by Phillip Day

Research shows the unequiv­o­cal ben­e­fits of vit­a­min D both in the pre­ven­tion and treat­ment of can­cer as well as rick­ets and other dis­eases. Lack of, and fear of sun­shine, com­bined with processed, cooked diets has become the, to-date, unde­clared cat­a­stro­phe of mod­ern times. The Vit­a­min D Coun­cil writes:

Tech­ni­cally not a ‘vit­a­min’, vit­a­min D is in a class by itself. Its meta­bolic prod­uct, cal­citriol, is actu­ally a sec­os­teroid hor­mone that tar­gets over 1000 genes in the human body. Cur­rent research has impli­cated vit­a­min D defi­ciency as a major fac­tor in the pathol­ogy of at least 17 vari­eties of can­cer as well as heart dis­ease, stroke, hyper­ten­sion, autoim­mune dis­eases, dia­betes, depres­sion, chronic pain, osteoarthri­tis, osteo­poro­sis, mus­cle weak­ness, mus­cle wast­ing, birth defects, peri­odon­tal dis­ease, and more. Vit­a­min D’s influ­ence on key bio­log­i­cal func­tions vital to one’s health and well-being man­dates that vit­a­min D no longer be ignored by the health­care indus­try nor by indi­vid­u­als striv­ing to achieve and main­tain a greater state of health.”1 writes:

If you search the US National Insti­tutes of Health’s Med­line online data­base for ‘can­cer vit­a­min D’, you will find over five thou­sand papers… some dat­ing back nearly 60 years.

It’s true: physi­cian reports on vit­a­min D stop­ping can­cer have been ignored for decades. In 1951, T. Desmonts reported that vit­a­min D treat­ment was effec­tive against Hodgkin’s dis­ease (a can­cer of the lym­phatic sys­tem).2 That same year, 57 years ago, mas­sive doses of vit­a­min D were also observed to improve epithe­lioma.3 In 1955, skin can­cer was again reported as cured with vit­a­min D treat­ment.4 In 1963, there was a promis­ing inves­ti­ga­tion done on vit­a­min D and breast can­cer.5 Then, in 1964, vit­a­min D was found to be effec­tive against lymph nodal retic­u­losar­coma, a non-Hodgkin’s lym­phatic can­cer.6

The Amer­i­can Can­cer Soci­ety has been obsessed with find­ing a drug cure for can­cer. Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal researchers are not look­ing for a vit­a­min cure. And when one is pre­sented, as inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tors and physi­cians have con­tin­u­ously been doing since 1951, it is ignored.”7

Vit­a­min D RDA and sun-dosing

The rec­om­mended daily allowance for vit­a­min D in adults is set at 200–400 inter­na­tional units a day (IU). This is thought to be the level above which overt cases of the clas­sic vit­a­min D defi­ciency dis­ease rick­ets will not be observed. Alas, it’s not that sim­ple. You actu­ally need around 4,000 IU/day just to main­tain the vit­a­min D level you already have as an adult. Do you think gov­ern­ment sci­en­tists know this already? Of course they do. To under­stand vit­a­min D’s play­ing field a lit­tle bet­ter, con­sider the following.

Let’s say you went out to the local park in June between 11 am and 2 pm, stripped com­pletely naked and laid out on the grass. In the half an hour it took for the local police to arrest you, sci­en­tists say you can gen­er­ate around 20,000 IU of vit­a­min D. Of course, the mit­i­gat­ing fac­tors are skin pig­men­ta­tion, where you are on the planet, cloud cover, pol­lu­tion, speed of police, etc. Then you get bailed out at the sta­tion, return home with your clothes on, strip off again for a shower… and wash all that vit­a­min D down the plug!

That’s right. Though some D is made in the epi­der­mis (under the skin sur­face), it takes around 48 hours for the sur­face vit­a­min D to pen­e­trate the skin. Being oil-soluble, vit­a­min D is bro­ken down by soap and washed away in your power shower. To avoid this hap­pen­ing after ade­quate sun expo­sure (enough for you fair-skinned types to turn pink­ish), wash off the skin with water and tend to the under­arms and groin area sep­a­rately. Smelly old farm­ers live longer – pun­gent but true. Dark-skinned folk need much more sun than light-skinned folk to make the same amount of vit­a­min D.

