October 18, 2007
Sun Exposure Reduces Breast Cancer Risk?

Yet another study on the anti-cancer effects of vitamin D.

A research team from the Northern California Cancer Center, the University of Southern California, and Wake Forest University School of Medicine has found that increased exposure to sunlight – which increases levels of vitamin D in the body -- may decrease the risk of advanced breast cancer.

In a study reported online this week in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the researchers found that women with high sun exposure had half the risk of developing advanced breast cancer, which is cancer that has spread beyond the breast, compared to women with low sun exposure. These findings were observed only for women with naturally light skin color. The study defined high sun exposure as having dark skin on the forehead, an area that is usually exposed to sunlight.

The scientists used a portable reflectometer to measure skin color on the underarm, an area that is usually not directly exposed to sunlight. Based on these measurements, they classified the women as having light, medium or dark natural skin color. Researchers then compared sun exposure between women with breast cancer and those without breast cancer. Sun exposure was measured as the difference in skin color between the underarm and the forehead.

In women with naturally light skin pigmentation, the group without breast cancer had significantly more sun exposure than the group with breast cancer. The fact that this difference occurred only in one group suggests that the effect was due to differences in vitamin D production – and wasn’t just because the women were sick and unable to go outdoors. In addition, the effect held true regardless of whether the cancer was diagnosed in the summer or in the winter. The difference was seen only in women with advanced disease, suggesting that vitamin D may be important in slowing the growth of breast cancer cells.

“We believe that sunlight helps to reduce women’s risk of breast cancer because the body manufactures the active form of vitamin D from exposure to sunlight,” said Esther John, Ph.D., lead researcher on the study from the Northern California Cancer Center. “It is possible that these effects were observed only among light- skinned women because sun exposure produces less vitamin D among women with naturally darker pigmentation.”

You can get vitamin D from fish or a pill too.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 October 18 10:53 PM  Aging Diet Cancer Studies


Comments
tvoh said at October 19, 2007 3:07 PM:

Randall,

There is more and more that D helps almost every week from you and that is great. Does it protect against the super staph bug that is causing vast paranoia across the country?

Randall Parker said at October 19, 2007 5:26 PM:

tvoh,

Since D helps improve immune system performance I'd expect it would provide some protection against staph. Though at best it would decrease your odds of getting that disease, not provide total protection. I'd try to avoid super staph.

So are you doing anything to boost your body's level of vitamin D? I'm eating salmon a few times a week and taking 2000 IU vitamin D capsules a few times a week.

reanimator said at October 19, 2007 8:18 PM:

You should seriously consider taking vitamin k2 and magnesium with it, if that D comes with calcium (as it sometimes does) or if you take in a lot of calcium.

tvoh said at October 19, 2007 8:22 PM:

Randall,

Thanks to you and Dennis Mangan, as fall is here, I take 1000mg a day if I've been out working during the day in full sun (still get to take my shirt off some thanks to global warming here in swamp yankee Massachusetts). Days I don't get out 2000mg. Salmon is a bit expensive so I might take 3000mg D3 as it gets darker and I have to bundle up more.

reanimator

Mine comes with 120mg calcium.

reanimator said at October 20, 2007 10:09 AM:

Tvoh,

this is the problem/solution:

http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/news/ng.asp?id=72666-vitamin-k-mk-cardiovascular-disease
http://www.mgwater.com/calmagab.shtml

Vitamin D is a major co-factor for calcium, even if it is not dual administered. Calcium release should be well measured in the body generally, especially if one tends to take supplements. You need not smoke to have stiff arteries, and that's real scary, IMHO.

tvoh said at October 21, 2007 5:15 AM:

Reanimator,

So what is the suggested dosage?

Randall,

Any thoughts?

Rob said at October 21, 2007 10:57 AM:

Randall,

Tell me you mean IU not mg in those doses.

Randall Parker said at October 21, 2007 11:22 AM:

tvoh,

I take magnesium currently but not calcium, fwiw. I'm taking 500 mg of magnesium maybe 3-6 times a week. I take it in the evening since it seems to cause sleepiness.

Vitamin K: I eat cabbage almost every day and figure I get enough vitamin K that way. See this table of foods high in vitamin K (which is really showing in micrograms and they say that at the bottom). You need at least 80 mcg per day and a cup of cabbage will provide that. I eat a few cups of cabbage a day (at least) and so I'm okay just from that. 250 mcg vitamin K per day might lower fracture risks further. I'm probably getting more than that. Again, I'm eating a lot of cabbage.

