Study finds link between low Vitamin D and heart disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality

A vast review of studies on Vitamin D has concluded that people with low levels of the vitamin had a 35 percent increased risk of death from heart disease, a 14 percent higher risk of death from cancer, and a greater risk of death from all causes as well.

The authors of this review, who came from a wide range of European and US universities, also looked at the usefulness of supplements, and found that there was no benefit from taking Vitamin D2. However, when they studied middle-aged and older adults who took Vitamin D3, they found an 11% reduction in risk of death from all causes. They also estimated that up to two-thirds of the people in Europe and the US are deficient in Vitamin D, and they calculated that about 13% of all deaths in the US, and about 9% of all deaths in Europe, are linked to low Vitamin D levels.

NYBC’s comment: This review suggests that it is crucial to supplement with Vitamin D3—-which is the type of Vitamin D stocked by NYBC. Older forms of supplementation, such as Vitamin D2-fortified milk, may not have benefit, according to this research. Secondly, though some have argued that low Vitamin D may simply be a side effect of disease processes that can’t be reversed by supplementing, we believe that this study also offers evidence that, especially when people are known to be deficient in Vitamin D (as is often the case in older populations, or among HIV+ people), supplementing with D3 has the potential to reduce disease risks, and indeed may reduce the overall risk of mortality.

See NYBC’s catalog for more detailed recommendations on Vitamin D3 supplementation:

Vitamins and Minerals – NYBC Catalog

Reference:

Chowdhury, R et al. Vitamin D and risk of cause specific death: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational cohort and randomised intervention studies. BMJ April 2014; 348 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g1903

The latest on Vitamin K2: a new therapeutic agent for rheumatoid arthritis and for prostate cancer?

Vitamin K2, which is best known for its role in supporting bone health and its potential for countering osteoporosis, has also been investigated recently for other health benefits. A 2013 study reported that Vitamin K2 significantly decreased disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. And other research, also published in 2013, found evidence that Vitamin K2 is active in suppressing various types of prostate cancer cells. The authors of this study conclude that Vitamin K2 “may be a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of prostate cancer.”

For further information about Vitamin K2, see the NYBC catalog entries for the Bone Up, Bone Up Ultra, and Vitamin K supplements (all from Jarrow):

Bone and Joint Supplements

References:

Ebina, K, et al. Vitamin K2 administration is associated with decreased disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Mod Rheumatol. 2013 Sep;23(5):1001-7. doi: 10.1007/s10165-012-0789-4.

Samykutty, A, et al. Vitamin k2, a naturally occurring menaquinone, exerts therapeutic effects on both hormone-dependent and hormone-independent prostate cancer cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:287358. doi: 10.1155/2013/287358.

A Resource for NYBC Members and Friends: The National LGBT Cancer Network

Memo to: All Members and Friends of the New York Buyers’ Club

We recently had a conversation with Liz Margolies, the Executive Director of the National LGBT Cancer Network, and would like to recommend the organization as a great source of information for the LGBT community on the subject of cancer. Here’s a part of their mission statement, which is posted on their website at http://www.cancer-network.org/:

The National LGBT Cancer Network’s mission is to improve the lives of LGBT people with cancer and those at risk. We educate the LGBT community, train healthcare providers and advocate for LGBT inclusion in national cancer organizations, research and the media.

–Did you know that LGBT people are at higher risk for cancer?
Learn more about the LGBT community’s disproportionate cancer burden.

–Are you a healthcare provider?
We have a program to train healthcare professionals in LGBT cultural competence.

–Do you want to learn about your own cancer risk?
Create a personalized cancer risk assessment.

–Do you want to work to lower LGBT cancer health disparities?
Learn about becoming a local Network Hub.

Resveratrol: more evidence of its potential benefits

Resveratrol, found in red wine and now widely used as a supplement, is back in the news this month. A research report in the highly respected journal Science identifies the precise mechanism by which resveratrol regulates sirtuins, proteins in the body which have been linked to the prevention of many age-related diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Type-2 diabetes.

