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Study finds vitamin D protective against chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Posted on: July 26, 2013   by  Brant Cebulla


Vitamin D may have a protective association against chronic lymphocytic leukemia –but not lymphoma cancers on the whole — according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Lymphoma cancers make up about 3-4% of total cancers worldwide. In Europe, where this study took place, they are in the top 10 most frequent malignancies.

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13 Responses to Study finds vitamin D protective against chronic lymphocytic leukemia

  1. D-fiant

    I was trying to stay away from the forum for a while, but this story has brought me back, I suppose the regular bloggers to the Vit. D Council would have known that I could let this one pass by.

    For the new readers, our son has NHL and has reached remission status only a few months ago (Please LORD let him stay there)

    The feeling of helplessness is massive in these situations, so when our son started his year long stint in and out of hospital, I started “hitting” the net to find out what could I do as a parent.?

    I found a version of this article from the Mayo Clinic http://newsblog.mayoclinic.org/2009/12/02/vitamin-d-associated-with-survival-in-lymphoma-patients/

    A small quote “These are some of the strongest findings yet between vitamin D and cancer outcome,”

    The original story said that if the Vit D was at a certain level at “diagnoses” then the survival at 5 years was much better. This article reference above says “A new study has found that the amount of vitamin D in patients being “treated” for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma was strongly associated with cancer progression and overall survival”

    There is a subtle difference between these two words. We can’t go back in time to a period before diagnoses and take our Vit D, but we can start taking it while we are being treated!

    I can’t know how it will turn out, but we had to go it alone as far as Vit D taking, but we are blessed with an oncologist who did not fight us and obliged with Vit D blood tests from time to time.

    His local GP is not so open as our son received a phone call to stop taking Vit D when he exceeded 150nmol/L (60 ng/ml)

    He is continuing to take 10,000/day (109 iu/kg) and heading to higher levels . He is probably nearly to 200 nmol/L (80ng/ml) and when he gets his next test he will probably get another call from his doctor. I feel we must keep going against his GP wishes. Our Target is 250nmol/l (100ng/L)

    I appreciate that the article from The Vit D Council discusses the “protective effect” of Vit D and my comments are about “survival” after you get lymphoma! But I could not let this pass without a comment, because people might think that taking Vit D had no advantage if they get NHL.

    It could mean the difference between life and death. Do you want more?

  2. Rita and Misty

    D-fiant, I am ecstatic to hear about your son’s remission. No child should ever go through such sickness; nor should any parent see his or her child suffer such a fate.

    Mainstream medicine often slams alternative medicine for proclaiming vitamin d to the “silver bullet.” And, alternative medicine needs to be careful about such connotations.

    I don’t think that there is a “silver bullet” that will eliminate ultimate death, but I do think that there are things that can assist life, and help the body fight illness, and keep such diseases as NHL in remission. I think that vitamin d is truly helpful in this arena.

    And to keep one’s immune system healthy enough to fight illness and keep disease in remission is an awesome, awesome thing. Again, this is how I view the benefit of vitamin D.

    I think we must always maintain hope, and look for things that will realistically benefit life and encourage good health…but it harms the vitamin d community to say that D is a panacea against death.

    BUT–If I had any type of cancer, I would take 50,000 iu d3 daily. I am 5’2.75″ tall (when stretching), and I weigh 108 lbs. I would take 50,000 id d3 daily without fear if I were so ill. I am not a physician nor am I a healthcare professional–this is only what I would do, as someone who has spent time reading about D.

    By the way, I received my 25(OH)D results on Saturday. As of July 2013, my level is 167 ng/ml. I consider this to be high, but I am not worried. I exhibit no physical signs of toxicity. I will not supplement with oral d3 until the middle of September; however, I will continue with 2.5 hours of high noon sunshine per week.

    To remind the readership, during the winter months I had been taking 28,000-30,000 iu d3 daily; with 50,000 iu d3 the week prior to my menses. As of June, I had dropped the daily dose to 16,000 iu d3 with 2.5 hours of sunshine per week.

  3. D-fiant

    Hi Rita,
    Nice to hear from you again.

    I re-read my blog (above) and I thought the following question might arise in people’s minds.

    “How is it, that if Vt D has little protective effect to keep Lymphoma away, but once you get Lymphoma that Vit D helps then?”

