140,000 new traumatic brain injuries every year (national figures vary). Around two-thirds of post TBI patients go on to suffer chronic fatigue. Now a group of researchers in the Netherlands have linked vitamin D deficiency to chronic fatigue in post-TBI sufferers.

The group, led by Dr Jessica Schnieders from Rijnstate Hospital in Arnham, The Netherlands, looked at vitamin D and hormone levels in 90 fatigued and non-fatigued subjects. They also systematically evaluated pituitary hormones and factors such as sleep, attention, emotional well-being, quality of life, coping style, and daily activity. They found that 51% of TBI patients were severely fatigued 10 years after the trauma. Vitamin D deficiency was present in 65% of post TBI patients and significantly related with fatigue (P<0.05), with patients who suffered from fatigue more likely to be vitamin D deficient. The group also found a higher incidence of growth hormone and sex hormone deficiency in the fatigued group, but they found no evidence that these deficiencies contributed to the fatigue.

This work opens the possibility that correcting the vitamin D deficiency might help to reduce some of the chronic fatigue in TBI patients. However, as vitamin D levels in the body are affected by diet and time spent in the sunshine, further studies are now needed to confirm whether low vitamin D levels are a cause of the fatigue or whether they are a consequence of altered lifestyle led due to suffering from fatigue.

Lead researcher, Dr Jessica Schnieders said: “In the Netherlands we have 30,000 people every year who suffer a traumatic brain injury and many of these go on to suffer from chronic fatigue. This is early work, so we need to confirm that vitamin D is the cause of this fatigue, and if so to see if taking vitamin D, perhaps coupled with improved sleep patterns, can alleviate some of the symptoms.

“We looked at patients around 10 years after their trauma. Fatigued post traumatic brain injury patients are less active, and generally experience a reduced quality of life. They have difficulties in maintaining relationships and keeping jobs, and are less independent than people who have not had to cope with such trauma.”

Story Source:

Adapted from materials provided by European Society of Endocrinology, via AlphaGalileo.

Better Vitamin D Status Could Mean Better Quality of Life for Seniors[xl]

ScienceDaily (Apr. 26, 2010) — According to legend, it was The Fountain of Youth that the famed Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon was seeking when he landed on the Floridian coast in 1513. It has long been said that he who drinks from the Fountain will have his youth restored. Without a doubt, the quest for eternal youth is as ancient as any pursuit. However, although we are now living longer than ever, there is now growing concern that quantity of years is not nearly as important as quality of those years. Indeed, as we experience the many joys of living longer, we also must deal with myriad consequences accompanying this aging trend.

For instance, osteoporosis, arthritis, and other serious and often painful bone and joint diseases are much more common as we get older. And, not surprisingly, seniors often struggle daily with what was once the simple task of getting around. Hence, the obvious question in today’s society concerning our longevity is “What choices can we make to help ease these inconveniences of aging?”

One area of particular interest is the role that diet plays in keeping bones and muscles strong from infancy to old age. For instance, a limited number of studies point to the possibility that optimal intake of vitamin D (the “sunshine” vitamin) might help keep our muscles strong and preserve physical function. Although there are only few longitudinal studies investigating this relationship, their findings have been mixed. To help understand this diet-health association, Dr. Denise Houston from the Sticht Center on Aging at Wake Forest University and her collaborators studied the relationship between vitamin D status and physical function in a group of relatively healthy seniors living in Memphis, TN and Pittsburgh, PA. Their results will be presented on April 25 as part of the scientific program of the American Society for Nutrition, composed of the world’s leading nutrition researchers, at the Experimental Biology 2010 meeting in Anaheim, California.

This study was part of the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) study initially designed to assess the associations among body composition, long-term health conditions, and mobility in older adults. For Houston’s segment of the investigation, she studied 2788 seniors (mean age: ~75 years) for 4 years. At the beginning of the study, they assessed vitamin D status by analyzing each person’s blood for 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a precursor for activated vitamin D. At baseline and then 2 and 4 years later, the research team then determined whether circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D was related to the participants’ physical function. Specifically, they looked at how quickly each participant could walk a short distance (6 meters) and rise from a chair five times as well as maintain his or her balance in progressively more challenging positions. Each participant was also put through a battery of tests assessing endurance and strength.

When the results were tabulated, participants with the highest levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D had better physical function. And, although physical function declined over the course of the study, it remained significantly higher among those with the highest vitamin D levels at the beginning of the study compared to those with the lowest vitamin D levels. The scientists were not surprised to learn that, in general, vitamin D consumption was very low in this group of otherwise healthy seniors. In fact, more than 90% of them consumed less vitamin D than currently recommended, and many were relying on dietary supplements.

The good news: higher circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D is related to better physical function in seniors. But it’s impossible to tell from this type of research whether increasing vitamin D intake will actually lead to stronger muscles and preserve physical function. This is partly due to the fact that our bodies can make vitamin D if they get enough sunlight. So, it is possible that the participants with better physical function had higher vitamin D status simply because they were able to go outside more often. Indeed, the ominous “chicken-or-the-egg” question can only be answered by carefully controlled clinical intervention trials. Nonetheless, it is possible that getting more vitamin D from foods (like fortified milk and oily fish) or supplements will help maintain youth and vitality as we enjoy longer lifespans. As Houston points out: “Current dietary recommendations are based primarily on vitamin D’s effects on bone health. It is possible that higher amounts of vitamin D are needed for the preservation of muscle strength and physical function as well as other health conditions. However, clinical trials are needed to definitively determine whether increasing 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations through diet or supplements has an effect on these non-traditional outcomes.”

Will vitamin D research lead us to The Fountain of Youth? Probably not. But paying attention to how much vitamin D we get is likely important at every age and will help enhance the “quality” component of life as we enter our senior years.

Dr. Denise Houston (Wake Forest University, Winston Salem, NC); Dr. Janet Tooze (Wake Forest University); Rebecca Neiberg (Wake Forest University), Dr. Kyla Shea (Wake Forest University), Dr. Dorothy Hausman (University of Georgia, Athens, GA), Dr. Mary Ann Johnson (University of Georgia), Dr. Jane Cauley (University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA), Dr. Doug Bauer (University of California, San Francisco, CA), Dr. Frances Tylavsky (University of Tennessee, Memphis, TN), Dr. Marjolein Visser (VU University, Amsterdam, Netherlands), Dr. Eleanor Simonsick (National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MD), Dr. Tamara Harris (National Institute on Aging), and Dr. Stephen Kritchevsky (Wake Forest University) were coauthors on this paper.

Story Source:

Adapted from materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Effect of 25-hydroxyvitamin D status on serological response to influenza vaccine in prostate cancer patients[xli]

The Prostate, 09/08/2010

Chadha MK et al. – Epidemiologic data suggest that there is an association between vitamin D deficiency and influenza infection. The authors conducted a prospective influenza vaccination study to determine the influence of vitamin D status on serological response to influenza vaccine in prostate cancer (CaP) patients. In this study in CaP patients, a replete vitamin D status was associated with more frequent serological response to influenza vaccine.


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Posted in cancer suppplements, complementary therapies, Supporting chemo, Vitamin C and cancer | 3 Comments »

Ian Clements’ ‘Chemotherapy Help’ document

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on April 21, 2011


See also my two cancer books – http://www.fightingcancer.com

Chemotherapy Help – Alternative ways you can support yourself while undergoing chemotherapy

Contents

Summary. 2

Major Component in Turmeric Enhance Effect of Chemotherapy Drug in Head and Neck Cancer. 2

Advice from Cancer Active. 4

1. Clean Your Liver. 4

2. Prepare Yourself. 4

4. Certain Supplements Improve Treatment Success. 5

Antioxidants and Chemotherapy – Findings. 5

Supplements during gem/cis Yes or No ?. 6

1,25D3 [Vitamin D3] Enhances antitumor activity of gemcitabine and cisplatin in human bladder cancer models  6

Pete Granger’s Comments on Vit. D3 research above. 7

Milk thistle herb protects liver from damage caused by chemotherapy. 7

Neuropathy & Glutamine. 8

Glutamine for neuropathy and other chemo supplements‏. 8

New Way To Fight Cancer: Protect Healthy Cells With The Silver Shield. 10

The diet that won’t just help you lose weight, you’ll live longer and be brainier!. 13

Exercise May Keep Cancer Patients Healthier During, After Treatment. 15

New exercise guidelines for cancer survivors. 17

How to Take Care of Yourself During Chemotherapy. 17

Recommendations – Supplements To Take With Specific Chemotherapy Drugs. 18

Chemo, Tinnitus‏ & Hearing Loss. 19

Cold Caps Prevent Hair Loss. 19

Fruit, etc Help, but No Sugar or Fruit Juices. 21

Summary

Vit.D3  4,000IU-12,000IU daily – enhances efficacy of chemo[i]

Magnesium 500mg daily – replaces severe depletion

10 grams (3 scoops) of glutamine powder 3 times a day to minimize the side effects of chemo including neuropathy

Vit.A

Vit.C – 1 – 5 gms/day

Curcumin + piperene – up to 10 gms/day – enhances chemo, especially cisplatin, and reduces chemo damage[ii]

Co-Enzyme Q10 100mg/day – chemo harms the heart; Co-Q10 helps it[iii]

Omega 3 oil 5gms EPA – helps preserve muscle in cancer patients on chemo[iv]

Green or white tea

Astralagus – an immune booster[v]; anti-cancer generally;

Aloe Vera – enhances chemo’s effects, enhances apoptosis, improves immune system

Milk thistle

Bromelain

Resveratrol – enhances chemo’s effect[vi]

Medicinal mushrooms

Stay off sugar, sodium (salt) and fruit juices

Exercise: as vigorous as possible – walking 30’ day, jogging if poss., and resistance training

Immune-Boost Treatment Might Help Some With Advanced Colon Cancer[vii]

But whether the approach beats chemo-plus-Avastin/Erbitux remains unanswered, experts say

Posted: April 6, 2011 By Amanda Gardner HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) — By giving more intensive chemotherapy along with drugs designed to boost the body’s own immune system, researchers were able to roughly double survival time for patients with advanced, metastatic colorectal cancer compared to patients receiving standard chemotherapy alone.

In fact, the trial, results of which are being presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Orlando, was stopped early because of the promising findings.

“With this study, we have produced for the first time strong proof-of-concept that chemo-immunotherapy may be active and more efficacious than standard [chemotherapy] in metastatic colon cancer patients,” said study lead author Dr. Pierpaolo Correale, an oncologist with Siena University School of Medicine in Siena, Italy.

The standard of care right now for patients with colorectal cancer that’s spread to other regions is to use one of two dual-drug combinations of chemotherapy alone, or use them alongside a newly developed monoclonal antibody treatment such as Avastin (bevacizumab) or Erbitux (cetuximab). These approaches can boost overall survival to about 20 to 22 months.

For this study, the research team randomized 130 patients to receive either chemotherapy alone (with a regimen known as FOLFOX) or to receive FOLFOX plus drugs to ramp up the immune system (this regimen is known as GOLFIG).

The chemo/immune boost approach involves first giving patients gemcitabine plus standard FOLFOX chemotherapy (oxaliplatin, levofolinic acid and 5-FU/GOLF) that targets and kills the cancer cells in a number of ways — all the while sending off signals alerting the immune system to the cancer.

This is then followed up with the administration of signaling molecules called cytokines that spur key immune cells into action. Another immune-boosting cancer drug, called aldesleukine, is also given to help boost the population of immune cells targeted against tumor cells.

At the time of data collection, the patients treated with this approach have survived an average 16.5 months without a relapse, compared with just 7.5 months in the chemo-only group.

But the study began in 2005, before the advent of drugs like Avastin or Erbitux, meaning that investigators do not yet know if GOLFIG would outperform regimens that include those medications. This needs to be looked at, said Correale.

On the other hand, many patients do not see a benefit from biological agents such as Erbitux or Avastin because they have the wrong genetic profile, noted one outside expert.

“Essentially, we have a very problematic subset of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer which are limited to two lines of chemotherapy and [perhaps] one biological agent,” said Dr. Igor Astsaturov, assistant professor of medical oncology at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

“For those patients, which are about one-third of the overall patient population, this [new finding] will be particularly welcome news,” Astsaturov said, while adding the caution that the results are still preliminary.

However, clinical use of the protocol may be delayed further by the fact that “there is no direct commercial interest of pharmaceutical companies,” noted Correale, who is nevertheless planning larger trials.

The costs associated with GOLFIG, he added, are “four-to-five times lower than that produced by the current use of Avastin or Erbitux with apparently similar therapeutic results.”

