How 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)
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)
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 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 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)
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 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 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 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).
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.
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.
I recommend taking a vitamin D3 that also contains Vitamin K2 for the reasons you can read about here