    I think the answer is that Vit D on its own and at lower levels is not strong enough to defeat Lymphoma. But because Vit D has a Synergistic action with Chemo / radiation, the anti-cancer treatment becomes more effective when there is Vit D in adequate amounts. This produces better outcomes.
    Ref http://www.vitamindwiki.com/Chemotherapy+might+be+amplified+by+vitamin+D

    I would also think, that If people got to hear about this, that they would go on to take their Vit D to much higher levels, and there maybe further advantages in this?

    Certainly in the case of prostate Cancer, men with very high levels of Vit D have shown to have less cancerous lesions, this has been proved in trials when high amounts of Vit D were administered prior to the removal of Prostates due to larger cancers elsewhere.
    Ref https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlDvmYqnFsk&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    In closing there is also evidence that Chemo depletes Vit D (I am now repeating previous Vit D Council blog) But It is so important we need to say it again – take plenty of Vit D when having Chemo, but watch calcium and Vit D levels. I must also say, take plenty of Vit D Co -factors. ref http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/vitamin-d-and-other-vitamins-and-minerals/

    Bye for now.

  4. Rita and Misty


    There are several studies which indicate that vitamin d and chemotherapy deliver an excellent punch to cancer.

    But, although it is certainly good for the general public to hear about these studies on D and Chemo, it is much more important for oncologists to be ministered to on this subject.

    The physician needs to be convinced in order for the vast majority of the public to benefit from vitamin d.

    In other words: It will take the medical community to move the medical community on the issue of vitamin d.

    Not sure if I’m clear here, so one last time: the public will have little impact upon the medical community on this issue, as on most health issues (imo).

    I do, however, think that physicians, researchers and public policy makers working together can be great change makers.

    It will take forceful leadership and strong direction.

    And, I do believe that one part of the solution will be food fortification. This will be the most economical way to ensure that the vast majority of the public is vitamin d sufficient.

    Regarding prostate cancer, here are my thoughts:

    I am of the opinion that prostate cancer may only be slowed down…but I think it is difficult to totally eliminate prostate cancer by any means… The most common prostate cancer is Gleason 6, 3+3. Most men get this type of prostate cancer, and most men will live with it and die from something else. It is still scarey. But, the “treatments” are scarier. Seek many (many) MANY opinions before are cut or have brachytherapy.

    I’m not a big fan of the IOM, but one thing it did do correctly, imo, is to make it known that the PSA test be optional.

    In other words: If your prostate isn’t giving you a problem, don’t try to fix it. It cannot be fixed, at least not to your satisfaction….(read between the lines).

    I will share with you that 50,000 iu d3 daily is beneficial, in my opinion, for anyone with a history of cancer–especially prostate cancer. I think Dr. Moss recommends this protocol (I’m not 100% certain)… And, as long as one takes the 25(OH)D test quarterly, and watches for calcium levels, I think that 50,000 iu d3 is a great alternative treatment for something like a low Gleason score prostate cancer. I would also recommend all the cofactors, plus selenium and iodine.

    Be well,

  5. Rita and Misty

    @ D-fiant,

    Uncertain if you read the Vitamin D Council Facebook page. I posted the below comment earlier today on this FB page. I share it with you, and with readership here.

    Two days ago marked my one solid year of FBooking on the Vitamin D Council Facebook page.

    Over the past year, I’ve also had the pleasure of corresponding with many of you on a personal level, discussing health issues and chatting up vitamin d. It’s been inspirational for me, and I’ve learned so much from all of you.

    I have experienced a change in personal philosophy, though, over this past year.

    One year ago, I was certain that the public would move the medical community on the issue of vitamin d, and I thought grassroots outreach was the best way to go.

    I no longer feel that way, I am sad to say.

    The reasons are numerous, but in my opinion and my experience the most blatant reasons are:

    1. The medical community is a closed sphere, not readily willing to take advice from its patients, regardless of their educational status and/or socio-economic level.

    2. Most people, regardless of their educational status and/or socio-economic level rely heavily upon advice from their doctors (I actually empathize for the tremendous amount of pressure an ethical and conscientious physician must feel).

    I think now the most successful way to end the vitamin d public health issue is at the public policy level. It will take the concerted effort of physicians, researchers and policy makers to end this pandemic.

    Last year I was extremely dubious of the benefits of food fortification.

    This year I feel food fortification is the ultimate way to go.

    My reason for favoring food fortification is I have discovered that there are many (many) people who cannot afford to purchase vitamin d supplements. They also cannot afford to purchase the 25(OH)D test, nor do they have health insurance, or the $$$$ to pay for a doctor’s visit. Yes, I do understand that most have discretionary income and many do not prioritize their dollars correctly; however, that is a different societal problem, and perhaps not for this forum.