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the findings should be viewed as preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Curcumin and Resveratrol – Chemoresistance[viii]

The following studies suggest growth factor IGF-1 is involved in the late stage invasiveness of various cancers, including bladder and colon cancers, and inhibition of IGF-1 may minimise this effect. Curcumin and resveratrol – especially in combination, block IGF-1
expression. They also appear to enhance the efect of chemotherapy.

Pete

‘In this study, the researchers looked at the role of the protein receptor for the growth factor IGF-I, an important modulator of cell proliferation in bladder cancer cells. They found that although activation of IGF-IR did not affect growth of bladder cancer cells, it did promote the migration and invasion of these cells’.

‘IGF-IR activated other molecules in cancer-promoting pathways (Akt and MAPK) that allow cancer cells to break its bond with other cells in a tumor in order to travel to others sites in the body.

“These data seem to indicate that this protein receptor (IGF-IR) may play a more prominent role in later stages of bladder cancer, not in the initiation of the cancer,” said Dr. Morrione’.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100514123502.htm

‘Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), which has no discernible toxicity, inhibits initiation, promotion and progression of carcinogenesis. 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) or 5-FU plus oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) remains the backbone of colorectal cancer chemotherapeutics, but produces an
incomplete response resulting in survival of cells (chemo-surviving cells) that may lead to cancer recurrence. The present investigation was, therefore, undertaken to examine whether addition of curcumin to FOLFOX is a superior therapeutic strategy for chemo-surviving cells

‘Our data suggest that inclusion of curcumin in conventional chemotherapeutic regimens could be an effective strategy to prevent the emergence of chemoresistant colon cancer cells’.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20332435

‘more recently we have demonstrated that curcumin not only inhibits the activation of EGFR and family members, but also IGF-IR in colon cancer HCT-116 cells’

‘The combination of resveratrol and curcumin causes a significantly greater inhibition of growth of tumors than either agent alone’.

http://www.encognitive.com/files/Curcumin%20Synergizes%20With%20Resveratrol%20to%20Inhibit%20Colon%20Cancer.pdf

Major Component in Turmeric Enhance Effect of Chemotherapy Drug in Head and Neck Cancer[ix]

ScienceDaily (Oct. 24, 2010) — Curcumin, the major component in the spice turmeric, when combined with the drug cisplatin enhances the chemotherapy’s suppression of head and neck cancer cell growth, researchers with UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center have found.

A naturally occurring spice widely used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking, Turmeric has long been known to have medicinal properties, attributed to its anti-inflammatory effects. Previous studies have shown it can suppress the growth of certain cancers, said Dr. Marilene Wang, a professor of head and neck surgery, lead author of the study and a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher.

“Head and neck cancers, particularly cases diagnosed in a later stage, are terrible cancers that often require very radical surgeries and chemotherapy and radiation,” Wang said. “They often don’t present until late, and the structures in the head and neck are so vital that our treatments often cause disfigurement and severe loss of function. So using non-toxic curcumin as a treatment was a very appealing idea.”

The study, done in cells in Petri dishes and then in mouse models, appears in the October issue of the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

In India, women for years have been using turmeric for medicinal purposes, as an anti-aging agent rubbed into their ski, to treat cramps during menstruation, as a poultice on the skin to promote wound healing and as an additive in cosmetics, said scientist Eri Srivatsan, an adjunct professor of surgery and a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher who, along with Wang, has been studying curcumin and its anti-cancer properties for six years.

A 2005 study by Wang and Srivatsan first showed that curcumin suppressed the growth of head and neck cancer cells, first in cells and then in mouse models. In the animal studies, the curcumin was applied directly onto the tumors in paste form because it did not dissolve in saline, which would have allowed it to be injected.

In need of a better way to deliver the curcumin, the team collaborated with Dr. Kapil Mehta of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and found that encapsulating the tumor in a liposome, an artificially prepared vehicle that enclosed the spice component within its membrane, made the treatment injectable. The curcumin was injected into the tail vein of a mouse, where it circulated into the blood stream, slowing down and eventually stopping the cancer growth, a study in 2008 found.

“This was a very positive finding, developing an efficient way to deliver the treatment,” Wang said. “Our study also showed that the curcumin was very well tolerated.”

In this study, the team wanted to combine the curcumin with the chemotherapeutic drug cisplatin, which is very toxic at the doses needed to fight head and neck cancers, damaging kidneys, the ears and the bone marrow. They hoped that if they added curcumin to the mix, they might be able to lower the cisplatin dose and cause less organ damage. Their finding, that the curcumin made the cisplatin work better, was very promising, Wang said.

“We knew that both the curcumin and the cisplatin, when given alone, had an effect against head and neck cancers,” Wang said. “This finding that curcumin enhances cisplatin means that, in the future, we may be able to give this chemotherapy in lower doses.”

The study noted that “the mechanisms of the two agents through different growth signaling pathways suggest potential for the clinical use of sub-therapeutic doses of cisplatin in combination with curcumin, which will allow effective suppression of tumor growth while minimizing the toxic side effects.”

The study found that curcumin suppressed head and neck cancer growth by regulating cell cycling, Srivatsan said. It binds to an enzyme and prevents the enzyme IKK, an inhibitor of kappa B kinase, from activating a transcription factor called nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB), which promotes cancer growth. Cisplatin’s suppressive action involves a different pathway through the tumor suppressor proteins p16 and p53, both proteins that again inhibit the activity of cancer growth promoter NFκB.

“We needed to know the mechanism to help us translate this from the lab into the clinic,” Wang said. “That information will help us make better decisions on how to design therapies.”

The next step in the clinical setting is to give patients oral curcumin prior to surgery and, after surgery, study the excised tumors to determine curcumin’s effect on tumor markers, specifically whether there is reduced expression of markers such as growth promoting NFκB. They also will be monitoring to determine if the curcumin results in any side effects. After that, the team would give curcumin to patients also getting chemotherapy and radiation to see if the tumor suppression found in the cells lines and mouse models can be replicated in humans.

Although turmeric is used in cooking, the amount of curcumin needed to produce a clinical response is much larger, about 500 milligrams. Expecting a positive effect through eating foods spiced with turmeric is not realistic, the researchers said.

Curcumin also has a suppressive effect on other cancers, Wang said, including breast, colon and pancreatic cancers. However, the mechanism of suppression in those cancers has not yet been uncovered. It also may be effective against Alzheimer’s and aging, Wang said.

Advice from Cancer Active[x]

So let us try to build up a plan, based on science, to give patients a strong route forward.

1. Clean Your Liver

Before and after chemotherapy, clean out the fats, the gallstones, the dead cells, the lactic acid build up. For if the liver is inefficient the whole immune system is affected. Take milk thistle, boldo tea, dandelion or a proprietary detox. Add turmeric to some meals, drink two litres of clean filtered water a day (not from tap or plastic bottles). Think about a serious liver flush and coffee enemas to remove gallstones and clean out some of the dead cells and fats. Click here for info on  the liver flush.

2. Prepare Yourself

a) Boost your immune system:  Anti-cancer herbs like Astragalus, Cat´s Claw, and echinacea are extremely effective. Add curcumin, total vitamin E and Chlorella plus probiotics and you really will target an improvement in your weeakened immune system. You can read about all of these on our web site, but most impressive is astragalus. All have all been shown to be excellent immune boosters but astragalus has been shown by the University of Texas Cancer Center in Houston to be an excellent anti-cancer agent lighting up the cancer cells to be ´spotted´ by the immune system..

Cut sodium from your diet

b) Cut sodium from your diet. Increase potassium and magnesium. Sodium displaces potassium in the power stations of your cells, making them more toxic and more acidic. Cancer thrives in acid bodies. Cut sodium foods like salt, soy sauce, gravy granules, hams, cooked meats, salami, turkey roast slices, sliced bread, breakfast cereals, sausages, bacon, processed food, prepared meals and Chinese meals. Consume high potassium and magnesium foods like fresh nuts in moderation, jacket potatoes, whole grains, green leaf vegetables, carrots, fresh apples, bananas, whole brown rice, broad beans, peas and pulses. A little rice milk or soya milk is acceptable.

Take a good, ideally liquid vitamin and mineral supplement, plus the anti-oxidants beta-carotene (use chlorella, which is natural, rather than the synthetic high street form, which anyway is not advisable if you have lung cancer), natural vitamin C with bioflavenoids and natural total vitamin E, zinc, selenium and co-enzyme Q10 (if you are over 30). A good B complex vitamin containing choline and inositol (also in soy lecithin), biotin and folic acid would be very protective prior to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Take long chain omega 3. For example, a good source would be Seven Seas Pure Cod Liver Oil. We have known since 1982, and a Nobel Prize by Sir John Vane, about the positive benefits of omega 3 in the cancer process. Omega 3 can also be found from a flaxseed source in Dr Joanna Budwig´s anti-cancer diet. Omega 3, garlic, ginger, salicylic acid (in Aloe Vera) and curcumin can all reduce inflammation and agressive eicosanoids, both of which stimulate cancers.

4. Certain Supplements Improve Treatment Success

Up front it needs to be said that there has long been a debate over whether cancer patients having chemo should take antioxidants. We have reviewed the argument several times on this web site. The Truth is that various expert cancer centres like MD Anderson and UCLA have stated that antioxidants can actually improve the success of chemotherapy, rather than hinder it as some people claim. MD Anderson have actually conducted several clinical trials (covered in Cancer Watch) showing vitamin E enhances the action of specific chemotherapy drugs.

But this argument is also a bit of a red herring.

Elsewhere on this site you will find articles on:

* vitamin D

* Medicinal Mushrooms

* Green Tea

* Astragalus

* Selenium

Each and all of these have been shown in expert research to decrease tumour size and/or improve survival when taken on their own or in conjunction with chemotherapy.

Furthermore Selenium (Brazil nuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, oily fish), and/or soya/fruit isoflavones and/or curcumin and/or astragalus have been shown to improve the action of radiotherapy.

MGN-3 (Biobran) reduced side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in Japanese Clinical Trials. It is a rice bran and Japanese medicinal mushroom formula. The same trials show improved survival rates.

The various orthodox treatments leave an imbalance of flora in the intestine. You should take a multi-strain probiotic daily (Neways Advanced Probiotic, or Probiota 8) and try to keep yeasts in check. A teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate in warm water first thing in the morning, Pau D´arco supplement, oregano and wormwood will do this.

Antioxidants and Chemotherapy – Findings[xi]

  • All of the studies that included survival data showed similar or better survival rates for the antioxidant group than the control group.
  • None of the trials supported the theory that antioxidant supplements diminish the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments.
  • All but one of the studies that reported treatment response showed similar or better response in the antioxidant group than in the control group.
  • 15 of 17 trials that assessed chemotherapy toxicities, including diarrhea, weight loss, nerve damage and low blood counts, concluded that the antioxidant group suffered similar or lower rates of these side effects than the control group.

Supplements during gem/cis Yes or No ?[xii]

cisplatin beats the magnesium out of your blood…..so i take 500mg magnesium daily…over the counter…doctors orders and nulasta 24hrs after last chemo treatment…..have good insurance….$3000 a shot can be overwhelming, unless it is covered in a clinical trial – daveyo

1,25D3 [Vitamin D3] Enhances antitumor activity of gemcitabine and cisplatin in human bladder cancer models[xiii]

BACKGROUND:

1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25D3) potentiates the cytotoxic effects of several common chemotherapeutic agents. The combination of gemcitabine and cisplatin is a current standard chemotherapy regimen for bladder cancer. The authors investigated whether 1,25D3 could enhance the antitumor activity of gemcitabine and cisplatin in bladder cancer model systems.
METHODS:

Human bladder cancer T24 and UMUC3 cells were pretreated with 1,25D3 followed by gemcitabine and cisplatin. Apoptosis was assessed by annexin V staining. Caspase activation was examined by immunoblot analysis and substrate-based caspase activity assay. The cytotoxic effects were examined by using 3-(4,5-Dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) and in vitro clonogenic assay. p73 protein levels were assessed by immunoblot analysis. Knockdown of p73 was achieved by siRNA. The in vivo antitumor activity was assessed by in vivo excision clonogenic assay and tumor regrowth delay in the T24 xenograft model.
RESULTS:

1,25D3 pretreatment enhanced gemcitabine and cisplatin-induced apoptosis and the activities of caspases 8, 9, and 3 in T24 and UMUC3 cells. 1,25D3 synergistically reduced gemcitabine and cisplatin-suppressed surviving fraction in T24 cells. 1,25D3, gemcitabine, or cisplatin induced p73 accumulation, which was enhanced by gemcitabine and cisplatin or 1,25D3 and gemcitabine and cisplatin. p73 expression was lower in human primary bladder tumor tissue compared with adjacent normal tissue. Knockdown of p73 increased clonogenic capacity of T24 cells treated with 1,25D3, gemcitabine and cisplatin, or 1,25D3 and gemcitabine and cisplatin. 1,25D3 and gemcitabine and cisplatin combination enhanced tumor regression compared with 1,25D3 or gemcitabine and cisplatin alone.
CONCLUSIONS:

1,25D3 potentiates gemcitabine and cisplatin-mediated growth inhibition in human bladder cancer models in vitro and in vivo, which involves p73 induction and apoptosis. Cancer 2010. © 2010 American Cancer Society.

