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Does Vitamin D Supplementation Prevent Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

vitamin d supplements disease prevention

Story at-a-glance -

  • Recent research claims “high dose” vitamin D supplementation did not result in a lower incidence of cancer or cardiovascular events than placebo
  • The “high dose” given in this trial was a mere 2,000 international units (IUs) a day, which is still only a quarter or less of what many need to raise their blood level into a protective range
  • The study did not test and track participants’ vitamin D blood levels, which is the only way to ensure sufficiency and adherence to the protocol
  • Cancer is a slow-growing disease and effects of nutritional intervention typically only become evident after several years. When the first two years of follow-up data were excluded, people who took 2,000 IUs of vitamin D3 per day had a 25 percent lower risk of cancer in the years following (years three through five)
  • Many need upward of 10,000 IUs a day in order to achieve a blood level of 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L) or higher, which is the bottom cutoff for health and disease prevention. Ideally, you’ll want a level between 60 and 80 ng/mL (150 and 200 nmol/L)

The effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation has again been questioned with negative headlines trumpeting its failure to prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease. What most researchers and journalists fail to address, however, is the fact that:

Based on those two factors alone, a negative result is precisely what one would predict. Still, despite such limitations, the study actually found some rather remarkable benefits that were simply glossed over.


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