    Food fortification would economically ensure that the vast majority of people were at least vitamin d sufficient. To me, this is especially important when we think of expectant mom, children and those without financial means.

    It has been a wonderful year here on the Vitamin D Council Facebook page. I thank you all for your interactions. And, I look forward to another year of learning…after all it is all about the knowledge, isn’t it?

    Be well, my friends!

  6. Rita and Misty

    There is ONE WAY for the public to move the medical community:

    A class action law suit.


    That will be the only way the public may move the medical community on vitamin d.

    Your thoughts.

  7. Magic

    Hi Rita,

    I will answer your last thought FIRST… Legal action will get attention!!!

    We all know that the Drug Industry has lots to lose and will not go down without a HUGE fight. You have hit it right on the head. We are at both ends of the country still our problems are the same. The medical community WILL NOT TAKE ADVICE from a “customer.”

    Twenty two days ago I purchased a NutriBullit at Macy’s on sale for $99. My wife saw the infomercial and the ad in our paper ……..I jumped on it and it has been a fabulous addition. At my age (79 1/2) I CANNOT tell you how young I feel. Why I mentioned the 22 days is that a nutritionist told me years ago that getting off Coca Cola for 21 days would keep me off forever and it worked. It seems the same for my sugar habits with this extractor which is like a juicer only better.

    In my opinion our population has been trained to expire for the sake of the drug companies profits.. Cannot blame the Drug companies for trying to make money but I AM WITH YOU, as they are today, they must be OVERTHROWN..LOL…Or at least changed..

    .Rita, I am certainly with you on every count. Anyone who has been diagnosed with a life ending disease should take 50,000 ius a day. …

    By the way, a combination of D3 and the Nutribullit has me losing inches. I thought I was “perfect.” I am drinking veggies… Life is a dream…

    I got carried away. Sorry.


  8. Rita and Misty

    I consider Dr. Cannell to be one of the few fine, noble and ethical physicians left in this world. He truly remembers that he took the Hippocratic Oath. So, John, please realize that I am not directing the following comments to you…far from it…I think you realize I admire you tremendously (I certainly hope you realize this).

    The Medical Community needs to realize that a patient is a gift…a treasure…and something to be cared for on the most human level possible…patients are not customers…they are human beings.

    (BTW–and in my opinion–patients need to realize that the doctor/patient relationship is a team effort, and if you aren’t on the same team with your physician, then find yourself a new one. Interview if necessary).

    Again, John, these comments are most certainly (and absolutely) NOT directed at you. We’re lucky to have you; and, the world is a better place because of you.

    Magic–there’s something called an airplane, which nicely accommodates travel from the east to the west 🙂 And, I will call within the next several days.

    Be well,

  9. D-fiant

    Hi Rita
    We are way off topic again, but I want to hear more about taking 50,000iu/day. From what I have seen after 30,000 iu/day can cause some negative calcium reactions.

    The other pat of the issue is that you can take 50,000iu/day but to what blood level?

    After that you fall into a daily maintenance level, which I assume is way below 50,000 iu/day.

    Bye for now

  10. Rita and Misty


    You ask great questions. Here are my answers:

    1. Taking 50,000 iu D3 daily is obviously taking it as if one were to take a drug rather than a supplement or nutrient. And of course, caution is warranted. I would work with a physician.

    2. Hypercalcemia carries with it certain signs such as feeling sick, feeling thirsty, constipation or diarrhea, poor appetite and feeling confused. I think if one doesn’t have these signs, one is mostly likely okay–but I cannot say for sure.

    3. My level as of July 2013 is 167 ng/ml and I have no physical signs of hypercalcemia. And, I am not concerned, at all. (Let’s remember I am a dare devil) I am however ceasing oral d3 supplementation until the fall. I will continue with my 2.5 hours of sunshine per week.

    4. It has been a while since my calcium level was tested. I think it was around 10. Again, I am not concerned. I should note that I do not consume a calcium supplement, but I try to eat 3 servings of organic dairy daily.

    5. Regarding to what level is safe when using D3 as a drug, I am not a healthcare professional…I am uncomfortable even giving my opinion on this one. Those who know me even “cyberspace friendship” probably can guess my thoughts…

    6. I will say that I’m interested in Dr. Joseph Prendergast’s writings on an optimal 25(OH)D level. Google him. But, be aware that he is using vitamin d as a drug rather than a supplement or nutrient.