Yingyu Ma, MD, PhD 1, Wei-Dong Yu, MD 1, Donald L. Trump, MD 2, Candace S. Johnson, PhD 1

 

Pete Granger’s Comments on Vit. D3 research above

From:   Peter Granger (pete.granger@GMAIL.COM) 30 April 2010 22:01:57

This lab research suggests taking vitamin D3 with chemo (gemcitabine
and cisplatin) reduces bladder cancer progression. This does not
necessarily mean it will work with all chemo, but it might be worth a
try. Apparently, vitamin D3 induces expression of the p73 gene – a
gene with close similarities to the p53 gene. P53 senses DNA damage,
and places cell cycle on hold while enzymes restore the damaged DNA.
If the damage is irreparable, p53 commits the cell to
self-destruction. In cancer, including bladder cancer, the p53 gene is
often damaged (mutated) so it is incapable of carrying out this
critical function. Incidentally, there are some nutrients which assist
in carrying out similar functions to p53 via alternate pathways.
However, the role of p73 is far from clear. Unlike p53, p73 mutations
are rare in cancer. Moreover, p73 does not directly repair DNA itself,
and mutations do not necessarily directly cause cancer. It is more
likely p73 mutations interact with p53 mutations, compounding the
negative effect of the latter – perhaps via the immune system or some
other pathway.

One possibility is that vitamin-d-induces an enhanced immune response
to the chemo, or it mitigates against some of the negative,
deleterious effects of chemo – which is after all, a very blunt
‘instrument’.

Expressed another way, vitamin D3 may help correct the negative
influence of (rare) p73 mutations on (common) p53 mutations.

Pete

Milk thistle herb protects liver from damage caused by chemotherapy[xiv]

(NaturalNews) The herbal supplement milk thistle may prevent liver damage in people undergoing chemotherapy, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center and published in the journal Cancer.

Researchers conducted the study on 50 children undergoing a “maintenance” round of chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer. Approximately two-thirds of all children undergoing treatment for ALL usually develop liver toxicity during their treatment, presenting doctors with the choice between scaling back the treatment and risking a resurgence of the cancer, or continuing with treatment unaltered and risking permanent liver damage and lifelong health complications. There is currently no known way of preventing liver toxicity in chemotherapy patients.

Study participants were assigned to take either a milk thistle pill or a placebo capsule for one month. At the start of the study, all 50 children were suffering from liver inflammation due to prior rounds of chemotherapy. By the end, children taking milk thistle had significantly lower levels of two liver inflammation markers than children taking a placebo.

Milk thistle has been used for more than 2,000 years as an herbal treatment for liver and gallbladder problems. Although researchers have looked for evidence that the herb might help prevent or even treat liver damage in people with hepatitis or cirrhosis, results have been inconclusive.

However, recent studies suggest that milk thistle contains an active antioxidant known as silybin that might help block toxins from breaching cell walls.

Milk thistle supplements are already sold over the counter. Striking a cautionary note, however, senior researcher Kara M. Kelley noted that further research is needed before the plant can be recommended as a treatment. She advised against patients self-medicating with milk thistle, noting that all patients undergoing treatment for cancer should always check with their doctors before taking any new kinds of supplements.

Neuropathy & Glutamine

From:   Nancy Neuman (neuman.nancy@GMAIL.COM)

Sent:  09 June 2010 21:16:35

Every time a friend has started chemo, no matter what their cancer is, I
tell them to ask their oncologist about neuropathy. I am stunned that the
patient still has to take charge of this issue in too many cases. I was
lucky that my oncologist asked me early on if I felt any numbness in my feet and when I said I thought so he immediately prescribed Glutamine (at the natural food store) and Vitamin B6. It seems to have done the trick.
Glutamine is expensive so he cut the dose in half and it still worked. It is not to be confused with Glucosamine.

Nancy

Glutamine for neuropathy and other chemo supplements‏

From:   Wendy Ramsay (ramsaycafe@COMCAST.NET)

Sent:  12 March 2010 20:47:17

Hi Robert.
In 2006 I had a lot of strong chemo (gemzar/cisplatin, adriamycin/taxol, MVAC). My doc prescribed me 10 grams (3 scoops) of glutamine powder 3 times a day to minimize the side effects of chemo including neuropathy. I was told to start the day before chemo and continue for 5 days after. Since I had chemo once a week I was taking this supplement 6 days/week 3 x’s a day. I can personally attest to it’s effectiveness. I have no neuropathy even after all that chemo.

During chemo I slacked off a bit and began taking glutamine only twice a day. I noticed numbing in my feet and hands. As soon as I got back on track with taking the supplement 3 times a day, the numbing went away. I think it’s important to prevent neuropathy but I also think it can be reversed (or lessened) at some point before it becomes too severe.

Also, below is an old post (2006) of the supplements I took during chemo and some reasons why they were prescribed to me:

Fruit, etc Help, but No Sugar or Fruit Juices

From: Wendy Ramsay
Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2006 7:25 AM
Subject: [CAFE] chemo and supplements

Hi Anne,
I know this is a late reply, but there are supplements that work in conjuction with specific chemotherapies. You would need to hook up with a naturopath working in the field of cancer and/or bladder cancer. I have been taking supplements to aid, specifically, my gemzar/cisplatin treatments. Different chemos affect the body in different ways. The oncologist that is treating me doesn’t necessarily ‘believe’ in them either. I do need to take the time to print out the research supporting the supplements so that he can have it and hopefully bridge the gap a bit. In addition to supplements which I will list below, I was told adamantly to stay away from sugar except for the day I am receiving chemo. On that day, I should eat some sugar. I should not drink fruit juices but whole fruit is OK (there are differing opinions on staying away from fruit altogether). Two cups of coffee on the day of chemo was also recommended (he said I could still drink coffee the rest of the time but limit to 16 oz/day).  Soy every day. Also wild salmon, olive oil, 6 brazil nuts/day, sesame tahini (1 tablespoon/day), and lots of green tea. Below are the supplements prescribed to me. Several related specifically to decreasing metastases by binding the connectors of the cancer cells preventing them from taking hold and seeding (quercitin, fractionated fruit pectin, great tonifying formula herbal packets). Others support increased immune support or response to the chemo (melatonin, Coriolis mushroom, curcumin).

melatonin (20mg/ once before bed)
multi nutrients V (2 caps – 2x’s/day)
cal/mag    (500g 2x’s/day)
vit c    (1000 – 1x/day)
green tea (3 to 5 cups/day)

Greens First powder juice mix (1 scoop/day)     contains: barley grass juice powder, chlorella, spirulina, carrot juice powder, broccoli juice powder, cauliflower juice powder, spinach jjice powder, parsley juice powder, kale juice powder, green tea extract (decaf) blueberry, plum, grape seed extract, cranberry, rasberry, tart cherry, pine bark extract, bussel sprout, natural flavors, stevia, citric acid.

Whey protein (2 tsp – 1x/day)
cod liver oil (2 tsp/day)
curcumin (4 caps – 2 x’s/day take only the 3 days prior to chemo and not on day of chemo)
Coriolis mush (2 caps in am/ 3 caps in pm)

great tonifying extract powder formula (2 cups tea/day)    contains:   ginseng, angelica sinensis, peony root, atractylodes rhizome, hoelen, cinnamon bark, astragalus root, cnidium rhizome, licorice, tehmannia root)

quercitin (500 – 2 x’s/day)
fractionated pectin (1 scoop 2x’s/day)

Other supplements are prescribed for me depending on my individual labs etc as needed but these are the basics for my chemo regiment. The naturopath I see is Paul Reilly from Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center (Cancer Treatment Centers of America). His book (How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Natural Medicine) does reference studies supporting various supplements to treatment.

Wendy Ramsay
Diagnosed 1994. Neobladder 2004. Right nephrectomy/chemo 2006. Upper tract chemo 2007/08. Left nephrectomy 2008. Home dialysis 6-7 x’s/week.

New Way To Fight Cancer: Protect Healthy Cells With The Silver Shield[xv]

ScienceDaily (Apr. 1, 2008) — A unique study proposes a new paradigm in cancer treatment: instead of selectively attacking cancer cells, protect all the healthy cells. Animal studies and in vitro human cell studies show that a short fast protects healthy cells against chemotherapy, while tumor cells remain sensitive to the drugs.

Fasting for two days protects healthy cells against chemotherapy, according to a study appearing online the week of Mar. 31 in PNAS Early Edition. Mice given a high dose of chemotherapy after fasting continued to thrive. The same dose killed half the normally fed mice and caused lasting weight and energy loss in the survivors.

The chemotherapy worked as intended on cancer, extending the lifespan of mice injected with aggressive human tumors, reported a group led by Valter Longo of the University of Southern California. Test tube experiments with human cells confirmed the differential resistance of normal and cancer cells to chemotherapy after a short period of starvation.

Making chemotherapy more selective has been a top cancer research goal for decades. Oncologists could control cancers much better, and even cure some, if chemotherapy were not so toxic to the rest of the body.

Experts described the study as one of a kind.

“This is a very important paper. It defines a novel concept in cancer biology,” said cancer researcher Pinchas Cohen, professor and chief of pediatric endocrinology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“In theory, it opens up new treatment approaches that will allow higher doses of chemotherapy. It’s a direction that’s worth pursuing in clinical trials in humans.”

Felipe Sierra, director of the Biology of Aging Program at the National Institute on Aging, said: “This is not just one more anti-cancer treatment that attacks the cancer cells. To me, that’s an important conceptual difference.”

Sierra was referring to decades of efforts by thousands of researchers working on “targeted delivery” of drugs to cancer cells. Study leader Longo focused instead on protecting all the other cells.

Sierra added that progress in cancer care has made patients more resilient and able to tolerate fasting, should clinical trials confirm its usefulness.

“We have passed the stage where patients arrive at the clinic in an emaciated state. Not eating for two days is not the end of the world,” Sierra said.

“This could have applicability in maybe a majority of patients,” said David Quinn, a practicing oncologist and medical director of USC Norris Hospital and Clinics. He predicted that many oncology groups would be eager to test the Longo group’s findings, and advised patients to look for a clinical trial near home.

Longo, an anti-aging researcher who holds joint appointments in gerontology and biological sciences at USC, said that the idea of protecting healthy cells from chemotherapy may have seemed impractical to cancer researchers, because the body has many different cells that respond differently to many drugs.

“It was almost like an idea that was not even worth pursuing. In fact it had to come from the anti-aging field, because that’s what we focus on: protecting all cells at once,” Longo said.

“What really was missing was a perspective of someone from the aging field to give this field a boost,” UCLA’s Cohen said.

The idea for the study came from the Longo group’s previous research on aging in cellular systems, primarily lowly baker’s yeast.

About five years ago, Longo was thinking about the genetic pathways involved both in the starvation response and in mammalian tumors.

When the pathways are silenced, starved cells go into what Longo calls a maintenance mode characterized by extreme resistance to stresses. In essence the cells are waiting out the lean period, much like hibernating animals.

But tumors by definition disobey orders to stop growing because the same genetic pathways are stuck in an “on” mode.

That could mean, Longo realized, that the starvation response might differentiate normal and cancer cells by their stress resistance, and that healthy cells might withstand much more chemotherapy than cancer cells.

The shield for healthy cells does not need to be perfect, Longo said. What matters is the difference in stress resistance between healthy and cancerous cells.

During the study, conducted both at USC and in the laboratory of Lizzia Raffaghello at Gaslini Children’s Hospital in Genoa, Italy, the researchers found that current chemotherapy drugs kill as many healthy mammalian cells as cancer cells.

“(But) we reached a two to five-fold difference between normal and cancer cells, including human cells in culture. More importantly, we consistently showed that mice were highly protected while cancer cells remained sensitive,” Longo said.

If healthy human cells were just twice as resistant as cancer cells, oncologists could increase the dose or frequency of chemotherapy.

