A recent study by JAMA claims that vitamin D3 and calcium supplementation do not significantly lower the risk of cancer after extended use. But read the fine print carefully! The study floods you with a lot of numbers and technical mumbo-jumbo that’s little more than fake science, hoping you gloss over the parts you don’t understand. However, a closer look at the study reveals that these “scientists” gave participants a lower dose of vitamin D3 than what is typically recommended. They also provided a cheap source of calcium that isn’t readily bioavailable to the body. After testing more than 2,000 postmenopausal women, they had the gall to conclude that vitamin D has no statistically-impressive effects in terms of reducing the risk of cancer.
The study divided the participants into two groups. One took a placebo pill, the other received 2,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 and 1,500 mg/d of calcium. Over the course of four years, researchers recorded all incidences of cancer (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers). It was found that around four percent of the supplement group developed a form of cancer compared to around six percent in the placebo group. That’s roughly a relative 50% increase in cancer risk among those who did not receive the vitamin D.
How much vitamin D do I really need?
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) suggests an average daily intake of 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D a day. However, they are quick to point out that this is only for those who receive adequate amounts of sunlight. Those who are not exposed to sunlight would need higher doses of vitamin D. In reality, wellness experts say that a dose of 8,000 to 10, 000 IU a day of the vitamin is needed — especially for people who stay indoors a lot.
Statistics on the number of people suffering from a vitamin D deficiency are conflicting. It is estimated, however, that around 42 percent of U.S. adults are vitamin D deficient, with the highest rates found among African Americans and Hispanics.
Sunlight is the main source of the vitamin. Your skin naturally synthesizes the fat-soluble vitamin when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is then processed by your liver and sends it through the body. Every cell has a receptor for vitamin D. The vitamin is responsible for several processes and is necessary for a healthy immune system and strong bones. Two forms of the vitamin can be found in one’s diet. Vitamin D2 found in mushrooms and vitamin D3 which is found in oily fish and eggs. Of the two, vitamin D3 is more potent, raising blood levels of vitamin D almost twice as much as D2. (RELATED: Top 5 reasons the USA Medical Industrial Complex does NOT want you to understand the importance of Vitamin D.)
What about the calcium used?
The study used calcium supplements comprised of calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is common because it is inexpensive and convenient. Nevertheless, calcium carbonate is not readily absorbed by the body. It depends on stomach acid for absorption. This is why people who take calcium supplements are told to eat a full meal before taking the supplement. Failure to do so can lead to serious gastrointestinal issues. Taken properly or not, calcium carbonate has also been linked to several other side-effects such as bloating, constipation, or a combination of the two.
More importantly: Calcium carbonate does not provide the adequate amount of calcium needed for the body to perform properly. Doctors recommend sourcing the mineral instead through a healthy diet.
Take note that the body needs vitamin D for calcium to be absorbed. Lacking in the former would affect levels of the latter. So, let’s take a look at that study again. Participants were given a low dose of vitamin D which could affect the way their bodies absorbed the calcium — of which they were given a cheap form of. Is it any surprise then that the study showed negative results?