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Vitamin D: The Best "Drug" for Slashing Your Risk of Cancer?

Vitamin D: The Best "Drug" for Slashing Your Risk of Cancer?

Story at-a-glance -

  • Cancer prevention strategies that need to become mainstream include: optimizing your vitamin D levels, normalizing your insulin levels, and exercise. Research shows you can likely cut your cancer-risk in half simply by optimizing your vitamin D levels with sun exposure. And if you are being treated for cancer it is likely that higher blood levels—probably around 70-100 ng/ml—would be beneficial.
  • Cancer rates are projected to rise by 45 percent in the UK over the next 20 years due to population growth and an aging population.
  • Global cost of cancer is estimated at $286 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity. According to a new report from a panel of 37 experts, the rate of increase in expenditure on cancer within health-care systems is unsustainable.
  • Ignoring the fact that cancer is likely a man-made disease caused primarily by toxic overload is at the heart of our rising cancer rates, yet most of the cancer research is directed towards expensive drugs that target late stages of the disease and greatly enrich the drug companies but simply do not prevent cancer.
  • Overlooked contributing factors to cancer include: chemical exposures, pharmaceutical drugs, processed and artificial foods, EMF and dirty electricity, radiation exposure, obesity, stress, poor sleeping habits, and lack of sunshine exposure.

By Dr. Mercola

Research in the UK suggests that the number of new cancer cases could rise 45 percent by 2030. 

Cancer Research UK, which funded the study, says that the National Health Service must act immediately to avoid being "overwhelmed".

The research looked at 23 different types of cancer, and found an expected cancer increase of 55 percent for men and 35 percent for women.

BBC News reports:

"The rate of breast cancer is projected to fall by 7 percent.

The authors attribute this to a recent reduction in the use of hormone replacement therapy, which is a risk factor for the disease.  

However the rates of malignant melanoma and kidney cancer are forecast to rise sharply in men and women."

The primary reason for the rise in cancer cases is attributed to population growth in the UK and an increased ageing population.

Interestingly, while paying lip service to the necessity to create stronger initiatives for smoking, drinking, and obesity reduction.

England's Department of Health is planning to invest more than £750 million over the next four years to promote earlier cancer diagnosis and "better access to the latest treatments."

So in essence, they're going to throw millions of pounds into an already broken system—the Cut, Poison, Burn paradigm—that does nothing to actually prevent cancer...

No wonder cancer rates are projected to rise by 45 percent in the UK over the next 20 years!

New Study—Cost of Cancer Rapidly Becoming Unsustainable

Cancer now surpasses heart disease as the number one killer of Americans between the ages of 45 to 74. The odds are quite high that you or someone you know has cancer, is dying or has already died from it.

While life cannot be measured in dollars and cents, the financial burden of cancer is truly staggering. Currently, 12 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer each year, costing $286 billion annually in medical costs and lost productivity. By 2030, that number could increase to 22 million people each year, with a similar rise in costs.

According to a new report from a panel of 37 experts, the cost of cancer is rapidly becoming unsustainable in many developed countries.  The report was published in the journal Lancet Oncology in September, and was covered in Time Magazine that same month.

According to the authors of the report:

"The burden of cancer is growing rapidly… This is not simply due to an increase in absolute numbers or need for optimized treatments, rather it relates to the unsustainable rate of increase in expenditure on cancer within health-care systems.

What are the drivers and solutions to the so-called cancer-cost curve in developed countries? How are we going to afford to deliver high-quality and equitable care? In this Commission and the linked Comments, expert opinion from health-care professionals, policy makers, and cancer survivors has been gathered to address the barriers and solutions to delivering affordable cancer-care in high-income countries."

The report wisely questions the value of expensive new therapies that prolong patients' lives by mere months. Some cancer drugs, such as Avastin, for example, can cost upwards of $100,000 per year. At that price, even with insurance coverage, your co-payments can easily run as high as $20,000 a year. This despite the fact that studies show the drug prolongs life by just a few months at best, and more recent studies have suggested the drug might be less effective against cancer than the FDA believed when it was approved. It also has potentially lethal side effects that might speed up your ultimate demise.

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When the Treatment is Worse than the Disease...

Perhaps more importantly, most conventional cancer treatments tend to add insult to injury by doing more harm than good -- a fact that has been largely swept under the rug by the medical industry.

Meanwhile, the real culprits—the underlying causes—are completely ignored, and that is, I believe, the root of the problem. The cancer industry has become a massive for-profit business that is doing everything in its power to maintain the status quo. It is, quite simply, not interested in truly reducing cancer rates; it's interested in treating cancer. From that perspective, the more cancer cases the better...