“We were able to reach a 1,000-fold differential resistance using a tumor model in baker’s yeast. If we get to just a 10-20 fold differential toxicity with human metastatic cancers, all of a sudden it’s a completely different game against cancer,” Longo said.

“Now we need to spend a lot of time talking to clinical oncologists to decide how to best proceed in the human studies.”

Edith Gralla, a research professor of chemistry at UCLA, said: “It is the sort of opposite of the magic bullet. It’s the magic shield.”

Funding from the study came from NIA (part of the National Institutes on Health), the USC Norris Cancer Center and the Associazione Italiana per la Lotta al Neuroblastoma.

USC graduate student Changhan Lee and Gaslini’s Raffaghello performed key experiments. The other authors were Fernando Safdie, Min Wei and Federica Madia of USC, and Giovanna Bianchi of Gaslini.

Longo has been studying aging at the cellular level for 15 years, and has published in the nation’s leading scientific journals. He is the Albert L. and Madelyne G. Hanson Family Trust Associate Professor in the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology with joint appointments as associate professor of biological sciences in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and in the Norris Cancer Center.

For clinicians and patients

Fasting before chemotherapy has unknown risks and benefits for humans, Longo cautioned. Only clinical trials can establish the effectiveness and safety of fasting before chemotherapy.

“Don’t try and do this at home. We need to do the studies,” said Quinn, the USC Norris oncologist.


Adapted from materials provided by University of Southern California.

The diet that won’t just help you lose weight, you’ll live longer and be brainier! [xvi]

“But there’s now an effective weight-loss regimen that is not only simple, it promises significant health benefits – from easing asthma symptoms and reducing blood sugar levels, to fending off heart disease and breast cancer and protecting brain cells. Apparently, you’ll also live longer.

The diet goes under various names – The Alternate-Day Diet, Intermittent Fasting or The Longevity Diet – but the principle is the same: eat very little one day (50 per cent of your normal intake) and as much as you like the next.

This appears to trigger a ‘skinny’ gene that encourages the body to burn fat.

The Alternate-Day diet triggers a skinny gene that encourages the body to burn fat

Researchers first discovered the benefits of low-calorie eating in the Thirties. They found that putting a rat – or a worm, or a fruit fly or just about any animal, as it turned out – on a permanent very low calorie diet helped the animal live about 30 per cent longer than normal.

The animal had clearer arteries, lower levels of inflammation, better blood sugar control and its brain cells were less likely to get damaged. Meanwhile, rates of diseases linked to ageing all dropped.

But while scientists have known for years that animals on a low-calorie diet were healthier, no human – except a few iron-willed fanatics – could permanently stick to this regime.

The big breakthrough came in 2003 when Dr Mark Mattson, an American neuroscientist, discovered rats still enjoyed all those health benefits even when their calories were cut only on alternate days.

In other words, you don’t have to starve yourself all the time.

This was a crucial discovery, because the diet suddenly became a realistic option. In particular, it is far more palatable for the obese. The standard diet for them involves a daily intake of between 20 per cent and 40 per cent of what they would normally have.

‘These are very hard diets to follow,’ says Krista Varady, assistant professor of kinesiology and nutrition at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

You are constantly hungry. The eat-every-other-day-diet seems to offer an easier and more effective option.’

She’s just published the results of a ten-week trial of 16 patients, all weighing more than 14st.

They ate 20 per cent of their normal intake one day and a regular, healthy diet the next. Each lost between 10lb and 30lb; much more than the 5lb or 6lb expected.

‘It takes about two weeks to adjust to the diet and, after that, people don’t feel hungry on the fast days,’ says Varady.

Weight watching: Dieters should only consume around 500 calories on fasting days

Dr James Johnson, author of The Alternate-Day Diet, and a lecturer in plastic surgery, has now been doing the diet for five years.

‘I’ve always been a bit overweight. When I first started, I lost 35lb in 11 weeks.

‘Now I use the diet to keep my weight stable. If it starts going up, I’ll just go back on it for a few weeks. The evidence says this is about the most healthy thing you can do for yourself.’

One specific health benefit is relieving the symptoms of asthma – and that’s not just because the patients have lost weight.

A small study of ten obese asthmatics found that after eight weeks they’d lost eight per cent of their body weight; their symptoms of the disease had also greatly improved.

The study, conducted by Dr Johnson with scientists from the National Institute on Ageing ( including Dr Mattson) and Stamford University, showed patients had less inflammation in their lungs, making it easier for them to breathe.

They also had lower levels of damaging free radicals – the substances we produce simply by eating and breathing – which have been linked with heart disease and cancer.

‘The level of inflammation was down by 70 per cent and the level of free radicals by 90 per cent,’ says Dr Johnson. ‘No other dietary approach to asthma has recorded anything like that benefit.’

About two weeks after coming off the diet the patients’ symptoms began to return.

Meanwhile, British researchers are now looking at the benefits of the diet in preventing breast cancer in highrisk patients.

‘We’ve found a very low 800 calories-a- day diet dramatically lowers the enzymes that metabolise fat and glucose in breast tissue,’ says Dr Michelle Harvie, of the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Centre in Manchester. ‘These enzymes are always raised in breast cancer patients.’

When Dr Matteson made his discovery, it wasn’t clear exactly why very low calorie diets had such an effect on health and lifespan.

But in the past couple of years it’s emerged that a specific gene – SIRT1 – might explain the diet’s success; it seems the sudden, sharp stress of a big drop in food intake triggers this ‘skinny’ gene. ‘This then blocks another gene involved in storing fat,’ explains Dr Johnson.

‘The body starts using up more of the fat stores. As a result you lose more weight than you would from just eating fewer calories.’

The SIRT1 gene also seems to be responsible for all the benefits of semi-starvation found in animals – the drop in inflammation, lower blood sugar levels – as Dr Mattson and others reported this year in the journal Brain Research Reviews.

Perhaps not surprisingly, drug companies are working hard to develop medicines that imitate some of the diet’s effects by targeting the SIRT1 gene.

The weight-loss benefit could also be due to the way the diet tricks your body’s metabolism.

The problem with most diets is that after 48-to-72 hours this slows to compensate for the drop in food.

When you stop the diet and eat normally, the weight goes back on faster, as you’re eating more than your body thinks it needs to function.

The alternate day diet seems to get round that because it allows normal eating as well.

‘We’ve run trials that haven’t found any reduction in metabolic rate when people are on the alternate day diet,’ says Dr Johnson.

Enjoy: You can eat as much as you want on alternate days

How it works doesn’t matter to many people – the internet is already buzzing with those who claim dieting on alternate days has made weight loss easier.

One woman writing on a U.S-based website found that very little of the weight she’d lost went back on.

‘At the end of 2008 I lost 15lb and then I stopped the diet. Nine months later, in October, I’d only put on 2lb.

‘By the end of that month I’d lost what I’d gained and another 7.5lb. It is gone forever! Woohoo.’

Another described how the not eating days – described as ‘down’ days – are actually the easiest ones to manage.

‘It’s strangely true, but down days are a lot easier to stick to than the up days. I haven’t cheated on them once.

‘It really does work knowing you can “have it” tomorrow. It’s the eating days you have to be careful with as it would be quite easy to go over the top.’

Yet some British experts are concerned about the approach. ‘We advise anyone trying to lose weight should follow a healthy balanced diet,’ said a spokesperson for the Food Standards Agency.

‘It may not be possible to achieve this with very low calorie diets.’

However, Catherine Collins, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, was more enthusiastic about the weightloss benefits.

‘It sounds absolutely fine,’ she says ‘It would certainly make it easier to stick to a weight-loss programme, although I’d want to be sure people got enough fibre and protein and that they didn’t starve and binge in a fanatical way.’

However, she is sceptical about the health benefits being triggered by the SIRT1 gene.

‘We know weight loss has all sorts of metabolic benefits,’ she says.

‘That is probably what is going on rather than one gene being responsible.’

The big question now is to find the best schedule of eating and fasting that will bring the benefits and be the easiest to stick to. Alternate-day dieting has made the breakthrough, but it is only one option.

‘At the moment we are studying the benefits of having just two fasting days a week when you have very few calories, then eating normally for the rest of the week,’ says Dr Harvie.

‘Some form of fasting regime is definitely the way to go to get big health benefits. It just needs more research.’

• For more, visit: http://www.johnson updaydowndaydiet.com/index.html 

THE SIMPLE RULES YOU NEED TO FOLLOW

  • For the first fortnight Dr Johnson suggests you stick to just 500 calories on the fasting days to make sure you trigger the skinny gene (to make certain of your intake, try pre-packaged shakes or meal replacements).
  • After that, you can eat regular food on the fasting days. How much depends on your goal. Up to 35 per cent of your recommended daily intake will help you lose weight. Eating 50 or 60 per cent should allow you to maintain your weight.
  • You can eat as much as you want on the alternate days, but don’t binge. Make sure you have fruit and vegetables. It’s important to enjoy these days to avoid getting fed up with being on a diet.
  • Drink plenty of water and exercise regularly, especially on the eating days. Weigh yourself only once a week, on the morning after a fasting day, so you won’t become frustrated by normal weight variations.

Exercise May Keep Cancer Patients Healthier During, After Treatment[xvii]

ScienceDaily (May 20, 2010) — Breast and prostate cancer patients who regularly exercise during and after cancer treatment report having a better quality of life and being less fatigued, according to researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

“Using exercise as an approach to cancer care has the potential to benefit patients both physically and psychologically, as well as mitigate treatment side effects,” says study lead author Eleanor M. Walker, M.D., division director of breast services in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Hospital.

“Plus, exercise is a great alternative to patients combating fatigue and nausea who are considering using supplements which may interfere with medications and chemotherapy they’re taking during cancer treatment.”

Dr. Walker will present a poster with the study’s design and intervention methods June 7 at the 2010 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago. The abstract is now available online at www.ASCO.org.

To study how exercise impacts cancer patients, Dr. Walker and her colleagues at Henry Ford’s Josephine Ford Cancer Center and the Henry Ford Heart & Vascular Institute developed a unique program called ExCITE (Exercise and Cancer Integrative Therapies and Education).

ExCITE works with patients who are receiving cancer treatment to create individualized exercise programs. Some patients come into one of Henry Ford’s fitness centers to workout, while others have plans that allow them to exercise at home during various stages of their care.

The study group thus far includes 30 female breast cancer patients and 20 prostate cancer patients, all ranging in age from 35 to 80. All were newly diagnosed when they began ExCITE. The study followed the patients during treatment and for one-year following completion of cancer treatment.

Before beginning the exercise program, Henry Ford’s Preventative Cardiology Division measured the patients’ exercise capacity, skeletal muscle strength and endurance. General blood work, metabolic screens, bone density and inflammatory biomarkers also were obtained at the start of the program.

Exercise and diet recommendation for each patient were based on their baseline exercise tolerances, weight, overall health, and type of cancer treatment they would receive. Acupuncture was used for patients who experienced hot flashes, pain, nausea/vomiting, insomnia and neuropathy as the result of cancer treatment.

Cheryl Fallen of Gross Pointe Park, Mich., was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer while she took part in the ExCITE program. Through a mix of exercise, acupuncture and good nutrition, she didn’t experiencing some of the more common side-effects from treatment — nausea, fatigue and trouble with memory.

“ExCITE offers cancer patients a way to holistically approach their cancer care by tailoring a specific exercise routine to fit the needs of the patient, whether it’s rehabilitation after surgery, or to enhance circulation or improve the immune system prior to chemotherapy or radiation,” says Fallen.

When her white blood cell count fell during chemotherapy, Fallen would work out at home using an exercise band or by walking outdoors. When she was well enough to return to the gym, her workouts consisted of using the exercise ball and treadmill, and doing other strength-training exercises.

“Overall, the program makes you feel better about yourself. It’s a positive support for cancer patients, and I really think it’s allowed me to be more productive during my treatment,” says Fallen.

Study of the ExCITE program is ongoing, with Dr. Walker and her colleagues continuing to investigate the potential benefits of exercise for cancer patients.

Study funding: Josephine Ford Cancer Center, part of the Henry Ford Health System, and Mothers, Daughters, Sisters & Friends, a group dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer care and research at Henry Ford.