Watch to see when your shadow is shorter than you are. Dr John Can­nell says this is a use­ful thumb­nail to deter­mine when you can make vit­a­min D. Unfor­tu­nately in the UK, your shadow is longer than you are for a good six months of the year. Try­ing to get sun expo­sure behind glass won’t work either since the vitamin-D-making UVB wave­length is dis­rupted. UVA gets through, how­ever, and that’s not good news.

Every mem­ber of the pop­u­la­tion should take rea­son­able sun expo­sure not only more seri­ously, but view it as one of the car­di­nal pre­req­ui­sites for a longer life. If you have dark skin and have moved to a north­ern coun­try, you are espe­cially at risk from vitamin-D-deficiency prob­lems. Numer­ous stud­ies indi­cate that ‘all-cause mor­tal­ity’ is sig­nif­i­cantly higher if you are vitamin-D-deficient.8

Vit­a­min D Testing

If you have can­cer or other seri­ous con­di­tion, the first thing to do is find out your blood serum level of D-3. You can do this even if you are healthy and just want to know. I used to rec­om­mend get­ting the 25 hydroxy D test done via your GP but most have proved hope­less in under­stand the neces­sity for it as they have not been prop­erly trained. I am there­fore pleased to rec­om­mend a highly effi­cient mail order ser­vice hosted by Birm­ing­ham City Hospital’s Pathol­ogy Depart­ment (UK),1 which will send you a test kit for £25 by mail for UK dwellers or £30 if you live abroad. When you receive the kit, you prick the under­side of your digit, place some blood spots on the card, then return the card to the hos­pi­tal in the enve­lope pro­vided. The lab will return your result in 5–10 work­ing days depend­ing on where you live. The D-3 read­ing is the one you want. My only con­tention with how the lab depicts your results lies in what it con­sid­ers ade­quate or defi­cient. The lat­est research rec­om­mends the fol­low­ing interpretations:

< 20 nmol/L – seri­ously defi­cient – imme­di­ate action required

40 nmol/L – very deficient

40 – 100 nmol/L – deficient

130 – 150 nmol/L – normal

170 – 200 nmol/L – therapeutic

>230 nmol/L – toxic thresh­old9

Should your results processed by other means be expressed in one of the two other scales, they can be read as follows:

The ng/ml and ug/L scales

<20 ng/ml – grossly deficient

20–40 ng/ml – deficient

50–60 ng/ml – normal

70–90 ng/ml – therapeutic

>110 ng/ml – toxic threshold

Dr Bruce Hol­lis remarks that no cir­cu­lat­ing D3 can be found until lev­els are 40–50 ng/ml (100–125 nmol/l). By this mea­sure, at least 85% of the US pop­u­la­tion are vitamin-D-deficient. Con­sider that Amer­ica is below the 52nd par­al­lel, so the UK and north­ern Europe will be far worse.

If your test comes back defi­cient, your vit­a­min D level should be raised using sun­light and/or sup­ple­men­ta­tion, and then re-tested four weeks later to see if progress is being made. I encour­age peo­ple to take 10,000 IU/day of D3 while they are get­ting tested and then adjust the sup­ple­men­ta­tion accord­ingly (usu­ally upward) and re-test in four to six weeks.

There are spe­cially designed, electronic-ballast ‘safe’ tan­ning beds, too, which emit pre­dom­i­nant UVB wave­length. Dr Joseph Mer­cola rec­om­mends these but they are expen­sive and not to everyone’s tastes.10 The best choice is sun­light and/or vit­a­min D3 (chole­cal­cif­erol) sup­ple­men­ta­tion. If you are push­ing the lim­its with very high sup­ple­men­ta­tion, the experts advise that you to get tested often and watch for cal­cium lev­els ris­ing – an indi­ca­tion of the toxic thresh­old. There is a good mar­gin for safety, how­ever. Risks from tox­i­c­ity with D3 are com­monly overblown and true prob­lems only come from over­dos­ing for months on end.

