How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

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vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem CellsHow Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

Vitamin D is considered the pro-hormone that regulates the development of our immune system and nervous system and yet it is one of the largest nutritional deficiencies in the world. Approximately 90% of the world’s population struggle from vitamin D deficiency today. This health concern is a global epidemic. In fact, a leading authority on vitamin D research, Dr. Michael Holick predicts that vitamin D deficiency is the most common medical problem worldwide. (5)

People are spending an increased amount of time working indoors, kids are increasingly spending less time playing outside, skin cancer and government authorities have us lathering on sunscreen and a variety of influences contribute to the reduced consumption of vitamin D intake from food.

Vitamin D deficiency is harmful to health in any reduced levels and increases the risk of diseases including cancer and disorders such as osteoporosis. (1)

vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

Essential for Brain Health

Researchers have shown that the central nervous system contains vitamin D receptors. These receptors are also found in the hippocampus region of the brain which is responsible for both emotion and memory (2). It is critical that vitamin D binds to these receptors in order to regulate enzymes located in the cerebrospinal fluid and the brain in order to support:

  • Neurotransmitter production
  • Nerve growth
  • Synaptic density

Healthy vitamin D levels are required to protect nervous tissue against oxidative stress, modulates a normal immune response and is also involved in maintaining the homeostatic processes involving intracellular phosphorus and calcium concentration. It is especially critical to receive optimal vitamin D during neonatal development because its deficiency is linked to an increased risk for diseases of the central nervous system including multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia. (2, 3)

vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

Aids in Neurological Protection

Another epidemic health problem we face around the world today relates to the decline in cognitive function. This concern is evident in individuals with Parkinson disease, dementia and other neurological degenerative diseases.

One clinical study presented findings that people with low levels of the active form of vitamin D had reduced neuroprotection and loss of brain development. Adequate vitamin D levels are essential to optimal detoxification processes including support for promoting the antioxidant glutathione and also decreasing levels of nitric oxide in the brain and overall support for the survival of cells. (4)

Another study released in 2010 showed that people who have vitamin D deficiency were at an increased risk by 42% to have cognitive impairment. Those individuals who were classified as severely deficient in vitamin D were at an increased risk of 394% and more likely to present with symptoms of impaired cognitive function. A study analyzing the cognitive performance of more than 3,100 men throughout eight European countries found evidence that men with low vitamin D levels showed impaired thought processing speed (6). (4)

vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

Vitamin D and Cancer Stem Cells

Roughly 10,000 cancer cells are generated by the body every single day (7). One of the most common factors contributing to the ability for these cancer stem cells to proliferate and invade new tissue is D3 deficiency.  There are a variety of influences that have resulted in vitamin D being one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in our society today, which has only fueled the growth of cancer as the nemesis of our time.

Our society relies heavily upon pharmaceutical drugs, many of which can devastate the ability for vitamin D to successfully convert into its bioavailable form. This concern added to limited exercise, decreased time spent outdoors, high sugar consumption, poor nutrition lacking trace minerals and amino acids and chronic stress produces a favorable environment for cancer stem cells to thrive.

vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

Vitamin D Vital to GcMAF

Researchers propose that supplementing 20,000 IU of D3 daily may be a potent and safe therapy to limit systemic inflammation and inhibit the development of cancer (8). GcMAF is a powerful immune supporting protein that demands a steady supply of D3. GcMAF activity is essential to a healthy immune system and can also assist in the destruction of tumors entirely. (7)

In fact, healthy vitamin D levels are one of the most important nutrients that benefit a baby during a woman’s pregnancy. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with autoimmune problems and considering that cancer is a multifactorial disease, optimal vitamin D levels are not worth compromise during neonatal development. Throughout fetal development, D3 supplementation supports: (9)

  • Reduced inflammatory secretions by natural killer cells
  • Anatomical growth and development of fetus
  • Neuroprotection (protection of the central nervous system)
  • Neurogenesis (generation of new brain cells)
  • Neuroplasticity (cognitive function and emotional pathways)

GcMAF Protects You Against Cancer

Epidemiological studies support that people who are deficient in vitamin D have a higher risk for developing an immune-related condition like chronic infections, metabolic complications such as type 1 diabetes, and autoimmune diseases (3).