Story Source:

Adapted from materials provided by Henry Ford Health System, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

See Also:

New exercise guidelines for cancer survivors

The first and most important guideline, Schmitz said, is that patients and survivors must avoid inactivity. They must continue their normal activities during and after treatment, and resume daily life as soon as possible after surgery. Other specific recommendations include:

> Over the course of one month, it’s safe to build sedentary patients up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week
> It’s safe for patients undergoing stem cell transplant to exercise every day, but these patients should reduce intensity and progression of intensity because of the effects on the immune system
> For patients suffering from weight loss, resistance training can help build strength
> For those with prostate, hematologic, and colon cancers, twice-weekly resistance training is recommended: one exercise for each major muscle group for eight to 10 repetitions, and one to three sets per exercise
> Women with breast and gynecologic cancers should start with a supervised resistance training program given the risk for lymphedema
> Given side effects such as incontinence and sexual dysfunction, floor exercises should be added to an exercise routine for men with prostate cancer
> Colon cancer patients with an ostomy should avoid excessive intra-abdominal pressures

How to Take Care of Yourself During Chemotherapy[xviii]

Continue all of the recommendations for what to do in preparation for chemotherapy, and increase protein powder supplementation to twice a day. If you are still experiencing some nausea, try these strategies:

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Five or 6 snack-type meals a day can reduce some of the stress on your digestive tract. Smoothies make a perfect meal.
  • Do not lie down after eating. Allow yourself an hour or more to digest. Try a short walk after meals or, if you need to rest, sit with your legs stretched out and your head propped up with pillows.
  • Do not drink liquids with your meals. This keeps your digestive juices at full strength, promoting complete digestion and reducing indigestion.
  • Drink plenty of liquids between meals (at least 1 hour before or after meals). Ginger tea and peppermint time have anti-nausea/stomach settling properties. Drink them warm or iced, as you prefer. Also include vegetable and fruit juices (fresh squeezed for the highest nutrient content, if possible) and clear broths. Avoid sugar as it can increase your risk for intestinal candida infection that is very common at this vulnerable time. If you must use a sweetener, use a grain-derived sweetener like rice syrup or barley malt.
  • Avoid all fatty foods. Focus your diet on fresh fruits, steamed or boiled vegetables, light grains and proteins.
  • If you are experiencing vomiting and severe diarrhea, include sea salted vegetable broths or miso broth. These salty additions will help to keep your electrolytes balanced and can revive you when you are feeling faint. (Miso is a salty paste made from soybeans and can be found in health food stores, Asian food markets and some supermarkets).

Recommendations – Supplements To Take With Specific Chemotherapy Drugs
The side effects of chemotherapy can be reduced by decreasing the toxicity of the chemotherapy medication. Contrary to what one might expect, this does not make the chemotherapy any less effective at doing its job —killing cancer cells. More often than not, decreasing its toxicity increases a drug’s effectiveness. Supplements known to decrease various chemotherapy drugs’ toxicity are listed below. Also listed are substances known to increase the effectiveness of certain drugs.

Drug Substances That Decrease Toxicity Substances That Increase Effectiveness
Adriamycin CoQ10, Vitamin E, Riboflavin, NAC (N-Acetylcysteine), Vitamin C, Antioxidants Vitamin E, Green Tea, Vitamin A
CIS Platinum Recancostat*, Glutathione IV*, Ginkgo biloba, Milk Thistle, Selenium, Magnesium Recancostat* Vitamin C, Vitamin A
Neosar Ashwaganda herb* Aloe Vera Extract, Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan*, Vitamin A
5 FU Vitamin B6, CoQ10, Chamomile mouthwash, Glutamine mouthwash Vitamin A, L-cysteine, Vitamin E, Aloe Vera, Calcium Butyrate
Methotrexate Glutamine Vitamin A, Glutamine, Proteolytic enzymes/Wobenzyme
Taxol Vitamin C
Tamoxifen Soy isoflavones, natural progesterone, Remifemin Melatonin
Vincristine Vitamin C Vitamin A

Chemo, Tinnitus‏ & Hearing Loss

From:   S. Norbash (sidnorbash@SBCGLOBAL.NET)

Sent:  10 June 2010 11:45:00
My husband has had transitional cell carcinoma and is followed every 6 months at MD Anderson. (left kidney, ureter and bladder “cuff” removed, BCG, etc….)  I “lurk” here to try to keep up with the latest and read the recent posts about tinnitus.  I am an audiologist and have monitored hearing in cancer patients for clinical trials, etc… It always pains me to know the likely consequences as far as hearing, but usually there is no choice.  my husband had gemzar and cisplatin chemo and now wears hearing aids.  the full effects of the chemo on hearing will often not show up for months after treatment is concluded.  His tinnitus is not severe, but he has mild to moderate hearing loss.  He had “no choice” since hearing aids are what I do,   🙂 but he does get great benefit from them and I would encourage you to see what’s out there, especially a new device that is an advanced digital hearing aid AND a tinnitus masker in one.  I have heard of
good success with it.  If you are interested, I would suggest contacting a local audiologist and asking about it.  The name is ReSound Live TS.  Most audiologists offer a trial period where you could see if it is helpful or not.

Cold Caps Prevent Hair Loss

From:  clozie@COMCAST.NET
> Subject: [CAFE] Glutamine to prevent neuropathy, and “cold cap” to prevent hair loss
> To: BLADDER-CANCER-CAFE@LISTSERV.ACOR.ORG Date: Thu, 9 Sep 2010 16:58:12 -0400

Nancy and Wendy,

I totally agree with both you.  Though I am not surprise, I find it revolting that so many oncologist won’t even “mention” Glutamine as well as other things that might be outside the “mainstream” of current oncology but which, nonetheless, “might” or are even “very likely” to help palliate some of the terrible side-effects of the “mainstream” pharmaceutical drugs that they recommend without any hesitation.

Here is another example which I want to pass along:  in my current chemo, I have been using a “cold cap” — a cap, made of cold-gel packs, which I keep over my head 15 minutes before, during and for another hour or so after the infusion;  and, after 10 infusions of Andriamycin, I still have all the hair on my head!  I am totally hairless everywhere else in my body (nice, actually — I have not needed to shave since March!), EXCEPT on my head — so, there is no question whatsoever that the “cold cap” is what prevented me from losing my hair.  And even though hair loss is, as Nancy pointed out, a “temporary” side-effect, it is still one of the most annoying ones.  I lost my hair in each one of the 4 chemos that I did before this one — that got really old!

Just like with Glutamine to preven neuropathy, why don’t oncologist doctors and nurses at least “mention” cold caps as a “possible” way to prevent hair loss??

I can understand that some would hesitate to “recommend” such things based on the common (and I think truthful, in many cases) allegation that “not enough studies have been done about it to *proof* anything scientifically”.  However, they must know, or at least should know that not enough studies will *EVER* be done about some of these things, NOT because they don’t make sense logically/theoretically or because they are not worth-studying, but because obviously these things are not patentable, therefore no profit-seeking corporation will ever dump the necessary millions or billions of dollars that are usually needed to do repeated studies in order to “proof” anything scientifically.

However, though in comparatively limited numbers and with less “rigor” (scientific rigor usually requires more money), both in the case of Glutamine as well as for the “cold caps” there HAVE been studies done — I don’t have the reference handy but I have read a couple of them by searching the net or Pubmed.  And they HAVE “demonstrated” that they worked for at least a great number of the patients in these particular studies!  I am quoting this “by memory”, so I might not get the figures right, but in the case of “cold caps” the study that I read demonstrated that it had prevented hair loss in more than 85% of the cases — that is a HUGE percentage, given that most of the toxic chemos that oncologists recommend, particularly in the metastatic stage, only work for much less than that!  I was once recommended a chemo that it is “proven” to work for only about 13% of the cases!  And although the numbers are a lot more promising in the first line treatments — as you all know, fortunately many people ARE cured by the first and only chemo that they ever take! — I believe that in the metastatic stage, unfortunately, the average response rates are around 15-30% at best.

Given that Glutamine and “cold caps” don’t seem to have any “toxic” side effects — from what I read, EVEN if they don’t work, they at least are not likely to cause any serious damage —  it is really revolting that we, the patients, are not at least “told” about the “possibility” of using these things to palliate these two very bad potential side effects of chemo.

In any event, now that I am sure it has worked for me, I am telling everybody I know to Google “cold cap chemo” before their first infusion to judge for themselves whether they should give it a try and perhaps save their hair.  I was told about this by a friend of mine and I did not have time to purchase the commercially available caps, so my husband made one for me using those “blue” cold gel packs that are used for sore muscles and that he bought, cheaply, at our local CVS pharmacy.  Once I have more time, he and I are planning on writing about it in more details for people that don’t want or can not afford the commercial caps.

As to Glutamine, I learned about it a couple of years ago right here at the WebCafe, probably thru one of your emails, Wendy — thanks for sharing your experience always so generously!  Unfortunately, that was not in time for my cysplatin chemo, and obviously I wish my doctor had told me about it.  I have used it during other chemos ever since, and I have been telling every patient I know about it.

I hope this long email helps save someone’s hair one day :)!!

Best,

–Claudia

Fruit, etc Help, but No Sugar or Fruit Juices

From: Wendy Ramsay
Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2006 7:25 AM
Subject: [CAFE] chemo and supplements

Hi Anne,
I know this is a late reply, but there are supplements that work in conjuction with specific chemotherapies. You would need to hook up with a naturopath working in the field of cancer and/or bladder cancer. I have been taking supplements to aid, specifically, my gemzar/cisplatin treatments. Different chemos affect the body in different ways. The oncologist that is treating me doesn’t necessarily ‘believe’ in them either. I do need to take the time to print out the research supporting the supplements so that he can have it and hopefully bridge the gap a bit. In addition to supplements which I will list below, I was told adamantly to stay away from sugar except for the day I am receiving chemo. On that day, I should eat some sugar. I should not drink fruit juices but whole fruit is OK (there are differing opinions on staying away from fruit altogether). Two cups of coffee on the day of chemo was also recommended (he said I could still drink coffee the rest of the time but limit to 16 oz/day).  Soy every day. Also wild salmon, olive oil, 6 brazil nuts/day, sesame tahini (1 tablespoon/day), and lots of green tea. Below are the supplements prescribed to me. Several related specifically to decreasing metastases by binding the connectors of the cancer cells preventing them from taking hold and seeding (quercitin, fractionated fruit pectin, great tonifying formula herbal packets). Others support increased immune support or response to the chemo (melatonin, Coriolis mushroom, curcumin).

melatonin (20mg/ once before bed)
multi nutrients V (2 caps – 2x’s/day)
cal/mag    (500g 2x’s/day)
vit c    (1000 – 1x/day)
green tea (3 to 5 cups/day)

Greens First powder juice mix (1 scoop/day)     contains: barley grass juice powder, chlorella, spirulina, carrot juice powder, broccoli juice powder, cauliflower juice powder, spinach jjice powder, parsley juice powder, kale juice powder, green tea extract (decaf) blueberry, plum, grape seed extract, cranberry, rasberry, tart cherry, pine bark extract, bussel sprout, natural flavors, stevia, citric acid.

Whey protein (2 tsp – 1x/day)
cod liver oil (2 tsp/day)
curcumin (4 caps – 2 x’s/day take only the 3 days prior to chemo and not on day of chemo)
Coriolis mush (2 caps in am/ 3 caps in pm)

great tonifying extract powder formula (2 cups tea/day)    contains:   ginseng, angelica sinensis, peony root, atractylodes rhizome, hoelen, cinnamon bark, astragalus root, cnidium rhizome, licorice, tehmannia root)

quercitin (500 – 2 x’s/day)
fractionated pectin (1 scoop 2x’s/day)

Other supplements are prescribed for me depending on my individual labs etc as needed but these are the basics for my chemo regiment. The naturopath I see is Paul Reilly from Seattle Cancer Treatment and Wellness Center (Cancer Treatment Centers of America). His book (How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Natural Medicine) does reference studies supporting various supplements to treatment.

Wendy Ramsay
Diagnosed 1994. Neobladder 2004. Right nephrectomy/chemo 2006. Upper tract chemo 2007/08. Left nephrectomy 2008. Home dialysis 6-7 x’s/week.


[viii] Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2011 09:12:26 +1100 From: pete.granger@GMAIL.COM Subject: [CAFE] Curcumin and Resveratrol – Chemoresistance To: BLADDER-CANCER-CAFE@LISTSERV.ACOR.ORG

[xviii] http://www.oncologychannel.com/chemotherapy/care.shtml

NOTE: The 2012 edition of The Cancer Survivor’s Bible is now available – see www.fightingcancer.com for details

“The section on conventional treatment was riveting.”

