August 24, 2017

Director's Letter  

If you saw that 77% cancer could be prevented by getting your vitamin D level to at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L), what would you do????

One of the first times I was exposed to how vitamin D can prevent cancer was in 2007 when I read a paper by Lappe et al. I cried. It was a randomized controlled trial which showed a 77% cancer incidence reduction with all cancers (women) with a serum level of approximately 40 ng/ml vs. a baseline of 28 ng/ml. I was still recovering, mentally, from my own bout with breast cancer and treatment. THIS was the answer to 'How do we PREVENT' cancer! There was a way!!! Unfortunately, it was not to be. There were many obstacles that we faced with getting acceptance, and, most importantly, ACTION from this study.

In 2012, GrassrootsHealth initiated a Breast Cancer Prevention Project, which now has over 1000 participants, in order to add data to the Lappe study and to focus on the information from the serum levels in our cohort--our own action group!

Please look right here at the chart that we created from that data plus the Lappe data!  a 71% reduction.  

Right now, we are looking at the new data you have helped add and are seeing an even more powerful indication that a serum level closer to 60 ng/ml (150 nmol/L) would be beneficial. To those of you who have been (or are) part of the Breast Cancer Prevention study we're doing, THANK YOU! for your contribution.. and, to those who are in it but just haven't added any new data for a while, now's the time!

Our goal is to add our data about women and cancer to the existing data from the randomized trial to accomplish a major aim. GrassrootsHealth is the only cohort in the world which has a large group of people in the 40 ng/ml+ serum levels.  We definitely have a much larger sample of women with higher serum levels than the Lappe study, together they create a larger overall cohort with a firmer conclusion.

Our major, novel steps for the research paper included:
  • pooling data from a randomized trial as well as a cohort study
  • analyzing the data by serum level vs. treatment group (how much D they took)
  • presenting multiple types of analysis--this was very important to show everyone that no matter how you looked at the data, the results were essentially the same!
  • We are very, very proud of the methodology in working this. It was thorough and very precise.
End result: a 71% reduction in cancer risk for all cancers in women by going from a serum level of 20 ng/ml to 40 ng/ml.I would especially encourage you to look at the shape of the curve.There is a marked decline in risk going down from 20 ng/ml and a more gradual decrease as the serum level gets above 40 ng/ml.

My plea to ALL of you--please, please help get the attention of everyone to the idea that we CAN greatly reduce the risk of cancer by getting vitamin D levels to at least 40 ng/ml. It's urgent, it's also very, very wasteful for no attention to be paid! Help us take very aggressive action now!

Thanks so much for your ongoing participation in the D*action project

Carole Baggerly 
Director, GrassrootsHealth 
Moving Research into Practice NOW!
Is Your Vitamin D Serum Level the Best Indicator of Your Cancer Risk?

We work with 48 international scientists, and one of these is Dr. Joan Lappe of Creighton Universtiy who has done some great research on vitamin D and cancer.  GrassrootsHealth decided to combine the data for women aged 55 years and older from the GrassrootsHealth D*action cohort (N = 1,135, median serum level = 48 ng/ml) with the data from the cohort used in Lappe's 2007 randomized controlled trial (Lappe 2007, N= 1,169, median serum level = 30 ng/ml). Read the results, which show that getting serum levels above 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) will greatly reduce risk of cancer incidence.
What do Randomized Controlled Trials Say about Vitamin D and Cancer?

The first randomized controlled trial, 2007, reported a 77% reduction in cancer incidence. The second one, 30-35% depending on how you crunch the numbers. Yet these studies are not getting the full attention they deserve. Why?  
About Joan Lappe
Creighton University

Read this great article about Joan Lappe, written by Therese Vaughn of Creighton Magazine. If you want to hear her speak about her latest study, watch this 17 minute talk she gave at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Expo. The talk was before her paper was published and unfortunately was not well attended. We need to get the news out!
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Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial
Joan M. Lappe et al.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
June 2007

Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations ≥40 ng/ml are Associated with >65% Lower Cancer Risk: Pooled Analysis of Randomized Trial and Prospective Cohort Study 
Sharon L. McDonnell et al.
April 6, 2016

Vitamin D3 and Calcium Supplementation Decreases Cancer Risk in Older Women
Joan M. Lappe
Amercian Public Health Association Annual Meeting & Expo
November 2016
Watch Video (17 minutes)

Effect of Vitamin D and Calcium Supplementation on Cancer Incidence in Older Women - A Randomized Clinical Trial
Joan Lappe, et al.
Journal of American Medical Association
March 28, 2017
Read Paper

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