January 11, 2017


Director's Letter 
Carole Baggerly 
Director, GrassrootsHealth 

Welcome to what is already promising to be a very exciting vitamin D new year.

We are reaching a point of active implementation and formal publication on many fronts:

Vitamin D and Pregnancy

Encouraged by our paper last year showing a significant decrease in preterm births associated with higher vitamin D levels, we have continued to work with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and will be publishing some very exciting papers on vitamin D and birth outcomes later this year. Our initial sponsor for this project was Select Health; additional sponsorship has been provided through Dr. Wagner's Kellogg Foundation Grant as well as from GrassrootsHealth directly.

On January 26, Dr. Roger Newman, the leader of the project at MUSC, will give a presentation at the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine's Annual Pregnancy Meeting to share some preliminary results.

A result of the ongoing activity, we have a new project about to start at Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia, SC with Dr. Berry Campbell, MD, Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, as the lead. Palmetto Health is the largest health care system in the South Carolina Midlands region. With seven hospitals, Palmetto Health Richland is the largest (649 beds) and will be hosting the newest Protect Our Children NOW! implementation project.

Another project currently in the definition phase is underway in Arkansas, its leading sponsor is Bio-Tech Pharmacal.

Anyone who wants to help sponsor such a project with pregnant women (testing, supplementation, education), is encouraged to contact us.

Vitamin D and Cancer

GrassrootsHealth participated in the analysis of a very exciting RCT on cancer and vitamin D. The analysis definitely showed a decrease in incidence of cancer associated with higher vitamin D levels. Preliminary results were presented at the American Public Health Association conference in October and final results are expected to be published early this year. We look forward to sharing more of this research with you soon.

There are cancer centers ready to 'implement' a new standard of care for cancer patients based on the ongoing positive information about vitamin D and its impact on cancer.

Please note the details below about the case study from Fairfax Hospital where a woman with pancreatic cancer took 50,000 IU/day and cured her pancreatic cancer. One of co-authors of the paper is DL Trump, MD, FACP, CEO and Executive Director of Inova Schar Cancer Institute, VA and has been a GrassrootsHealth panel member for 9 years.

Another paper reported below, 'Repurposing Vitamin D as an Anticancer Drug' presents a message of, 'get on with it! We'll track the results as we go.' Within GrassrootsHealth, given the science available to support anticancer effects associated with vitamin D, and that vitamin D is so inexpensive, safe, and easy to use, we believe that it's 'non-use' should be justified!

Omega-3 - Supplements and Testing

Last month, we did a survey about your use/priorities of omega-3's. Here are some of the responses:

Why do most people take omega-3?
#1: brain and heart health

What is the most important factor in choosing your supplement?
#1: purity/quality

What type of omega-3 do you take?
57% fish oil
41% krill oil
11% foods/other

Are you interested in an omega-3 index test?
80% said yes

As noted earlier, we're considering doing a project involving the measurement of omega-3's and, of course, its interaction with your vitamin D levels and health outcomes. We'll be working more with this information over the next month to help design a useful offering for you and your health. Thanks so very much for your input on this.

Sponsorship and D*action Enrollment

Thanks to generous donations in December, we are offering a discount for participation in D*action for the month of January - only $50. This offer has been well-received and within the first day we had 60 new participants. (Coupon code = JAN17OFFER, order here)

Also, one of our sponsors, VitaminDWiki, had an uptick in web traffic for that day of 65%!

We will continue offering these special programs to encourage D*action enrollment through targeted sponsorships throughout the year. The stronger D*action is, the more we can publish and help move public action on vitamin D.

If you would like to be a sponsor for February, donate today! Sponsors over $1000 will receive mention from GrassrootsHealth.

In summary, we'll see lots of implementation ACTION this year, much in part to your participation in this very healthy endeavor. Keep spreading the word, taking charge of your vitamin D health.


Carole Baggerly
Director, GrassrootsHealth
A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization
Moving Research into Practice NOW!

Vitamin D and Cancer
Promising Research

The Incidental Use of High-Dose Vitamin D3 in Pancreatic Cancer
Timothy Cannon et al.
Inova Schar Cancer Institute, VA
Journal of Pancreatic Cancer
May 2016
Read Paper
Vitamin D Council Summary

In February 2015, an 83-year old woman was diagnosed with a 3.6 x 2.7 cm pancreatic cancer tumor. Of her own volition, starting in the beginning of March, she started taking 50,000 IU/day vitamin D3. Tests throughout March confirmed the cancer. She started a round of chemo, but her reaction was so severe she was hospitalized and intubated. She was a poor candidate for surgery and did not resume chemotherapy.

She was referred to radiation oncology, but opted instead to go to an alternative care clinic and in April started a regimen that included chelodium, curcumin, community mushroom blend, viscosin, and naltrexone. She reports she was erratic with following this regimen, but always took her daily 50,000 IU of Vitamin D3.