 

Posted in Cancer Perspectives, Comments and Suggestions, Supporting chemo | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

vitamin C – countering propaganda

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on September 28, 2010


If you are looking for a good critical analysis of what is available for treating cancer then you need to read my two cancer books – see www.fightingcancer.com for more information

Vitamin C – Countering Propaganda

The following press release speaks for itself:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, September 15, 2010

Cancer and Vitamin C:
Evidence-Based Censorship

(OMNS September 15, 2010) The very first paper in the Puerto Rico Health
Sciences Journal’s special issue on cancer condemns vitamin C therapy for
cancer. (1) Furthermore, that Journal has refused publication of a letter
correcting the article’s numerous errors. We have therefore decided to provide
OMNS readers with that rebuttal letter, below:

It is entirely false to assert that we do not know how much vitamin C is
effective against cancer. Indeed, the opposite is true: we do know, and we
are failing our duty to patients when we fail to recommend vitamin C as
adjunctive cancer therapy.

There are many controlled studies that demonstrate that vitamin C is
indeed effective against cancer, improving length of life and quality of life.
Positive studies have typically used between 10,000 and 100,000 mg/day
intravenously. As Dr. Fernando Cabanillas correctly noted, success with 10,000
mg/day by IV was initially reported back in the 1970s by Cameron and
Pauling. But Dr. Cabanillas has then omitted some key information. It is
important

to note that the negative, much-touted Moertel-Mayo studies were not true
replications of Cameron and Pauling’s work, as A) they used oral doses
only, and B) vitamin C was discontinued at the first sign of disease
progression. Would we administer injectable chemotherapy orally, and then
discontinue

chemotherapy if the patient worsened? No, we would administer it properly,
and stay with it.

Dr. Cabanillas also neglects to mention that Pauling and Cameron’s work
was promptly confirmed, first at Japan’s Saga University by Murata et al. Dr.
Murata employed over 30,000 mg per day and had even better results with
terminally ill cancer patients. (2) In the words of Dr. Louis Lasagna of the
University of Rochester Medical School, “It seems indefensible not to at
least try substantial doses of vitamin C in these patients.” (3)

And again contrary to Dr. Cabanillas’ statements, many clinical reports
from orthomolecular (nutritional) physicians including Dr. Hugh Riordan and
colleagues do in fact indicate that IV vitamin C is effective. Says Dr.
James A. Jackson, “Dr. Riordan’s IV protocol (4) starts out at 15,000 mg
intravenous ascorbate and slowly goes up. It is given twice a week. The IVs are
continued until the post-IV vitamin C levels reach what our research
established as the killing level of 350 to 400 mg/dL. This has been verified.
(5)

Once this level is reached, the frequency of the IV may be reduced to once a
week, or to one or two times a month.”

There is no absolutely reliable cure for cancer. Conventional chemotherapy
contributes only 2.1% to five year cancer survival in the USA. (6) But
with vitamin C, we are on the right track. It has been reported since
McCormick in the 1950s (7,8,9) that cancer patients invariably have abnormally
low

levels of the vitamin. Vitamin C is vital to a cancer patient. What is
dangerous is vitamin deficiency. What is even more dangerous is warning people
off the very therapy that may help them, and frequently has been shown to
make a significant difference.

Precisely how significant remains to be seen. But there are intriguing
indications. Linus Pauling took 18,000 mg/day of vitamin C. Pauling died from
cancer in 1994. Dr. Charles Moertel of the Mayo Clinic, critic of vitamin
C, died of cancer the same year. Moertel was 66. Pauling was 93. Did vitamin
C fail to cure Pauling’s cancer? If so, then not taking vitamin C failed
to cure Moertel’s. Pauling lived 27 years longer with ascorbate than Moertel
lived without it.

Andrew W. Saul
Editor, OMNS

(end of letter)

Vitamin C does not interfere with conventional cancer treatment

Victor Marcial, M.D., an oncologist in Puerto Rico, says:

**We studied patients with advanced cancer (stage 4). 40 patients received
40,000-75,000 mg intravenously several times a week. These are patients
that have not responded to other treatments. The initial tumor response rate
was achieved in 75% of patients, defined as a 50% reduction or more in
tumor size. . . As a radiation oncologist, I also give radiation therapy.
Vitamin C has two effects. It increases the beneficial effects of radiation and
chemotherapy and decreases the adverse effects. But this is not a subtle
effect, is not 15-20%. It’s a dramatic effect. Once you start using IV
vitamin C, the effect is so dramatic that it is difficult to go back to not
using

it.**

Ralph Campbell, M.D., a Montana pediatrician, writes:

**More and more oncologists are admitting that a course of chemo disrupts
the immune system to the point of allowing more cancer down the pike. It
would seem reasonable for post-chemo patients to enter a regimen of high
antioxidants intake as soon as they can.**

Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D., explains why vitamin C does not interfere with
chemotherapy at _http://www.doctoryourself.com/chemo.html_
(http://www.doctoryourself.com/chemo.html)

Taking action

More and more medical doctors support adjunctive vitamin C therapy for
cancer. The PRHSJ needs to publish both sides of the story. If you would like
encourage them to do so, you may write directly to:

Luis M. Vil , M.D. _prhsj.rcm@upr.edu_ (mailto:prhsj.rcm@upr.edu)
Editor-in-Chief, Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal

Zoila Figueroa _zoila.figueroa@upr.edu_ (mailto:zoila.figueroa@upr.edu)
Secretary
PO Box 365067, San Juan PR 00936-5067

For more information about vitamin C cancer therapy:

You can watch an excerpt from the movie FOODMATTERS discussing vitamin C
therapy for cancer at
_http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxveVAMir4o&feature=related_
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxveVAMir4o&feature=related)

Free download of the Riordan protocol at
_http://www.doctoryourself.com/RiordanIVC.pdf_
(http://www.doctoryourself.com/RiordanIVC.pdf)

La medicina ortomolecular en español:

1)Presentan primera guía ortomolecular para el manejo del cáncer:
_http://www.wapa.tv/noticias.php?nid=20100428195518_
(http://www.wapa.tv/noticias.php?nid=20100428195518)

2) Video de los comentarios del Dr. Victor Marcial:
_http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbOXgG998fI_
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbOXgG998fI)

References:

(1) PRHSJ, Vol 29, No 3, Sept, 2010. Read the paper, or the entire issue,
at _http://prhsj.rcm.upr.edu/index.php/prhsj/issue/current/showToc_
(http://prhsj.rcm.upr.edu/index.php/prhsj/issue/current/showToc) The direct
download link for the paper in question is
_http://prhsj.rcm.upr.edu/index.php/prhsj/article/view/518/354_
(http://prhsj.rcm.upr.edu/index.php/prhsj/article/view/518/354)

(2) Murata, A., Morishige, F. and Yamaguchi, H. (1982) Prolongation of
survival times of terminal cancer patients by administration of large doses of
ascorbate. International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research Suppl.,
23, 1982, p. 103-113. Also in Hanck, A., ed. (1982) Vitamin C: New
Clinical Applications. Bern: Huber, 103-113.

(3) _http://www.lib.rochester.edu/index.cfm?page=3330_
(http://www.lib.rochester.edu/index.cfm?page=3330)

(4) _http://www.doctoryourself.com/RiordanIVC.pdf_
(http://www.doctoryourself.com/RiordanIVC.pdf)

(5) Padayatty SJ, Sun H, Wang Y, Riordan HD, Hewitt SM, Katz A, Wesley RA,
Levine M. Vitamin C pharmacokinetics: implications for oral and
intravenous use. Ann Intern Med. 2004 Apr 6;140(7):533-7. Free full-text article
at

_http://www.annals.org/content/140/7/533.long_
(http://www.annals.org/content/140/7/533.long) or as a pdf download at
_http://www.annals.org/content/140/7/533.full.pdf_
(http://www.annals.org/content/140/7/533.full.pdf)

See also: Padayatty SJ, Riordan HD, Hewitt SM, Katz A, Hoffer LJ, and
Levine M. Intravenously administered vitamin C as cancer therapy: three cases.
CMAJ. 2006 March 28; 174(7): 937-942. Free full-text article at
_http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1405876/?tool=pubmed_
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1405876/?tool=pubmed)

(6) Morgan G, Ward R, Barton M. The contribution of cytotoxic chemotherapy
to 5-year survival in adult malignancies. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2004
Dec;16(8):549-60.

(7) McCormick WJ. Cancer: the preconditioning factor in pathogenesis; a
new etiologic approach. Arch Pediatr. 1954 Oct;71(10):313-22. Also: McCormick
WJ. [Cancer: predisposition as pathogenesis; new data on its etiology.]
Union Med Can. 1955 Mar;84(3):272-7. French.

(8) McCormick WJ. Cancer: a collagen disease, secondary to a nutritional
deficiency. Arch Pediatr. 1959 Apr;76(4):166-71. Also: McCormick WJ. [Is
cancer a collagen disease attributable to vitamin C deficiency.] Union Med
Can. 1959 Jun;88(6):700-4. French.

(9) McCormick WJ. Have we forgotten the lesson of scurvy? J Applied
Nutrition, 1962, 15(1,2) p 4-12.

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CIK-DC Cancer Therapy

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on January 7, 2009


The Big Book: Cancer: The Complete Recovery Guide

The Small Book: Cancer Recovery Guide: 15 Alternative and Complementary Strategies for Restoring Health  –  For more information go to www.fightingcancer.com

“This book tells me everything. Why didn’t my doctor tell me this?” – Rev Bill Newbern

 

CIK-DC CANCER THERAPY

From a posting by Alexander & Beatrice on ‘Cancercured’  Yahoo Health Chat group:

“The cancer stem cells that survive chemo and radio are the one factor
for recurrence, the second factor is the compromised immune system
that can not properly handle them as they begin to come out of hiding.

This can be fixed by boosting your immune system back to the levels
when you where 20. It is a combination of Cytokine Induced Killer
Cells and Dentric Cells, short CIK-DC therapy.

Evidence is mounting that recipients of this therapy have a 90%
non-recurrence when stage 1+2 and about 70% non-recurrence when stage 3+4.

The Dentric Cells are part of the immune system, responsible for
recognizing and marking foreign invaders as non-self.

CIK cells are the main army of the immune system, ready to kill all
invaders, but have limited ability to recognize non-self.

That is why cancer stem cells can be overcome with this mix of
intelligence and power.

Will be back at the Sanzao Cell Transplant Center for a few booster
shots early February 🙂

More info and links about CIK-DC Therapy here:
immune2cancer. com/cikpack. htm “

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Some chemotherapy facts (UK)

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on November 20, 2008


http://www.timesonl ine.co.uk/ tol/news/ uk/health/ article5138033. ece
Chemotherapy can do more harm than good, study suggests
David Rose
Doctors have been urged to be more cautious in offering cancer treatment to
terminally-ill patients as chemotherapy can often do more harm than good, a
study suggests.
Patients with incurable cancers were promised much greater access to the
latest drugs which could offer them extra months or years of life by a
Department of Health review last week.
Such medicines are often taken or injected as part of a “cocktail” of
chemotherapy drugs.
But the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death
(NCEPOD) found that more than four in ten patients who received chemotherapy
towards the end of life suffered potentially fatal effects from the drugs,
and treatment was “inappropriate” in nearly a fifth of cases..
About 300,000 patients now receive chemotherapy in the UK each year, a 60
per cent increase compared to 2004.
But in a study of more than 600 cancer patients who died within 30 days of
receiving treatment, chemotherapy probably caused or hastened death in 27
per cent of cases, the inquiry found.
In only 35 per cent of these cases was care judged to have been good by the
inquiry’s advisors, with 49 per cent having room for improvement and 8 per
cent receiving less than satisfactory care.
More than one fifth of patients were already severely debilitated at the
time the decision to treat with chemotherapy was taken, while that many
could not make an informed consent to treatment, the report said.
Mark Lansdown, surgical oncologist at Leeds General Infirmary, and a
co-author of the report, said that it is usual for patients to suffer some
side-effects following chemotherapy, but that very few patients die as a
consequence.
“The majority of patients in this study were receiving palliative treatment
where the aim is to alleviate symptoms of cancer with the minimum of side
effects,” which represented a small proportion (2 per cent) of all patients
receiving the treatment, he said.
“Yet 43 per cent of all patients in the study suffered significant
treatment-related toxicity.”
The proportion of deaths attributed to chemotherapy “is of particular
concern for the 14 per cent of patients for whom [it] was intended to cure
them of their cancer,” he added.
Co-author Diana Mort, of Velindre NHS Trust, Cardiff, said that treatment
can also result in life-threatening infections or patients may simply die of
their cancer.
“[But] patients must be made aware of the risks and side effects of
chemotherapy
as well as the potential benefits. They should be given time to
reflect on their decision and must always be free to change their minds.”
The Government’s national cancer director, Professor Mike Richards, said
that he was “very concerned” by the report’s findings.
The National Chemotherapy Advisory Group will publish a full response to the
NCEPOD report today, “to bring about a step change in the quality and safety
of chemotherapy services for adult patients,” he added.
“I am asking all chemotherapy service providers to consider these reports
urgently and to reassess their own services immediately against the measures
we have set nationally.”
Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients Association, commented: “too many
clinicians have a cavalier attitude to providing information on cancer
outcomes, when they should be doing everything in their power to raise
standards and give full information to their patients.”
Jane Maher, Chief Medical Officer at Macmillan Cancer Support added:
Doctors and nurses need to be much better at helping patients understand
the pros and cons of such powerful treatments in the last year of life.
“Some patients may not be getting the right information and support before
deciding whether to start chemotherapy and even more importantly, when
enough is enough.
“Something clearly needs to be done – I welcome a prompt response by the National Chemotherapy Advisory Group.”