    7. Here on the Vitamin D Council website we talk about Vitamin D as a supplement or nutrient ONLY, and it is really perhaps not appropriate to discuss its drug-like qualities here….

    I hope this is helpful????

    Be well,

  11. Ted

    I can contribute some personal experience with high-dose Vitamin D 3. I shared this earlier with Rita&Misty who encouraged me to share this on the blog. Here is my note to her:
    Hello Rita – I have been a subscriber to the council for two years and a user of Vitamin D for a little longer. I thought I would share with you some interesting results from high-dose experiments on myself. I am reluctant to post them on the blog because I don’t want people trying these things without some knowledge of the vitamin. I am 63 and a nearly lifelong resident of Minnesota. Swedish ancestry.

    I was directed toward the website by a doctor at Park Nicollet medical center in November 2010. I started out on 5k IU per day with no cofactors and not much in the way of noticeable results except that I had absolutely no respiratory illnesses of any sort. I talked the rest of my family into taking the same amount of D, including my now 93-year-old mother, and not one of us has had more than a sniffle in the past two years. In 2010 I read through all the old posts on the website and came across a number of references to pharmacological doses of D instead of physiological doses of D and the importance of D for theimmune system. My first experiment in pharmacological Vitamin D took place when I was traveling in Mexico in March 2012, during which a root canal failed. I was in fairly bad pain, worsening, and reluctant to put myself in the hands of the local dentist. I had a bunch of 5K capsules so I took 50K (10 capsules) and within 4 hours – yes, 4 hours – the pain had subsided. I was able to keep the infection and inflammation at bay for 3 weeks with 30k per day, with occasional bumps to 50k. The root was cracked and the tooth had to be extracted when I got back, but I was
    pain-free for the entire trip. Subsequent to the extraction I had a bone graft put in my upper jaw to support an implanted tooth, and the site got infected, and despite two rounds of antibiotics I still had pain and swelling indicating that the infection was still active. I decided again to apply the 50K IU per day experiment, and was able to cure the infection in 5 days. I suffer from severe recurrent depression, and a few years ago gave up pharmaceutical intervention because I hated the side effects. Last October it recurred very badly, so as an experiment I took 50K IU vitamin d. The depression subsided within a day. I started tapering the dose and found that I could keep things okay at 25k IU per day, which I maintained for 4 months. So what do you suppose happened over the four months? My hairdresser pointed out that my white hair was turning dark. I still have a lot of white hair, but a lot of dark hair has appeared in the upper part of my scalp,
    and the bald spot at the whorl has started to fill in with hair. Both my mother and my sister, who also have white hair, have noted more dark hair. My wife, who is my age, has no white hair, but her hairdresser
    noted that her hair has been getting thicker. She only takes 5kIU per day, but weighs only 115 pounds. Two weeks ago I was at a job site talking to my general contractor. He was obviously very ill, trying to suppress a very severe cough. He said he had serious bronchitis and had been coughing so badly that his chest and back hurt. I asked him if he took any vitamin D and he said he took 2k IU per day. He is 60 andweighs 275 pounds, so I suggested to him that he take 50k IU, and that if it was effective he would know in a few hours. He called me the next morning and told me that I had “saved his life.” He said he took 50K IU at 4 pm, and that the pain started to subside by 8 pm, and that he was able to sleep without pain that night. He took two more big doses that weekend, and although it took a week for the cough to go away, he said the D greatly reduced the severity. So there are my most salient Vitamin D stories. I am absolutely convinced that most of the health epidemics were are experiencing today are due to Vitamin D deficiency. Health care in the US would be a very different matter if we were all D-replete.

  12. D-fiant

    Hi Rita and Ted.
    Thanks for your feed back.

    Rita I looked around for items about Dr. Joseph Prendergast and there are some video clips etc, but I could not find specific info on Vit D levels etc.

    If you have some stored links that you could share would be great. If you don’t want to put them on the net, you have my email address and you could put hem there.

    Many thanks

    PS – Took our son to his oncologist today, he did not seem to have many concerns, blood tests shifted from fortnightly to monthly. He is not on any anti-cancer drugs. In about two months he wants to run CT, PET and bone marrow tests. Just going for these tests stirs me up.

  13. Rita and Misty

    Hi D-fiant,

    The below link is one of my favorites re: Joe Prendergast (it was written by Norman Shealy). BTW–I enjoy reading the work of both these doctors….


    PS~~such GOOD NEWS about your son. May his immune system continue to be strong.


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