This sordid reality has been well-documented in films such as Cut, Poison, Burn, and Burzynski: The Movie.

Getting to the Root of the Problem

Ignoring the fact that cancer is for the most part a disease triggered primarily by exposure to industrial toxins, the now well-trod path of the Cut-Poison-Burn model is taking us ever further AWAY from the solution. The pharmaceutical researchers would like you to believe they're doing everything they can to come up with a solution. Yet most of the cancer research is directed towards expensive drugs that target late stages of the disease and greatly enrich the drug companies but simply do not prevent cancer.

Clearly they're not digging close enough to the root of the problem, because if they did, they'd touch on some of the lifestyle issues I'll review below.

If ever there was an area in which an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure it is cancer. I firmly believe that if you're able to work your way up to the advanced health plan, that you will virtually eliminate the risk of most cancers.

From my perspective, you ignore lifestyle factors at your own peril, as environmental- and lifestyle factors are increasingly being pinpointed as the primary culprits fueling our cancer epidemic. An exhaustive list of contributing factors would be exceedingly long, but some of the more obvious ones are listed below. For more information about each, follow the hyperlinks provided, and for specifics on consumer products implicated as contributors to cancer, take a look at the Cancer Prevention Coalition's "Dirty Dozen" list.

Pesticide- and other chemical exposures

Processed and artificial foods (plus the chemicals in the packaging)

Wireless technologies, dirty electricity, and medical diagnostic radiation exposure

Pharmaceutical drugs

Obesity, stress, and poor sleeping habits

Lack of sunshine exposure and use of sunscreens

In the last 30 years the global cancer burden has doubled, and as predicted in the featured study, we're looking at further dramatic increases—unless people begin to take cancer prevention seriously. I believe we can turn this trend around, but to do so the medical community must stop overlooking the methods that can actually have a very real and significant impact.

Three cancer advancements in particular merit special mention, and I will summarize them below. These advancements have not yet been accepted by conventional medicine, and they must be.

Vitamin D Plays a Crucial Role in Cancer Development

There's overwhelming evidence indicating that vitamin D deficiency plays a crucial role in cancer development. Research has identified a number of vitamin D's protective mechanisms against cancer, including:

  • Regulating genetic expression
  • Increasing the self-destruction of mutated cells (which, if allowed to replicate, could lead to cancer)
  • Reducing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells
  • Causing cells to become differentiated (cancer cells often lack differentiation)
  • Reducing the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous

Researchers within this field have estimated that about 30 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented annually simply by optimizing the vitamin D levels in the general population. On a personal level, you can decrease your risk of cancer by MORE THAN HALF simply by optimizing your vitamin D levels with sun exposure. And if you are being treated for cancer it is likely that higher blood levels—probably around 70-100 ng/ml—would be beneficial.

If the notion that sun exposure actually prevents cancer is still new to you, I highly recommend you watch my one-hour vitamin D lecture to clear up any confusion. It's important to understand that the risk of skin cancer from the sun comes only from excessive exposure. Meanwhile, countless people around the world have an increased risk of cancer because their vitamin D levels are too low due to utter lack of sun exposure.

Why We Need to Re-Embrace Sun Exposure

I strongly recommend optimizing your vitamin D levels with appropriate amounts of sun exposure because when your skin is exposed to the sun, in addition to creating vitamin D3 it also synthesizes high amounts of vitamin D sulfate and cholesterol sulfate—both of which are very important for heart- and cardiovascular health. In fact, research by Dr. Stephanie Seneff suggests that heart disease may be a symptom of cholesterol sulfate deficiency, and healthy cholesterol and sulfur levels are both highly dependent on your vitamin D levels...

Vitamin D sulfate is a water soluble form of sulfur that can travel freely in your blood stream, making it readily available, while oral vitamin D3 is unsulfated, and therefore needs LDL (the so-called "bad" cholesterol) as a vehicle of transport. Dr. Seneff's suspicion is that the simple oral non-sulfated form of vitamin D may not provide as much of the same heart-healthy benefits as the vitamin D created in your skin from sun exposure, because it cannot be converted to vitamin D sulfate, and therefore will not improve your sulfur status.

Furthermore, sulfur deficiency also promotes obesity and related health problems like diabetes, so all in all, the importance of getting regular sun exposure simply cannot be overstated.