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Moss Report july 6th 2008

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on July 7, 2008


Free News Letter
For July 6, 2008

WHAT’S IN A WORD?

I have been slogging through the latest study attacking the concurrent use of antioxidants during cancer therapy. This study is titled “Should Supplemental Antioxidant Administration Be Avoided During Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy?” It appeared June 4, 2008 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Lawenda 2008). The paper is a review: that is, it does not contain any new data but is a commentary on data that already exists. What makes it a bit newsworthy is that some of the authors are tangentially related to the complementary and alternative field.

But as I was working my way through the article I came upon a most unusual paragraph. The authors were discussing a now-famous study of the use of synthetic antioxidants during radiation therapy. The official title of this study was “Beta-Carotene and Alpha-Tocopherol Chemoprevention of Second Primary Malignancies in Head and Neck Cancer Patients.” It took place at Laval University in Quebec, Canada, and was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC). The first author was Isabelle Bairati, MD, PhD, and so this is sometimes called the Bairati study. But I will refer to it here as the Laval study. The study began in October 1994 and the first results were announced in April 2005-thus it took over a decade to complete.

The results were decidedly mixed. The administration of synthetic beta-carotene and alpha-tocopherol during cancer treatment did result in a 38 percent decrease in severe side effects. However, there also appeared to be a reduction of 29 percent in local tumor control for the alpha tocopherol group and a 56 percent reduction in tumor control in the group that received both alpha tocopherol and beta-carotene. Since this was among the few large randomized clinical trials (RCTs) examining the use of antioxidants during radiation therapy, it provided ammunition to those who advocate that one should entirely avoid the use of supplemental antioxidants during cancer therapy, at least until there is further good RCT data.

However, in 2008 the Laval authors issued a bombshell. In a further analysis, they showed that the harmful effect of these synthetic vitamins was entirely restricted to one group – smokers. And not just smokers, but those who smoked through the course of their radiation therapy. All other groups appeared to be unharmed by the interaction.

There was another paper from the same group of researchers with even more surprising findings. This study found that participants who had the highest dietary intake of beta carotene had a 39 percent reduction in severe adverse effects (which was statistically significant). There was a similar trend with alpha tocopherol (albeit not statistically significant). More encouragingly, “participants with higher plasma beta carotene had a significantly lower rate of local recurrence.” There was 33 percent reduction in the cancer recurrence rate. Alpha tocopherol was not related to severe adverse effects or to cancer recurrence. But the intake of the antioxidant beta-carotene through dietary sources appeared to be a win-win situation. The problem that was earlier reported appeared to be in the manufacture of the synthetic beta carotene supplements used in the study.

Carotene is an orange pigment that is important for plant photosynthesis. The main dietary sources are the orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, including (as the name suggests) carrots, but also sweet potatoes, mangoes and cantaloupe. Carotenes also lurk in many green leafy vegetables, such spinach, kale and chard. Beta-carotene is the most abundant and best known of the carotenes, but it almost always occurs in nature accompanied by its less known siblings, alpha gamma, delta and epsilon carotenes. In addition, in nature, carotenes are also often found alongside other natural food pigments such as xanthophylls, anthocynanins, and chlorophylls. Thus, when one assesses patients for their intake of “beta-carotene,” one cannot be sure that any perceived effect is not also due to one of these other substances, or (most likely) to a combination of these substances.

For reasons of scientific accuracy, however, the Laval authors only gave the patients in their clinical trial a synthetic form of pure beta-carotene. Although this decreased the adverse effects of radiation by a similar amount as did the increased dietary intake of natural beta carotene, it also led to the surprising increase in cancer recurrences. It is unknown, and a matter of speculation, whether this increase was due (a) to the synthetic nature of the vitamin (or possibly one of its additives or excipients) or (b) the lack of the other accompanying natural chemicals, as mentioned above.

In 2008, in a subgroup analysis of the previous data, the Laval authors showed that the harmful effects of radiation and synthetic beta-carotene (or alpha-tocopherol) were limited to those patients who continued to smoke during the course of their radiation therapy. Apparently there was something unique about the interaction of these synthetic antioxidants and tobacco metabolites that was particularly dangerous.

This observation was not surprising, but was fully in line with two earlier studies called the ATBC and CARET studies, dating from the 1990s. To quote the US National Cancer Institute:

“In the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene (ATBC) Cancer Prevention Trial, 18 percent more lung cancers were diagnosed and 8 percent more overall deaths occurred in study participants taking beta carotene. In CARET, after an average of four years of receiving supplements, 28 percent more lung cancers were diagnosed and 17 percent more deaths occurred in participants taking beta carotene and vitamin A than in those taking placebos. Neither of these studies showed a benefit from taking supplements.”

To summarize, there were three major findings that came out of the Laval study:

1) The addition of a synthetic beta carotene (with or without synthetic alpha tocopherol) did lead to fewer adverse effects of radiation for head and neck cancer but also led to a higher recurrence rate (2005a and 2005b)
2) The consumption of a diet that was high in beta-carotene led to a similar decrease in adverse side effects, but without the concomitant increase in the recurrence rate (2007).
3) The harmful effect of synthetic beta-carotene was limited to those patients who continued to smoke through the course of their radiation therapy (2008). This was in line with the earlier findings from the ATBC and CARET trials.

Now let’s look at how Lawenda et al. report the Laval data in the JNCI.

First, they correctly recapitulate the benefit that the two synthetic antioxidants had on severe side effects. They also note that the Laval authors initially reported that the benefit was “offset by reductions in the local tumor control rate.”

Second, they report as “interesting” the finding that this harmful effect was limited to smokers. “There was no increase in either of these outcome measures for the nonsmokers,” they state. This seems pretty clear-cut.

So, in 2005, the Laval authors implied that the harmful effect was seen in the general patient population. In 2007, they reported that the ingestion of beta-carotene in foods was protective against side effects and not harmful in terms of recurrence. And in 2008, they modified their stance further and reported that the harmful effect was only seen in a subgroup of patients who continued to smoke during the course of their radiation therapy-a finding that was fully in line with the well-publicized ATBC and CARET studies. This finding would lead to the obvious conclusion that synthetic beta-carotene supplements should not be taken by smokers while they are undergoing radiation.

So far, there would seem to be little to argue with. However, at this point, the JNCI authors veered off course. They stated as follows:

“The most concerning data are presented in a subsequent publication by Bairati et al. (17) on the same cohort of patients. In this article, they demonstrate that the patients who received antioxidants had statistically significant poorer overall survival.”

Read this over. Based on the words “subsequent publication,” wouldn’t you think that after their findings that essentially exonerated beta carotene except in the case of active smokers the Bairati group next came up with some new finding that those patients “who received antioxidants” had a worse outcome? Isn’t that the logical inference from the word “subsequent”? (My dictionary defines “subsequent” as “following in time or order,” “coming after something else,” etc.)

According to the JNCI authors, however, subsequent does not mean…well, subsequent. It actually means the opposite. How is that? Because the “subsequent” study in question – their reference #17 – was actually published in 2006, whereas the earlier “interesting” study on smokers was published in 2008 – two years later!

Confused, I wrote to the lead author, Brian D. Lawenda, MD, who was kind enough to promptly reply to my inquiry. Here is what he wrote concerning the chronology of these studies: “The sequence of the presentation of this data (and the word ‘subsequent’) may be confusing to some readers, but the references clearly indicate the order of the trials.”

I had suggested to Dr. Lawenda that he and his coauthors issue a correction in the JNCI concerning their use of the word “subsequent.” But apparently none is needed since the correct order of events can (he says) be inferred from the references!

This sort of reasoning – in which sooner is later, and later sooner — leads to some interesting hypothetical situations. Here for example is my abbreviated History of World War II:

    1) Hitler invades Poland.
    2) The Allies land in Normandy and proceed to subdue Germany.
    3) Subsequently, Hitler launches a counter offensive at the Battle of the Bulge.

Apparently, as long as I provide properly dated footnotes I’m correct in my new history of the war in Europe. One can in fact change the entire history of the world to one’s liking using this new system of logic.

There is a lot more to say about this Lawenda et al. study and I hope to get to it soon. But I think the take away message for patients is as follows:

1) There is no strong evidence that for the average patient taking any antioxidants – synthetic or natural – during radiation therapy causes an increase in the recurrence rate. According to the 2008 paper from Laval, it seems as if the harmful effect is limited to current smokers.
2) It would be prudent for smokers to never take synthetic beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol or other isolated vitamins. They should rely on foods for their vitamins and also find ways to stop smoking (such as through hypnosis).
3) Taking beta-carotene and alpha tocopherol in their natural state through foods is highly beneficial to patients undergoing radiation therapy. They have all the benefit of the synthetic form of beta carotene without any of the harmful effects that the Laval authors noted in smokers.

Incidentally, the JNCI authors seem aware of the difference between synthetic and natural forms of antioxidants (i.e., that beta carotene and alpha tocopherol in their dietary form are beneficial and not at all harmful) yet they ignore this critical part of the Laval work. But this is arguably the most important take away message.

Patients can get an enormous amount of beta-carotene safely through foods and there really is no need for synthetic antioxidants at all. One way of doing this is by juicing carrots – one pound normally yields about one 8 oz glass of juice. You can add other fruits or vegetables to the hopper to receive a broader spectrum of natural antioxidants. Patients should make sure to use organic carrots and wash them well. If one’s doctor has concerns about possible bacterial contamination of raw carrots (a potential problem for those with compromised immune systems) then one should try using steamed carrots. I have heard it said that gently steamed carrots have five times as much available beta-carotene than raw. Either way, if you do this consistently, you will raise your blood levels of beta-carotene into the highest percentile. A further benefit is that most oncologists, who routinely object to their patients taking any kind of food supplements, might feel silly telling them that they can’t eat a serving of steamed carrots.

Posted in Cancer Perspectives, Supporting chemo | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

glutamine

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on July 2, 2008


Comment on the value of glutamine by Dr Vincent Gammill www.natural-oncology.org:

In general, glutamine is one of the more useful tools that you can
use with cytotoxic therapies. It does not seem to undermine the
therapy and it certainly helps allay some of the miseries. I
typically recommend about 50 grams per day while doing
chemotherapy. As to is use with alternative therapies, there is
rarely any real need to use it with corrective/restorat ive therapies
or deprivation therapies, but it can have value with “distortive”
saturation therapies.

Vincent

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Interesting quotes on the subject of chemotherapy for cancer

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on May 1, 2008


CHEMOTHERAPY QUOTES

“Two to 4% of cancers respond to chemotherapy….The bottom line is for a few kinds of cancer chemo is a life extending procedure—Hodgkin’s disease, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), Testicular cancer, and Choriocarcinoma.”—-Ralph Moss, Ph.D. 1995 Author of Questioning Chemotherapy.

“NCI now actually anticipates further increases, and not decreases, in cancer mortality rates, from 171/100,000 in 1984 to 175/100,000 by the year 2000!”–Samuel Epstein.