Receiving and maintaining a healthy dose of vitamin D daily supports the synthesis of GcMAF. This is a tremendous therapeutic strategy to prevent cancer cell growth from occurring in the prostate. Urokinase plasminogen activator (uPAR) is a receptor found in the prostate which is found to support tumor metastasis in its presence (10). Evidence shows that GcMAF inhibits the presence of this pro-cancer receptor and therefore inhibits cancerous activity.

GcMAF has also been shown in many studies to reduce concentrations of nagalase. Cancer cells produce the enzyme nagalase which promotes viral infections and suppresses activated macrophage activity from destroying infected cells.

Patients with high levels of nagalase include individuals with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), melanoma, as well as prostate, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancer. GcMAF stimulates the natural defense pathways of the immune system, reduces nagalase production and therefore supports healthy macrophage activity. (10)

vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

GcMAF Therapy Destroys Cancer

Neither physicians nor scientists alike completely understood the critical role and benefits that optimal vitamin D3 levels provide to human physiology and pathology until the past decade. There has been zero evidence suggesting any toxicity concerns for the use of D3 to modulate GcMAF activity and suppress cancer since research from 2007. What we know today is that vitamin D elevates GcMAF concentrations and provides the following anti-cancer mechanisms: (11)

  • Boost macrophage activity
  • Increase in lymphocytes to normal levels
  • Increases platelet and red blood cell count
  • Stimulate cancer cell apoptosis (“cell death”)
  • 25% Reduction in tumor size in less than 1 week

vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

Vitamin D and Colorectal Cancer

1,000,000 Participants were analyzed in one alone study that found an association between high calcitriol concentration and a low incidence of colorectal cancer. In other words, there is an inverse relationship between the concentration of vitamin D and the risk for colon and rectal cancer.

Data shows that for every 10 ng/ml decrease of vitamin D in a person’s blood, there is a significant increased risk of colorectal cancer to that individual. (12)

vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

Vitamin D and Prostate Cancer

The second most leading cause of cancer related deaths in North American men is prostate cancer. Radiation therapy is the primary treatment and many fail to respond to this conventional method. D3 is not only important in balancing the calcium balance in bones but it also shows anti-proliferative effects on cancer cells in glands such as the prostate. The use of calcitriol to both inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells but also their progression is validated in multiple studies. (11)

A full understanding of how vitamin D stops cancer is still lacking but shows promising evidence as a useful cancer treatment therapy. Researchers however do know that calcitriol inhibits cancerous cell growth, stimulates apoptosis, limits anti-apoptotic genes and their pathways that account for the quick proliferation and expression of prostate cancer cells.

vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

Vitamin D and Breast Cancer

Scientists have found that vitamin D pathways used to treat breast cancer cells results in a 100% decline in cancer cell activity following a quick 7 day incubation period. These in vitro studies suggest that D3 enables the ability of GcMAF to attack and eradicate human breast cancer cells.

Researchers believe that an interaction between amino acids allows GcMAF receptors to effectively bind and stimulate the invasion of macrophages around cancer cells. Such macrophages are then able to “eat” and eliminate breast cancer cells. (13)

Other evidence for alternative cancer therapy using the Swiss Protocol supports that D3 and GcMAF may be a powerful duo that removes a breast cancer activator oncogene known as Her-2 (7).

vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

Healthy Sun Exposure

Vitamin D3 production is reliant on adequate amounts of sun exposure to the body. Healthy amounts of ultraviolet rays induce a stress response in the skin’s layers which converts the molecule called 7-dehydrocholesterol into the active D3 form which is readily available to the body. Calcitriol is active vitamin D that acts more like a hormone than a vitamin. In fact scientists debate that calcitriol is the most powerful hormone in the human body. It is responsible for activating more than 1,000 genes which is approximately 5% of the human genome (1).

Depending on the portion of body parts exposed, the color of your skin and the strength of the UV rays, the duration of sunlight that you should allow your skin to receive is different. People should ideally seek to receive 10,000 to 20,000 IU of D3 from sun exposure assuming 60% of the body is exposed to the sun.

Intentionally sun bath no less than 3 times per week according to the following recommendations based on your skin color.

