June 09, 2007

Vitamin D and Cancer Prevention; Also, Important Instructions!

So another study is out suggesting that Vitamin D may reduce the risk of cancer. New research found that "vitamin D cut the risk of several types of cancer by 60 percent overall for older women."

The study was small and was really supposed to be more about bone health. And one Skeptical Guy said: "I don't think it's the last word." (Okay, so Skeptical Guy was a nutrition and cancer researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health. Whatever.)

But apparently there were some cool methodological aspects of the research which managed to get Other Less Skeptical Scientists pretty excited. (Crabby won't go into these here, because she doesn't want to start getting a reputation for scientific rigor or thoroughness. But go ahead and click on the link if you want to know more).

If fact, Cedric Garland got so excited he declared the findings "a breakthrough of great medical and public health importance!" Who is Cedric Garland? "A prominent vitamin D researcher at the University of California San Diego."

Crabby must pause for a moment at this juncture to note that this would be a great answer to that tiresome cocktail party inquiry: "And so what is it you do?"

"I'm a prominent Vitamin D researcher at the University of California San Diego!" Cedric might exclaim, turning down a proffered martini in favor of a big glass of milk.

(Or perhaps not. Crabby feels especially entitled to tease UCSD researchers because UCSD is her alma mater. Or one of them, anyway. And she wants to know: is there still a fountain in the plaza of Revelle College into which undergraduates are thrown on their birthdays?)


Vitamin D is the one you get from the sun, but watch out for skin cancer. It's also found in foods, like salmon, tuna and fortified milk. But apparently many people in the U.S. don't get enough from diet and sun exposure.

How about supplementation? As usual, the experts can't seem to agree on whether to take supplements or how much to take. Some support raising the guideline from the 200-600 range it is now to 1000 units a day. On the other hand, a guy at the American Cancer Society warns that more than 2,000 units may be dangerous.

You scientists duke it out. Crabby, having heard rumors of Vitamin D's anti-cancer potential, takes a pill with an extra 400 units. She's also heard there may be some association between vitamin D deficiency and MS, but she'll save that for a future post because she doesn't feel like looking it up at the moment.

And now for the promised Important Instructions.

Have any of you wandered here from some other site, thought there was something you might want to say, (like Hi Crabby, luv ur blog! or whatever) but couldn't quite figure out how to do it? It's not all that obvious.

Fortunately, our good friend Katieo at Sister Skinny has carefully explained the whole process. Go there, read this post, notice that the Sisters have a great blog going on, bookmark the commenting instructions, (and this is the important part) race back here to practice your new-found commenting skill! And then go back to Sister Skinny, of course, and practice a whole bunch more.

Thanks Katie!


  1. Hey crabby - I'm confused by the title, shouldn't that be vitamin D? I've been convinced about vitamin D supplementation for a while, possibly because of living up in the dark and cloudy north. Recently I've had several clients who've had their D levels tested and have had either very low levels or none detected. From what I've read, the D should be in D3 form. I take the 1000 iu capsules and double the dosage in the winter.

  2. LOL.

    Hi Crabby! Luv ur blog!

    Vitamin D, eh? When I hear about things like this I always think, "good thing my mom trained me to take my Flintstones every day, then." (I take grown-up vitamins now... but sometimes I wish they made Flintstones vitamins for adults. :D)

  3. Hi Crabby! Luv ur blog too! =D especially since you're a UCSD grad. I work at UCSD, but far from the Revelle fountain outside of Galbraith Hall. I'm closer to the UFOesque library, now named for Dr. Seuss (if you graduated within the last ten years, then you knew this... I've been here for awhile.)

    There's some research that indicates that dietary calcium increases the risk of prostate cancer - the uglier kind, in fact. There's a theory about why this is the case, too: it reduces the amount of calcitriol your kidneys produce. And... there's evidence that calcitriol reduces the likelihood of a cancer metastatising. So, I agree with the Skeptical Guy even though my UCSD colleague is jazzed.

  4. Sweet Tart,
    Arrghhh! Thank you so much! I changed the post title, but I can't change the URL and it will be forever wrong. Duh.

    And thanks so much for the info--I'll have to find out more about D3 thing.

    Hi Chicken Girl! Luv ur blog 2!
    My mom didn't buy us Flinstones but a friend gave me one once and they weren't nearly as tasty as St. Josephs chewable aspirin. I loved me those St. Josephs and was almost happy to have a headache because they were just like orangey candy.

    Hi Quito!
    Back when I went to UCSD it was called "Central Library," which we always thought was funny because it was on the edge of campus. Not so funny anymore I guess. And I hear Third and Fourth colleges even have names now! (Just to totally date myself.)