“A study of over 10,000 patients shows clearly that chemo’s supposedly strong track record with Hodgkin’s disease (lymphoma) is actually a lie. Patients who underwent chemo were 14 times more likely to develop leukemia and 6 times more likely to develop cancers of the bones, joints, and soft tissues than those patients who did not undergo chemotherapy (NCI Journal 87:10).”-John Diamond

Children who are successfully treated for Hodgkin’s disease are 18 times more likely later to develop secondary malignant tumours. Girls face a 35 per cent chance of developing breast cancer by the time they are 40—-which is 75 times greater than the average. The risk of leukemia increased markedly four years after the ending of successful treatment, and reached a plateau after 14 years, but the risk of developing solid tumours remained high and approached 30 per cent at 30 years (New Eng J Med, March 21, 1996)

“Success of most chemotherapy is appalling…There is no scientific evidence for its ability to extend in any appreciable way the lives of patients suffering from the most common organic cancer…chemotherapy for malignancies too advanced for surgery which accounts for 80% of all cancers is a scientific wasteland.”—Dr Ulrich Abel. 1990

The New England Journal of Medicine Reports- War on Cancer Is a Failure: Despite $30 billion spent on research and treatments since 1970, cancer remains “undefeated,” with a death rate not lower but 6% higher in 1997 than 1970, stated John C. Bailar III, M.D., Ph.D., and Heather L. Gornik, M.H.S., both of the Department of Health Studies at the University of Chicago in Illinois. “The war against cancer is far from over,” stated Dr. Bailar. “The effect of new treatments for cancer on mortality has been largely disappointing.”

“My studies have proved conclusively that untreated cancer victims live up to four times longer than treated individuals. If one has cancer and opts to do nothing at all, he will live longer and feel better than if he undergoes radiation, chemotherapy or surgery, other than when used in immediate life-threatening situations.”—Prof Jones. (1956 Transactions of the N.Y. Academy of Medical Sciences, vol 6. There is a fifty page article by Hardin Jones of National Cancer Institute of Bethesda, Maryland. He surveyed global cancer of all types and compared the untreated and the treated, to conclude that the untreated outlives the treated, both in terms of quality and in terms of quantity. Secondly he said, “Cancer does not cure”. Third he said “There is a physiological mechanism which finishes off an individual”.)

“With some cancers, notably liver, lung, pancreas, bone and advanced breast, our 5 year survival from traditional therapy alone is virtually the same as it was 30 years ago.”—P Quillin, Ph.D.

“1.7% increase in terms of success rate a year, its nothing. By the time we get to the 24 century we might have effective treatments, Star Trek will be long gone by that time.” Ralph Moss.

“….chemotherapy’s success record is dismal. It can achieve remissions in about 7% of all human cancers; for an additional 15% of cases, survival can be “prolonged” beyond the point at which death would be expected without treatment. This type of survival is not the same as a cure or even restored quality of life.”-John Diamond, M.D.

“Keep in mind that the 5 year mark is still used as the official guideline for “cure” by mainstream oncologists. Statistically, the 5 year cure makes chemotherapy look good for certain kinds of cancer, but when you follow cancer patients beyond 5 years, the reality often shifts in a dramatic way.”-Diamond.

Studies show that women taking tamoxifen after surviving breast cancer then have a high propensity to develop endometrial cancer. The NCI and Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, which makes the drug, aggressively lobbied State of California regulators to keep them from adding tamoxifen to their list of carcinogens. Zeneca is one of the sponsors of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“Most cancer patients in this country die of chemotherapy…Chemotherapy does not eliminate breast, colon or lung cancers. This fact has been documented for over a decade. Yet doctors still use chemotherapy for these tumours…Women with breast cancer are likely to die faster with chemo than without it.”-Alan Levin, M.D.

According to the Cancer Statistics for 1995, published by the ACS in their small journal (2), the 5-year survival rate has improved from 50%-56% for whites and 39%-40% for blacks from 1974/1976 – 1983/1990. However, the data is taken from FIVE of the states with the lowest death rates AND the smallest populations! NONE of the 10 states with the highest death rates AND comprising 34% of the Total U.S. Cancer Deaths, were included in the data! Also, in prior years, the Composite (Ave.) 5-year survival rate for ALL Cancers Combined was computed and published. This Ave. 5-year survival crept upward to 50%, in the early nineties. It now stands around 51-52%, due primarily to the improvement of 11% survival for Colon and 13% increased survival for Prostate. It gets worse. The ACS boasts of “statistically significant” results when Uterine Ca survival drops from 89%/60%-85%/55% (W/B)?? Also, Pancreas Ca is 3-3 (W) and Laryngeal Ca survival drops from 59%-53% (B) while Cervical Ca drops from 63%-56% (B). Liver Ca improves from 4%-7%. I wonder how many Pancreatic and Hepatic Ca patients cheered these dramatic results? Ovarian Ca = 36%/40% – 42%/38% (W/B) and Breast Ca = 75%/63% – 82%/66% (W/B). In 16 years the Breast Ca rate improved 3-7%, while Uterine Ca decreased 4-5%. Aren’t these marvelous results that the Cancer Establishment should boast about??—-RD Hodgell, M.D.

“The five year cancer survival statistics of the American Cancer Society are very misleading. They now count things that are not cancer, and, because we are able to diagnose at an earlier stage of the disease, patients falsely appear to live longer. Our whole cancer research in the past 20 years has been a failure. More people over 30 are dying from cancer than ever before…More women with mild or benign diseases are being included in statistics and reported as being “cured”. When government officials point to survival figures and say they are winning the war against cancer they are using those survival rates improperly.”—Dr J. Bailer, New England Journal of Medicine (Dr Bailer’s answer to questions put by Neal Barnard MD of the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine and published in PCRM Update, sept/oct 1990.

“I look upon cancer in the same way that I look upon heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure, or even obesity, for that matter, in that by dramatically strengthening the body’s immune system through diet, nutritional supplements, and exercise, the body can rid itself of the cancer, just as it does in other degenerative diseases. Consequently, I wouldn’t have chemotherapy and radiation because I’m not interested in therapies that cripple the immune system, and, in my opinion, virtually ensure failure for the majority of cancer patients.”—Dr Julian Whitaker, M.D.

“Finding a cure for cancer is absolutely contraindicated by the profits of the cancer industry’s chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery cash trough.”-Dr Diamond, M.D.

“We have a multi-billion dollar industry that is killing people, right and left, just for financial gain. Their idea of research is to see whether two doses of this poison is better than three doses of that poison.”-Glen Warner, M.D. oncologist.

John Robbins:

  • “Percentage of cancer patients whose lives are predictably saved by chemotherapy – 3%
  • Conclusive evidence (majority of cancers) that chemotherapy has any positive influcence on survival or quality of life – none.
  • Percentage of oncologists who said if they had cancer they would not participate in chemotherapy trials due to its “ineffectiveness and its unacceptable toxicity” – 75%
  • Percentage of people with cancer in the U.S. who receive chemotherapy – 75%.
  • Company that accounts for nearly half of the chemotherapy sales in the world – Bristol-Meyers Squibb.
  • Chairman of the board of Bristol-Meyers – Richard L. Gelb.
  • Mr. Gelb’s other job: vice chairman, board of overseers, board of managers, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, World’s largest private cancer treatment and research center.
  • Chairman, Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s board of overseers, board of managers – John S. Reed.
  • Reed’s other job – director, Philip Morris (tobacco company).
  • Director, Ivax, Inc., a prominent chemotherapy company – Samuel Broder.
  • Broder’s other job (until 1995) – executive director, National Cancer Institute.”from Reclaiming Our Health: Exploding the Medical Myth and Embracing the Source of True Healing by John Robbins.

“If you can shrink the tumour 50% or more for 28 days you have got the FDA’s definition of an active drug. That is called a response rate, so you have a response..(but) when you look to see if there is any life prolongation from taking this treatment what you find is all kinds of hocus pocus and song and dance about the disease free survival, and this and that. In the end there is no proof that chemotherapy in the vast majority of cases actually extends life, and this is the GREAT LIE about chemotherapy, that somehow there is a correlation between shrinking a tumour and extending the life of the patient.”—Ralph Moss

“The majority of publications equate the effect of chemotherapy with (tumour) response, irrespective of survival. Many oncologists take it for granted that response to therapy prolongs survival, an opinion which is based on a fallacy and which is not supported by clinical studies. To date there is no clear evidence that the treated patients, as a whole, benefit from chemotherapy as to their quality of life.”—Abel.1990.

“For the majority of the cancers we examined, the actual improvements (in survival) have been small or have been overestimated by the published rates…It is difficult to find that there has been much progress…(For breast cancer), there is a slight improvement…(which) is considerably less than reported.”—General Accounting Office

“As a chemist trained to interpret data, it is incromprehensible to me that physicians can ignore the clear evidence that chemotherapy does much, much more harm than good.”—Alan Nixon, Ph.D., Past President, American Chemical Society.

“He said, “I’m giving cancer patients over here at this major cancer clinic drugs that are killing them, and I can’t stop it because they say the protocol’s what’s important.” And I say, “But the patient’s not doing well.” They say, “The protocol’s what’s important, not the patient.” And he said, “You can’t believe what goes on in the name of medicine and science in this country.” –Gary Null

The Politics of Cancer—Epstein

That in spite of over $20 billion expenditures since the “War against Cancer” was launched by President Nixon in 1971, there has been little if any significant improvement in treatment and survival rates for most common cancers, in spite of contrary misleading hype by the cancer establishment—the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and American Cancer Society (ACS).

That the cancer establishment remains myopically fixated on damage control _diagnosis and treatment _ and basic genetic research, with, not always benign, indifference to cancer prevention. Meanwhile, the incidence of cancer, including nonsmoking cancers, has escalated to epidemic proportions with lifetime cancer risks now approaching 50%.

That the NCI has a long track record of budgetary shell games in efforts to mislead Congress and the public with its claim that it allocates substantial resources to cancer prevention. Over the last year, the NCI has made a series of widely divergent claims, ranging from $480 million to $1 billion, for its prevention budget while realistic estimates are well under $100 million.

That the NCI allocates less than 1% of its budget to research on occupational cancer _ the most avoidable of all cancers _ which accounts for well over 10% of all adult cancer deaths, besides being a major cause of childhood cancer.

That cancer establishment policies, particularly those of the ACS, are strongly influenced by pervasive conflicts of interest with the cancer drug and other industries. As admitted by former NCI director Samuel Broder, the NCI has become “what amounts to a governmental pharmaceutical company.”

That the MD Anderson Comprehensive Cancer Center was sued in August, 1998 for making unsubstantiated claims that it cures “well over 50% of people with cancer.”

That the NCI, with enthusiastic support from the ACS _ the tail that wags the NCI dog _ has effectively blocked funding for research and clinical trials on promising non-toxic alternative cancer drugs for decades, in favor of highly toxic and largely ineffective patented drugs developed by the multibillion dollar global cancer drug industry. Additionally, the cancer establishment has systematically harassed the proponents of non-toxic alternative cancer drugs.

That, as reported in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the ACS is “more interested in accumulating wealth than saving lives.” Furthermore, it is the only known “charity” that makes contributions to political parties.

That the NCI and ACS have embarked on unethical trials with two hormonal drugs, tamoxifen and Evista, in ill-conceived attempts to prevent breast cancer in healthy women while suppressing evidence that these drugs are known to cause liver and ovarian cancer, respectively, and in spite of the short-term lethal complications of tamoxifen. The establishment also proposes further chemoprevention trials this fall on tamoxifen, and also Evista, in spite of two published long-term European studies on the ineffectiveness of tamoxifen. This represents medical malpractice verging on the criminal.

That the ACS and NCI have failed to provide Congress and regulatory agencies with available scientific information on a wide range of unwitting exposures to avoidable carcinogens in air, water, the workplace, and consumer products suchfood, cosmetics and toiletries, and household products. As a result, corrective legislative and regulatory action have not been taken.

That the cancer establishment has also failed to provide the public, particularly African American and underprivileged ethnic groups with their disproportionately higher cancer incidence rates, with information on avoidable carcinogenic exposures, thus depriving them of their right-to-know and effectively preventing them from taking action to protect themselves _ a flagrant denial of environmental justice.

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Supporting chemo – Al’s advice

Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on April 30, 2008


Hi,
  
  I started immune system builders about 6 weeks before I began chemo.  I had my blood and hair analyzed by a certified nauturopath. 
  
  The following is what the naturopath put me on.
  
  Melatonin   20mg  once in evening
  Multi Vitamin without iron or copper 6 a day
  Cod Liver oil 1 tlbs a day
  Green Tea Extract 1600 mg a day
  Coreolus-PSP Mushroom extract 1600 mg a day
  Calcium 600 mg a day
  Magnesium 300 mg a day
  2-4 cups green tea a day
  
  I have had no mouth sores, loss of weight, no loss of appetite except on chemo days and about 2 days after.  No severe nausea.
  
  I also changed my diet to total organic.  I have had red meat thee times in the last six months so most of my protein comes from vegetables, fish, egg whites, whey protein, organic chicken.
  
  I hope this helps, but remember this is for my immune system and everyone is unique.
  
  Hugs
  
  Al
  Spokane WA
  

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