  • Light skin = 15-20 minutes daily
  • Medium Skin = 25-30 minutes daily
  • Dark Skin = 40-45 minutes daily

Preventing carcinogenic activity in your skin before and after sun exposure is vital. Use moisturizers like coconut oil, aloe vera and green tea extract containing antioxidants.

vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

Recommendations for Supplementation

Consider adding a D3 supplement to your daily regimen if you are unable to receive the recommended sun exposure. The supplement should contain 5,000 to 10,000 IU of vitamin D3.

Practitioners generally recommend a dose of 1,000 to 2,000 IU vitamin D3 for every 25lbs of body weight. In order to prevent and slow cancer cell growth, the preferred range for vitamin D3 levels is between 70-100 ng/ml.

If you want to work with a functional health coach, I recommend this article with tips on how to find a great coach. Our website offers long-distance functional health coaching programs with our world-class team of health coaches. For further support with your health and other goals, just reach out—our fantastic coaches are here to support your journey.

vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

Sources for this Article Include:

1. Tulane University: Genetic and epigenetic studies on Vitamin D Link Here
2. Wrzosek M, Łukaszkiewicz J, Wrzosek M, Jakubczyk A, Matsumoto H, Piątkiewicz P, Radziwoń-Zaleska M, Wojnar M, Nowicka G. Vitamin D and the central nervous system. Pharmacol Rep. 2013; 65 (2):271-8. PMID: 23744412
3. Baeke F, Takiishi T, Korf H, Gysemans C, Mathieu C. Vitamin D: modulator of the immune system. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2010 Aug;10(4):482-96. PMID: 20427238
4. Llewellyn DJ, et al. Vitamin D and Risk of Cognitive Decline in Elderly Persons. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2010 Jul; 170(13): 1135-1141. DOI: 1001/archinternmed.2010.173
5. Holick MF. Vitamin D Deficiency. New Eng J Med. 2007; 357: 266-281. DOI: 1056/NEJMra070553
6. The University of Manchester: Vitamin D may lessen age-related cognitive decline Link Here
7. FIRST iMMUNE Link Here
8. How GcMAF works Link Here
9. Siniscalco, et al. The in vitro GcMAF effects onendocannabinoid system transcriptionomics, receptor formation, and cell activity of autism-derived macrophages. J Neuroinflammation. 2014 Apr; 11:78. PMCID: PMC3996516
10. Gregory KJ, et al. Vitamin D binding protein-macrophage activating factor directly inhibits proliferation, migration, and uPAR expression of prostate cancer cells. PLoS One. 2010 Oct; 5(10):e13428. PMID: 20976141
11. Moreno J, Krishnan AV, Feldman D. Molecular mechanisms mediating the antiproliferative effects of vitamin D in prostate cancer. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology2005; 97(1–2):31–36. Link Here
12. Ma Y, Zhang P, Wang F, et al. Association between vitamin D and risk of colorectal cancer: a systematic review of prospective studies. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2011;29(28):3775-3782. PMID: 21876081
13. Thyer, et al. A Novel Role for a Major Component of the Vitamin D Axis: Vitamin D Binding Protein-Derived Macrophage Activating Factor Induces Human Breast Cancer Cell Apoptosis through Stimulation of Macrophages. Nutrients. 2013 Jul; 5(7):2577-2589. PMCID: 3738989

vitamin d, How Vitamin D Stops Cancer Stem Cells

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Dr. Jockers

Dr David Jockers is passionate about seeing people reach their health potential in mind, body and spirit. He is the host of the popular “Dr Jockers Functional Nutrition” podcast and the author of the best-selling books, “The Keto Metabolic Breakthrough” and “The Fasting Transformation.”


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  1. Dr. Jockers, this is one of the best articles on vitamin D I have seen, and I have seen a lot. As important and authoritative as it is, I have a serious problem with the first sentence. I agree with the 90% but 1 billion screams of faulty math. I am sorry to say that making an error of this nature is a distraction that undermines the message that everyone needs to know. If you remove the words within the parenthesis the problem vanishes. The world needs to know the benefits of vitamin D, target blood level, and recommended daily dosage, and I hope this article sparks people into action.

  2. Does fermented cod liver oil/high vitamin butter oil from Green Pasture give you sufficient D3? Or in what amounts would it give you sufficient Vitamin D3? Great article!