    I find myself quite confused about the issue of suppementation generally, as each new study seems to swing a different direction. Calcium seemed like such a good idea, and now Bad Things are starting to show up. Thanks for the info, and please feel free to show up and elevate the discussion here anytime!

  5. Not quite off topic (because you did mention it) but hovering dangerously close - I thought that was a good idea to provide info on posting. I think I might do the same as I'm sure most of the people I mention that I have a blog to, have no idea what a blog is, let alone what they would do if they found their way there.

    There's no race for me to get this info out because these people hide their confusion by letting my words wash pass them and don't visit!

    Although plenty of New Zealanders do blog it is not like in the States and I'm finding many people have never heard of it. Talk about an uphill battle!

    Oh, yeah, love Vitamin D!

  6. Hi Dawn!

    There is no such thing as "off topic" here at Cranky Fitness!

    And the part about commenting instructions is even sort of in the title, so you're right on point.

    Anyway, even in the States blogging is kind of obscure to a lot of people, even those who are otherwise web savvy.

    When I mention the blog (which I've mostly learned to stop doing) I often get a blank stare. Or something like "oh yeah, I've heard of blogs but..." ("why on earth would you have one or visit one," is the unspoken end of that sentence).

    But I imagine in New Zealand it must be even more of a struggle!

  7. Crabby
    1) luv r blog 4 ever
    3) Thanks for the link!
    2) We are having major technical difficulties today.(grrr). However, I'm hoping my "how-to" post is unaffected.

  8. Ok, sorry to have left this out the first go around, but just wanted to add that "We have a little website.." goes a lot further for us than "We started a blog..."

    ok, sorry. Go Vitamin D!

  9. Hey Crabby!

    I took Vit D3 in the winter for a while. I'm sure it did wonders, but it made my heart race. And not in that good way, either.
    I didn't connect the two until I read about that being a side effect so I stopped taking it and the racing calmed.
    I take some sun instead and eat tuna.

    We had kids chewable aspirin here, too. Can't recall the brand, I think it may have been a Bayer product. They were darned tasty. Very candyesque.

    Luv ur blog!

  10. hi Katieo,
    You know, you're right, I should just say "website." "Blogs" sound kind of boring or scary I guess to the uninitiated, sort of like Blobs or Frogs or something.

    Wow, hadn't heard about the racing heart thing. I've also heard the recommendations to just get a little more sun--not midday, and not for long, but to skip the sunscreen on one's arms or legs or whatever a little more often if one lives in a far northern latitude.

  11. LOL Love the blogs! I am a comment-piggy, myself, so (despite my current late-night dearth of pithy witticisms), I am being a good noogie and spreading comment cheer. :-D

  12. Hi TheWoobDog, thanks for visiting!

    Ah hah--a comment piggie! I knew there was a word for what I was.

    So I need to figure out this xanga thing a little better, but thanks for your visit and i should learn to be a better noogie too!

    (It's probably painfully obvious when an older unhip person tries trying to adopt "the lingo." Sorry, all. Chicken Girl? Are you still around somewhere? Perhaps you can assist poor Crabby--TheWoobDog seems very nice and Crabby is probably scaring her away. Do some of that leet stuff, quick, okay?)

  13. I get plenty of fake sun exposure in the tanning salon! Does that count for vitamin D? Yes, yes, I'm probably paying for skin cancer. I say it's better than paying for lung cancer, all you smokers out there. Whatever. what was my point? Hmm. I forgot.


    Ha ha. Just kidding. It's really late -- I'm not so funny at 2am. And I actually really have no comment on Vit D as miss me believes that one's vitamins can be smartly obtained from food items (no not Doritos). In fact I just wrote an article about just that. However, I did make my way over to the comment post you recommended. Which I really enjoyed so thanks.

  15. Hi In Between!
    Tanning booth? Yikes! (Kudos for confessing that though. Crabby did it once, years ago, herself). Probably better healthy-wise to spray on fake stuff, no? But I have no idea if bronzers have gotten better or if they still turn you orange.

    Hi Jennifer,
    Watcha doin' up so late? Are you one of those night owl types? It's pathetic, the older I get, the earlier I retire. But you go girl.

  16. Hello McCrabster. I also take a supplement. 1000 IUs. I think it is the new wonder drug... much like green tea was the wonder tea of a couple years ago. However, I hate to be left out and I really do think it has helped me with my SAD in the winter.

  17. hi Smartcookie!

    Yeah I know, they keep switching wonder drugs on us, don't they. But I'm with you that the D thing, at least for now, seems to make sense. (And I like McCrabster!)

  18. Much better, good on ya!


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