Sounds like we’ve gone too far in the stay out of the sun warnings.

Vitamin D casts cancer prevention in new light

For decades, researchers have puzzled over why rich northern countries have cancer rates many times higher than those in developing countries — and many have laid the blame on dangerous pollutants spewed out by industry.

But research into vitamin D is suggesting both a plausible answer to this medical puzzle and a heretical notion: that cancers and other disorders in rich countries aren’t caused mainly by pollutants but by a vitamin deficiency known to be less acute or even non-existent in poor nations.

Those trying to brand contaminants as the key factor behind cancer in the West are “looking for a bogeyman that doesn’t exist,” argues Reinhold Vieth, professor at the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto and one of the world’s top vitamin D experts. Instead, he says, the critical factor “is more likely a lack of vitamin D.”
A four-year clinical trial involving 1,200 women found those taking the vitamin had about a 60-per-cent reduction in cancer incidence, compared with those who didn’t take it, a drop so large — twice the impact on cancer attributed to smoking — it almost looks like a typographical error.

And in an era of pricey medical advances, the reduction seems even more remarkable because it was achieved with an over-the-counter supplement costing pennies a day.

  1. Misanthropic Scott says:

    Vitamin D is all well and good. But, let’s not forget melanoma.

  2. TheGlobalWarmer says:

    A few cold beers, a lawn chair and some lotion. Tanning time is some of the finest time spent in life.

  3. Chris says:

    As someone with melanoma, it is true that sun exposure is a ‘no-no’. However, moderate sun exposure with proper sunscreen is recommended. There is a sunscreen approved by the FDA for use by melanoma patients and survivors. Common sense is the key here. Sun worshipping is a thing of the past, but the medical field does not recommend hybernation.

  4. BubbaRay says:

    Wow. Maybe solar astrophysics / astronomy is good for you !! Who knew?

  5. Billabong says:

    Golly fresh air sunshine are good for you.

  6. hhopper says:

    Sunshine in moderation is fine. Too much sunshine definitely causes skin cancer.

  7. Angel H. Wong says:

    That explains why so many old white men spend their retirement days in Costa Rica.

  8. Marc Sorenson says:

    In 1938, Dr. Sigismund Peller conducted cancer research on Navy personnel who either worked on the decks in the sunlight or worked below deck away from the sun. He found that those who worked in the sunlight had more common skin cancers, but that their rate of the deadly internal cancers such as prostate and colon cancers was reduced by 60% when compared with the “sunless” group. Extrapolating to today’s figures on cancer deaths from the major internal cancers, it can be seen that regular sunlight exposure and its corollary, vitamin D, might save over 300,000 lives per year. Dr. Heaney’s soon-to-be-published research will corroborate Peller’s findings from yesteryear.

    The most complete and comprehensive book currently available on the health benefits of sunlight and vitamin D is SOLAR POWER FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH.

    By the way, the dramatic increase in melanoma incidence parallels the dramatic increase in the use of sunscreens. Sunscreen use is one of the biggest frauds ever perpetrated on the public.

  9. TJGeezer says:

    Sorta related – they just forced aggressive melanoma to revert to “normal-like” skin cells (whatever that means) by manipulating an analog of stem cell expression messengers. That sounds like Star Trek bafflegab, but there’s a good account of it at:

    Causing extremely aggressive melanoma cells to revert to “normal-like” skin cells is actually pretty exciting. It seems like something that would have implications for other kinds of cancers, too. That idea is suggested in a blog entry at

    There is a startling variety of cell types in the human body. But each cell type possesses essentially the same DNA as all other cell types. Differentiation of cells dictates which genes can be expressed. De-differentiation turns back the clock. From cancer to normal cells. From normal cells to stem cells.

    Learning to manipulate those processes? That’s exciting.

  10. tallwookie says:

    We have a higher rate of cancer because we hire mexicans to work in the sun for us.

  11. The amount of vitamin D to protect against cancer, 2000 IU’s in the study, can be obtained in ten to fifteen minutes of sensible sun exposure, preferably before 10 AM or after 4 PM. It is true that vitamin D deficieny is concerning. It is estimated that 24,000 people die in the U.S. each year due to lack of sun exposure (presumably secondary to vitamin D deficiency). This is more than twice the number that die from skin cancer. Still, a small amount of sun exposure at a sensible time of day can provide the vitamin D benefit, without major melanoma risk.

    Lynne Eldridge M.D.
    Author, “Avoiding Cancer One Day At A TIme”

  12. noname says:

    I am not convinced. Milk is Vitamin D fortified.

    “researchers have puzzled over why rich northern countries have cancer rates many times higher than those in developing countries”

    Could it be people in developing countries die before developing cancer? Or maybe people in developed countries have been exposed to mutagenic pollutants for more generations?

    Let see, let’s compare Africa to the Eskimo or maybe ICELANDERS ….
    Are all countries along the equator, developing countries? Do people in Phoenix Az have less cancer then people living in Maine or Alaska, and what about Hawaii?

    Either DumbAss researchers or DumbAss reporting!!


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