Vitamin D deficiency is common in the UK especially over the darker months. The amount of vitamin D halves every 6 weeks which means that by mid-November we have half the amount in our bodies since the summer – assuming we get no sunshine on our skin. By end of December there’s only a quarter left – so most of us or deficient by them.
Consequence of low vitamin D
Numerous studies have linked suboptimal levels of vitamin D with a low mood, fatigue, brain fog, lack enthusiasm and depression and a higher risk of many chronic disease including rickets in children, osteoporosis, arthritis and dementia...read more about the benefits of vitamin D
In terms of prostate cancer, a summary of all the best published studies concluded that there was a 10% increased risk of death from prostate cancer for every 20 nmol/L increment below normal. Men with prostate cancer managed with active surveillance, had a reduction in the number of prostate cores positive for cancer on repeat biopsy after given Vitamin D3 pills..
After a diagnosis of breast cancer several large studies have linked lower vitamin D levels with a higher risk of relapse after primary treatments. Patients with bowel cancer with adequate vitamin D have been found to have a better response to cancer treatments than those with deficient levels.
Why vitamin D deficiency is linked to cancer (Underlying mechanism)
In addition to its vital role in calcium pathways, vitamin D helps to dampen excess chronic inflammatory. Excess chronic inflammation causes cells to divide faster (hypertrophy) – causing oxidative stress and increased number of mutations which then leads to cancer. For prostate cancer, Vitamin D also has a hormonal effect, inhibiting grow of hormone sensitive cancer cells. Likewise, it has been shown prevent blood vessels growing into and feeding the cancers. More recently, vitamin D has also been found to be an important factor in helping to maintain the healthy bacteria in our guts.
Better gut health reduces inflammation, improves immunity and gut wall integrity. A more robust gut prevents nutrients leaking from the body and toxins leaking into the body. These toxins, in someone with a leaky gut, cause a chronic inflammatory reaction in the rest of the body. The chemicals associate with excess inflammation then collaterally damage tissues such as joints, skin and brain leading degenerative diseases over time. This process also uses up our vital immune defences making us more vulnerable to infection (including covid) as well as reducing the ability to mop up rogue cells with mutations which then go on to form cancers.
Why combining vitamin D with probiotics is so important
Vitamin D increases as a result of skin exposure to sunlight and to a lesser extent dietary intake of some foods such as fish, eggs, sun dried mushrooms (read more about how to increase vitamin D levels).
The role of the gut microbiome (bacteria) is now increasingly being recognised as vital for of Vitamin D absorption. People with poor gut health absorb vitamin D badly, even if they take very high doses. This is one reason why those more likely to have dysbiosis (too many bad bacteria in their guts) such as the elderly, those on medications for indigestion and people who are sedentary or overweight struggle to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.
Fortunately several, well conducted trials have shown that vitamin D supplements which are combined with probiotics and prebiotics such as inulin have a much higher probability of improving serum vitamin levels. This is why Yourgutplus+ was chosen by the scientific committee for the latest long covid intervention study, is being used in the ongoing covid vaccine enhancement study and will be used next prostate cancer study.
More information resources
- Lifestyle tips to maintain gut health
- Lifestyle tips to maintain vitamin D
- 20 lifestyle tips to avoid cancer
- Results of the national covid nutritional intervention study
- Yourgutplus+ and the study evaluating the potential for reducing risks improving benefits following covid vaccination
- Why phytochemical aslo improve gut health
- The national Phyto-v long covid study
- Grant et al Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths Nutrients. 2020 Apr 2;12(4). pii: E988. doi: 10.3390/nu12040988.
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- Lapppe et al . A RCT of vt-D versus placebo to prevent cancer. JAMA, 2017; 317 (12), 1234.8.
- Jones ML, . Oral lactobacillus probiotics increases circulating vitamin D: a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013;98:2944–2951. doi: 10.1210/jc.2012-4262. [PubMed]
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