If you can't get enough sun exposure during certain parts of the year, I advise using a safe tanning bed to allow your body to produce vitamin D naturally. Safe tanning beds have electronic ballasts and produce less UVA than sunshine. 

A third option is taking a high-quality vitamin D supplement. According to the most recent findings by Carole Baggerly, founder of GrassrootsHealth, her research of nearly 10,000 people shows the ideal adult dose appears to be 8,000 IU's a day to get most into the healthy range. Just remember to get your vitamin D levels tested regularly if you take an oral supplement.

World's First Breast Cancer Prevention Study Underway!

While virtually all cancer organizations ignore cancer prevention, focusing primarily on early detection instead, Grassroots Health is now in the process of initiating the world's first breast cancer prevention project and study, to investigate and evaluate vitamin D as a preventive strategy for breast cancer.

If you would like to sign up as a participant in this groundbreaking study, or make a donation to support this project, you can do so here. This project is only for women who are:

  1. 60 years of age and older
  2. have no current cancer
  3. are not currently being treated for cancer

Your Insulin Levels have a Direct Bearing on Your Cancer Risk

The second cancer prevention strategy that everyone needs to be aware of is the importance of normalizing your insulin levels. Aside from optimizing your vitamin D levels, normalizing your insulin levels is one of the most powerful physical actions you can take to lower your risk of cancer. Unfortunately, very few oncologists appreciate or apply this knowledge today. The Cancer Centers of America is one of the few exceptions, where strict dietary measures are included in their cancer treatment program.

High levels of insulin can cause major damage to your body. The most recognized of these is diabetes, but cancer is another common side effect. The good news is that controlling your insulin levels is relatively straightforward:

  1. First and foremost, limit your intake of processed foods, grains and sugars/fructose as much as possible, and
  2. Exercise regularly especially Peak Fitness exercises

Exercise is Slowly Becoming More Recognized for its Cancer Prevention Potential

While exercise might not be at the top of most people's lists of cancer prevention or treatment strategies, there is actually compelling evidence suggesting that exercise can indeed slash your cancer risk and improve recovery.

For example, physically active adults experience about half the incidence of colon cancer as their sedentary counterparts, and women who exercise regularly can reduce their breast cancer risk by 20 to 30 percent compared to those who are inactive. Furthermore, Harvard Medical School researchers found that breast cancer patients who exercise moderately -- 3-5 hours a week -- reduce their odds of dying by about half as compared to sedentary women. In fact, any amount of weekly exercise increased a patient's odds of surviving breast cancer.

One of the primary ways exercise lowers your cancer risk is by reducing elevated insulin levels, which creates a low sugar environment that discourages the growth and spread of cancer cells. Additionally, exercise improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood, which is your first line of defense against all disease, including cancer.

The trick though is understanding how to use exercise as a precise tool. It can be helpful to view exercise like a drug that needs to be carefully prescribed to achieve its maximum benefit.

You'll want to include a large variety of techniques in your exercise routine, such as:

  • High-intensity, burst-type exercise, such as Sprint 8. (Sprint 8 are exercises performed three times a week, in which you raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold for 20 to 30 seconds, and then you recover for 90 seconds)
  • Strength training
  • Aerobics
  • Core-building activities
  • Stretching

Other Cancer-Prevention Strategies

Please understand that you can do a lot, right now, to significantly decrease your cancer risk. Even the conservative American Cancer Society states that one-third of cancer deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and carrying excess weight. So making the following healthy lifestyle changes can go a very long way toward ending the failure-streak and becoming one less statistic in this war against cancer:

  1. Focus on fresh, whole organic foods, forgoing as many processed foods as possible. Aim to consume at least one-third of your food raw. Only 25 percent of people eat enough vegetables, so by all means eat as many vegetables as you are comfortable with. Cruciferous vegetables in particular have been identified as having potent anti-cancer properties.
  2. When eating meat, make sure it's grass-fed. Avoid CAFO beef and ALL processed meats, which have been clearly linked to increased cancer risk.
  3. Get appropriate amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats.
  4. Have a tool to permanently erase the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed. My particular favorite tool for this purpose, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique.
  5. Maintain an ideal body weight. For my top 10 guidelines for normalizing your weight, please see this previous article.
  6. Get enough high-quality sleep.
  7. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, conventional personal care products, synthetic air fresheners and air pollution.
  8. Reduce your use of cell phones and other wireless technologies, and implement as many safety strategies as possible if/when you cannot avoid their use.
  9. Boil, poach or steam your foods, rather than frying or charbroiling them.