For most peo­ple, D3 oral sup­ple­men­ta­tion will be the only option dur­ing win­ter months. The level of sup­ple­men­ta­tion is irrel­e­vant, it’s the serum level that mat­ters. Dr Mer­cola states that nor­mal healthy indi­vid­u­als can sup­ple­ment 3,000 IU/day per 100lbs body­weight and for those under­go­ing treat­ment for can­cer or other seri­ous ill­nesses, 5,000 IU/day per 100lbs body­weight. Once again, if you are push­ing the lim­its with oral sup­ple­men­ta­tion to get your serum level up in a hurry, it is vital to mon­i­tor lev­els not only to avoid the afore­men­tioned over­dos­ing, but to ensure the ther­a­peu­tic mar­gin is gained.

Some peo­ple require huge ini­tial doses of D3 to get them into the game (50,000–100,000 IU). I find that for most adults who have never sup­ple­mented, though, 10,000 IU/day for a month fol­lowed by 5,000 IU/day there­after gets them opti­mised with­out undue delay. If in doubt, you sim­ply won’t know where you stand with­out test­ing and mon­i­tor­ing your level. Remem­ber also that you weren’t designed to take vit­a­min D orally, so you won’t get all of the ben­e­fits asso­ci­ated with nor­mal sun expo­sure, which is by far the most safe and effi­cient method of vit­a­min D pro­duc­tion when done rea­son­ably:

There is no way to know if the rec­om­men­da­tions given below are cor­rect. The ONLY way to know is to test your blood. You might need 4–5 times the amount rec­om­mended below. Ide­ally your blood level of 25(OH)D should be 60ng/ml.” 11


Below 5  =  35 IU per lb per day

5–10 =  2,500 IU/day

18–30  = 5,000 IU/day

Preg­nant women 5,000 IU/day

TIP: If you miss a day’s sup­ple­men­ta­tion, sim­ply tack it onto the fol­low­ing day.

TIP 2: If you have a two year-old whose allo­ca­tion is 1,000 IU/day, and you have 5,000 IU cap­sules, give them one every five days.

TIP 3: Now book a holiday!


The Essen­tial Guide to Vit­a­min D by Phillip Day

Vit­a­min D-3 (chole­cal­cif­erol) 5,000 IU x 240 softgels

Vit­a­min D-3/K-2 2,000 IU/200 mcg x 120 capsules


2 Desmonts T, Duc­los M “Favourable effect of vit­a­min D on the evo­lu­tion of a case of Hodgkin’s dis­ease”, Sang. 1951;22(1):74–5. And: DESMONTS T “Favourable action of vit­a­min D in leukemic ery­thro­derma and Hodgkin’s dis­ease”, Pathol Gen. 1951 Mar;51(326):161–4. Also: VACCARI R “Vit­a­min D2 and exper­i­men­tal car­cino­gen­e­sis”, Boll Soc Ital Biol Sper. 1952 Aug-Oct;28(8–10):1567–9

3 Sainz de Aja Ea Actas Der­mosi­fil­i­ogr. 1951 Nov;43(2):169–70

4 Linser P “Spon­ta­neous cure of skin car­ci­noma by vit­a­min D treat­ment”, Der­ma­tol Wochen­schr. 1955;132(40):1072–3. German

5 Gor­dan G S, Schachter D ‘Vit­a­min D activ­ity of nor­mal and neo­plas­tic human breast tis­sue’, Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1963 Jul;113:760–1

6 Desmonts T, Blin J “Action of Vit­a­min D3 on the course of a lymph nodal retic­u­losar­coma”, Rev Pathol Gen Phys­iol Clin. 1964 Mar;64:137. French.



9 Stud­ies show that vit­a­min D tox­i­c­ity usu­ally man­i­fests as hyper­cal­caemia. Pro­longed sup­ple­men­ta­tion in excess of 30,000 – 50,000 IU/day for months is required to cause a prob­lem. If in doubt, get tested. The amount of D3 you take is irrel­e­vant, it’s the serum level that matters.


11 Ibid.



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