In September she decided to start care with the Inova Schar Cancer Institute and her tumor was measured at 3.1 x 3.0 cm, slightly smaller. Her calcium level was within range, 9.7, but her 25(OH)D was > 150 ng/ml. The patient never reported side effects due to her increased vitamin D level.

By December 2015 the patient was stable and had no evidence of disease progression. The case report ends with, "Currently she describes as feeling quite well with no difficulty accomplishing her activities of daily living."

This is just one person, but the paper concludes that there should be more studies which take higher doses of vitamin D, or doses designed to move the serum level up a considerable amount.

Repurposing Vitamin D as an Anticancer Drug
DC Gilbert et al.
MRC Clinical Trials unit at UCL, London, UK
Clinical Oncology
January 2016
Read Paper

This editorial paper points to four ways vitamin D has been shown to have beneficial effects in regard to cancer prevention and treatment:
  1. Anti-inflammatory - diminishes inflammatory pathways associated with cancer
  2. Antiproliferative - preventing or retarding the spread of cancer cells
  3. Angiogenesis - suppresses the formation and development of blood vessels
  4. Apoptosis - induces the death of cancer cells
The authors review the mixed results of observational studies and RCTs that have reported on vitamin D levels and cancer incidence. Many of the studies show no effect, but the authors suggest that may be due to low doses of vitamin D and follow-up periods that were not long enough to observe an effect. The paper also reports on four current RCTs ( VITALFINDD-Health VIDAL ) , all of which are giving the equivalent of 1,600-3,300 IU /day either as daily doses or monthly bolus doses. 

They acknowledge the ethical and practical challenges of designing a trial for vitamin D and cancer. Specifically, the ethical problem of recruiting participants who are deficient and treating some only with placebo, leaving them in a deficient status. Alternatively, recruiting participants and treating them to a point beyond basal status could result in a mixed study population with muted results.

As these challenges are addressed in future studies, the current trials will provide additional information for vitamin D and cancer outcomes in the next few years.

They said it best in their lead in paragraph:

"Repurposing drugs as anticancer therapeutics could shorten the conventional investigational pathway and open multiple new avenues of investigation. Evidence of potential anticancer effects can be collated from in vitro and in vivo models..."

GrassrootsHealth believes that NOW! is the time to start using vitamin D - for cancer prevention and treatment. It is safe, it is inexpensive and it is effective. We do not need to wait for more RCTs. 
Editor's Letter
Susan Siljander
Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth

I hope one of your resolutions is to maintain your vitamin D blood levels within 40-60 ng/ml and to measure at least twice this year with D*action to achieve your goal. It is important to measure, because levels do change during the year or with certain health conditions.

I hope you enjoyed this news about the direction of GrassrootsHealth for the upcoming year. We are going to make our communications more targeted, and possibly shorter, always have charts for you to use, etc. We will continue to focus on the research of vitamin D - informing on the latest papers and moving that research into practice!

Happy New Year!

Susan Siljander
Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth
A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization
Moving Research Into Practice NOW!

Enroll Today

Limited Offer

Use coupon code 

Sponsored by

Dr. Cedric Garland

These sponsors are committed to spreading the world about vitamin D - to individuals and to public health through research. 

Your donation today will allow GrassrootsHealth to run special incentive programs to increase D*action participation in February.

More participation
More research
More public action

Sponsors of $1000 or more will receive special mention.

GrassrootsHealth won the 2016 Humanitarian Award

from the American College of Nutrition in recognition of our dedication to moving public health messages regarding vitamin D from science into practice.
Research Top 10

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 2016

Post-hoc analysis of vitamin D status and reduced risk of preterm birth in two vitamin D pregnancy cohorts compared with South Carolina March of Dimes 2009-2011 rates
Carol L. Wagner, et al.
The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
October 2015

Incidence rate of type 2 diabetes is >50% lower in GrassrootsHealth cohort with median serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin D of 41 ng/ml than in NHANES cohort with median of 22 ng/ml
Sharon L. McDonnell, et al.
The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
July, 2015

Letter to Veugelers, P.J. and Ekwaru, J.P., A Statistical Error in the Estimation of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin D.
Robert Heaney, et al.
March 2015

Quantifying the food (and non-food) sources of basal vitamin D input
Sharon L. McDonnell, et al.
Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
November 2013

25-Hydroxyvitamin D in the Range of 20 to 100 ng/ml and Incidence of Kidney Stones
Stacie Nguyen, et al.
American Journal of Public Health
October 2013

A Novel Approach Localizes the Association of Vitamin D Status With Insulin Resistance to One Region of the 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Continuum
Robert P. Heaney, et al.
Advances in Nutrition
May 2013

All-Source Basal Vitamin D Inputs are Greater Than Previously Thought and Cutaneous Inputs are Smaller
Robert P. Heaney, et al.
The Journal of Nutrition
March 2013

Vitamin D Supplement Doses and Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in the Range Associated with Cancer Prevention
Cedric F. Garland, et al.
Anticancer Research

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