This finding adds further support to the idea that resveratrol or a derivative of resveratrol might represent a breakthrough treatment for some of the major disease threats faced by humans as they age.

We first read about the new research in our hometown paper, The New York Times, but the story has been widely reported. (See reference to the article in Science below.)

NYBC stocks Resveratrol and Resveratrol Synergy from Jarrow. Of course we’d welcome any reports from our members about their use of these products.

Reference: Hubbard, et al. Evidence for a common mechanism of SIRT1 regulation by allosteric activators. Science, March 8, 2013.

Placing a Bet on Vitamin D: Jane Brody in the New York Times

The “Well” Blog in our hometown newspaper, The New York Times, frequently deals with nutritional supplements, and sometimes expresses a bit more skepticism about their value than we believe is merited. So we were interested to see this post by author Jane Brody, which gives a rather sympathetic profile of a doctor and public health specialist who is “placing a bet on Vitamin D”:

…Dr. Kevin A. Fiscella, a public health specialist and family physician at the University of Rochester, has decided to take 1,000 international units of vitamin D each day, based on data from his studies linking racial disparities in vitamin D levels to disease risk and his belief that “it can’t hurt and it may help.”

In an interview, Dr. Fiscella emphasized that his findings strongly suggest, but do not prove, that vitamin D deficiencies cause or contribute to diseases like colorectal cancer, high blood pressure and kidney and heart disease, which affect black Americans at higher rates than whites. The findings are bolstered by known biological effects of vitamin D and by the fact that widespread vitamin D deficiencies occur among blacks living in the Northern Hemisphere.

Read the full blog entry at
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/12/reasons-to-place-a-bet-on-vitamin-d/?hp

For more on Vitamin D dosage recommendations, see NYBC’s entries for this very inexpensive supplement:

Vitamin D – 1000IU (Jarrow)

Vitamin D – 2500IU (Jarrow)

Lower Vitamin D level associated with larger breast cancer tumor size, greater likelihood of relapse

An international symposium on breast cancer at the end of 2011 featured a presentation from researchers who looked at the Vitamin D levels of women at the time they were diagnosed with breast cancer. The main finding: women with higher levels of D at diagnosis had significantly smaller tumors. Additional analysis of the follow-up data in this study showed that there was some relationship (termed of “borderline significance”) between higher levels of Vitamin D and lower risk of death from breast cancer. Furthermore, researchers detected a significant relationship between Vitamin D deficiency and risk of breast cancer relapse over a three year period.

The researchers suggested that Vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory effects might be the main mechanism by which Vitamin D levels influence breast cancer tumor size. The scientists presenting this research also called for further study to establish a clear cause-and-effect relationship between Vitamin D supplementation and breast cancer prevention. They also urged more research to determine the usefulness of Vitamin D supplementation as an additional therapy to bolster standard breast cancer treatments.

We accessed information about this presentation at the Dec. 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium at
http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/SABCS/30191

For more on Vitamin D dosage recommendations, see NYBC’s entries for this very inexpensive supplement:

Vitamin D – 1000IU (Jarrow)

Vitamin D – 2500IU (Jarrow)

Follow-up on folate and cancer risk

We’ve had a recent comment on our own post regarding the importance of B12 and folate supplementation for people with HIV. The comment expressed concern about some reports that folate may be associated with increased cancer risk. Here’s a reply to that comment:

We recommend this web page for a recent study of folate and REDUCED colorectal cancer risk:

http://www.michaelmooney.net/FolateReducesCancerWillet.html

The 2011 article cited, by a well-known nutrition scientist, finds folate from diet and folate from supplements both associated with reduced colorectal cancer incidence–when taken over a long period (we’re talking about 15-20-30 years). This fits with what is generally understood about the value of vegetables in reducing cancer risk. Not surprising to us is the other finding of the study: that short-term folate intake, around the time of the development of pre-cancers, is not going to help reduce cancer incidence! Indeed, many supplements do not necessarily produce pronounced short-term effects, but rather show health benefits over the long term.