You could also go for kale, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach, or a few other really high vitamin K foods.

Cost of salmon: It is much cheaper to me canned. I use it mainly to get omega 3s. But it also allows me to reduce meat consumption since it has lots of protein.

Randall Parker said at October 21, 2007 1:35 PM:

Rob,

The mg amounts did not come from me. I am guessing tvoh meant IU.

tvoh said at October 21, 2007 8:08 PM:

Randall,

Yes, I meant iu.

I raise and eat my own grass fed beef which is high in omega 3s and is slaughtered lean.

I'll grow a lot more cabbage next summer.

reanimator said at October 21, 2007 9:07 PM:

K1, found in most leafy vegetables is a very poor substitute for a low dose of K2 (man made K3 is not currently recommended by anyone really). K2 is needed in the low doses since it equals something like 1:10 or better efficacy vs K1. It is completely safe and worthwhile, unless one is on serious blood thinners like warfarin. Google both for info.

Calcium should be 3:1 or 2:1 to magnesium (citrate or orate- ps., NOT manganese minimally!!) depending on the calcium taken in and blood test, which can be readily done.

Omega 3s can also stand some scrutiny. For one, DHA counteracts some advantages of EPA, per some studies on pubmed, namely in the CNS area. The only reason, as I see it, to take DHA is to minimize joint inflammation, which itself can be affected by other targeted medical or nutritional anti-inflammatory concentrates such as sour cherry extract and curcummin.


Rob said at October 23, 2007 7:04 AM:

Sorry Randall and Tvoh. I saw at wikipedia that overdoses of vitamin D cause loss of appetite (anorexia). I wonder if having too little vitamin D causes overeating, or if an analog of vitamin D could be developed as an appetite suppressor.

tvoh said at October 23, 2007 10:05 AM:

Rob,

The question is, what is an overdose. It also begs another question, Is there a point at which the dosage is "correct?" That is, a point where you would eat the correct amount for health, neither stuffing nor starving. As a gourmand (polite word for glutton?) that is devoutly to be wished.

Not to mention the correct dosage for each individual that maximizes all the health benefits Dennis and Randall have highlighted.

Rob said at October 24, 2007 12:55 PM:

Anorexia is not the only symptom of an overdose. I'm too lazy to check, but I'm pretty sure it is not to be recommended for weight control.

Since you started taking vitamin D, have you noticed any changes in your appetite? I think I've been less hungry, but I'm not sure, and I upped my running at the same time.

tvoh said at October 24, 2007 7:08 PM:

Rob,

I'm aging quickly, so I noticed some appetite abatement before I started on Vitamin D. Since, no noticeable change.

yorik said at October 26, 2007 10:48 PM:

If you get your vitamin D from sunlight, there's a natural feedback mechanism that prevents production of too much D; you can't overdose that way. On the other hand, if you take D from pills, you CAN overdose, especially if you're taking the artificial form of D, which I think is called ergo calciferol. BTW, vitamin D also is known to reduce depression. That fact came as a pleasant surprise to me.

If you're getting your D (and omega-3s) from fish, you need to know that farm raised fish have almost none of those nutrients. They feed farmed fish like they feed cattle in the feedlots, that is, horribly.

I think the UV exposure from the sun might help with infections, since UV light kills bacteria. I wonder about the super staph... The UV exposure is beneficial in other ways too. The complex chemical reactions to generate a suntan also produce hormones, like the aptly named melanin stimulating hormone (MSH) that help reduce body fat. Who woulda thunk?

nightlife said at April 1, 2010 5:47 AM:

K1, found in most leafy vegetables is a very poor substitute for a low dose of K2 (man made K3 is not currently recommended by anyone really). K2 is needed in the low doses since it equals something like 1:10 or better efficacy vs K1. It is completely safe and worthwhile, unless one is on serious blood thinners like warfarin. Google both for info.
If you get your vitamin D from sunlight, there's a natural feedback mechanism that prevents production of too much D; you can't overdose that way. On the other hand, if you take D from pills, you CAN overdose, especially if you're taking the artificial form of D, which I think is called ergo calciferol. BTW, vitamin D also is known to reduce depression. That fact came as a pleasant surprise to me.
http://www.nightlifeblues.com

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