Low Vitamin D May Be Root Cause of Cancer
Monday, June 15, 2009 by: S. L. Baker, features writer
(NaturalNews) What initially causes cancer to develop? The current scientific model assumes that a genetic mutation begins the genesis of a malignancy. But what if that assumption is wrong and there's another key to the start of cancer? Scientists at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California (UC) in San Diego have raised that possibility. And they've come up with another, brand new model of how cancer develops.
Reporting online in the current Annals of Epidemiology, they point to a host of research that suggests cancer develops when cells lose the ability to stick together in a healthy, normal way -- and the key factor to this initial triggering of a malignancy could well be a lack of vitamin D.
In the article, Cedric Garland, DrPH, professor of family and preventive medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, and his research team explain that previous theories associating vitamin D with many cancers have been tested and confirmed in over 200 epidemiological studies. In addition, more than 2,500 laboratory studies have been conducted that provide an understanding of the physiological basis of vitamin D's link to cancer.
According to Dr. Garland, researchers have documented that with enough vitamin D present, cells adhere to one another in tissue and act as normal, mature epithelial cells. But if there is a deficiency of vitamin D, cells can lose this stick-to-each other quality, as well as their identity as differentiated cells. The result? They may revert to a dangerous stem cell-like state and become cancerous.
In a statement to the media, Dr. Garland suggested that much of the process that starts cancer in the first place could be stopped at the outset by maintaining enough vitamin D in the body. "Vitamin D may halt the first stage of the cancer process by re-establishing intercellular junctions in malignancies having an intact vitamin D receptor," he said. And, he added, that if diet and supplements restore appropriate levels of vitamin D, the development of cancer might be prevented. According to Dr. Garland, vitamin D levels can be easily increased, if needed, by modest supplementation with vitamin D3 in the range of 2000 IU/day.
The "cure" for cancer already exists
This new model of cancer's cause has been dubbed DINOMIT by Dr. Garland and his colleagues. Each letter stands for a different phase of cancer development: "D" refers to disjunction, or loss of communication between cells; "I" is for initiation, where genetic mutations begin to play a role; "N" refers to natural selection of the fastest-reproducing cancer cells; "O" is a for overgrowth of cells; "M" stands for metastasis, the spread of a malignancy to other tissues; "I" refers to involution and "T" for transition, both dormant states that may occur in cancer and can potentially be altered by increasing vitamin D.
"Competition and natural selection among disjoined cells within a tissue compartment, such as might occur in the breast's terminal ductal lobular unit, for example, are the engine of cancer," Dr.Garland said in the press statement. "The DINOMIT model provides new avenues for preventing and improving the success of cancer treatment."
In their Annals of Epidemiology report, the UC scientists point to a host of studies that show an apparent beneficial effect of vitamin D (and, to some extent, calcium) on cancer risk and survival of patients with breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. In fact, Dr. Garland and his team have published epidemiological studies about the potential preventive effects of vitamin D for some twenty years.
In 2008, Dr. Garland and his colleagues found an association between a lack of sunlight exposure, low vitamin D and breast cancer. In earlier work, they showed linkages between increased levels of vitamin D3 or markers of vitamin D and a lower risk for breast, colon, ovarian and kidney cancers, too.
As reported earlier in Natural News, clues about a possible cause-and-effect association between a lack of vitamin D and cancer's development have rapidly accumulated over the past few years. For example, researchers have found that women who are deficient in vitamin D at the time they are diagnosed with breast cancer are nearly 75 percent more likely to die from the disease than women with sufficient vitamin D levels. Moreover, their cancer is twice as likely to metastasize to other parts of the body (http://www.naturalnews.com/024324.html).
Healthy levels of vitamin D have been found to slash the risk of numerous cancers by 77 percent (http://www.naturalnews.com/021892.html).