    1. Hey Sheree that’s a good question! They actually admit that they don’t have any process by which they standardize their oil to contain certain amounts of vitamin D. This means that each batch can have a different amount so they don’t really measure how much there is per serving. Although it is a great source of fat-soluble vitamins, supplementation with a high quality D3/K2 complex is the best way to ensure proper dosing.


  3. Hello Dr.

    This is a great article.
    The importance of vitamin D is indisputable.
    Its benefits are innumerable
    And every day we know more

  4. Great article, just need to correct (flip) the arrow sign on the “Excess” vit D blood level. Should be >100ng/dl. Also, everyone needs to understand the importance of taking K2 if supplementing D3 otherwise the increased calcium absorbed from D3 ends up in the soft tissues like arteries instead of the bones. We used D3 as ONE part of my mothers colorectal cancer treatment and got her level to just over 100 ng/dl. She has been 5 years cancer free.

  5. I have prostate cancer Gleason 7 3+4 with extra capsular extension. What can I do to help reduce this cancer and will I need to treat it before trying anything to get it gone? Thank you?

  6. Great article!!! What do you recommend people have SNPs- VDR taking vitamin D causes palpitations? My friend’s vitamin D Level is 6. Yes, only 6. He is 26 years old living in Boston. He moved from India. Thank you.

  7. Hello Dr. J, I get sun regurlay when the weather is nice, but what are some heathy options for the winter months for those of us in the north? I see the D3 supplement but wondered if there were any other options? Tanning beds seem too unnatural and harsh.
    -PS, 3 day weekends every other week to south FL would be fantastic but aren’t I the budget 😉

      1. Dr. Jockers
        Can you please recommend a GcMAF supplement, or do you have a product that you make that has this supplement? I had breast cancer 6 years ago. I had my vit D levels checked and I am borderline low. I would appreciate your recommendations.
        Thank you,
        Thank you,

  8. I have been on Vit D3, at 30,000 a day, for 5 years or more, by Doc’s orders, with blood numbers over 50 then now over 63; along with bio-identical hormones; DHEA; melatonin at 20mg; lots of nutrients, berberine, alpha lopic acid, zinc, selenium, and many more; I am almost 70, last year diagnosed with breast cancer; est and proges/ positive; Her2 neg; had a mastectomy; had not metastasized; Mamma print test showed 3% recurrence factor; slow grower, would not respond to chemo; refused radiation and hormone drugs; bone test shows very strong bones; I also use a product line that has no chemicals; drink filtered water; try to eat organics; clean meat; Liquid biopsy tests now show cancer free. I have added many new nutrients to help prevent recurrence. It’s just amazing to try to do all the right things, and still end up facing cancer.

    1. Sorry to hear this BJ! Yes although the evidence is clear that vitamin D is a big factor, there are many factors associated with cancer including chronic infections, high toxin load, radiation stress and emotional stressors that are harder to account for. Praying for you and your future health!

  9. How one can detect the deficiency of vitamin D in his body ? Is there any specimen lab test for vitamin D Check ? Please if you can guide

      1. Simply checking the urine and saliva pH two hours after a main meal can confirm a deficiency of vitamin D. This is shown when the pH if either or both urine and saliva are acidic or below 6.0 on a pH paper or pH meter. The test should be done daily at the same time for 5 days and then averaged.
        Cheers Warren

  10. Your comments on Vitamin D are very much appreciated. However you are not mentioning Vitamin K2. It is my understanding that especially when using large doses of Vitamin D3 there will be Calcium deposits not only at the bones but also coronary heart vessels. In order to direct the Ca deposit to the target tissue Vitamin K2 is required.

    The question is “how many micrograms of K2 per day”? What is the upper limit to avoid blood clots?

  11. Hello and thank you for the invaluable information provided here! My question is in regards to an individual getting plenty of sun exposure but still testing low for vitamin D. What could this be caused from? My father spends up to 5 hours in the beach most days and still has low vitamin D levels on his last lab. Although he wears sunscreen for this long span of time, he also spends up to an hour without sunscreen most days. Thank you!

    1. Yes this is called vitamin D resistance and can be related to genetic issues in the vitamin D receptor as well as liver issues. We will be putting out a future article on this topic.

  12. Are are there better brands and forms to take? I am a natural health practitioner and am not sold on pill forms of vitamin D. Can you suggest brands you would give to your family?

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