Many studies over the years have linked vitamin deficiency with various cancers. Initially these comments were general in nature and studies were not as specific as one would like. As time passes and research is "fine tuned" we can see many more studies and more specific associations. Here are just a few of the entries from search engines about vitamin deficiency and Breast Cancer. On this topic alone there are over 12,000 abstracts.
In short, it is essential to make sure that all of the antioxidant vitamins, as wells minerals are in adequate levels in the blood. Whether we discuss the chromosomal and gene needs of nutrients, or the direct immune stimulation, or even free radical binding ability of antioxidants, all of the vitamins are necessary for cellular and tissue protection.
Blood testing for vitamins and minerals is a relatively simple process. Over the past 18 years, I have recommended and done this on all of my patients. In many cases people are surprised that although they take vitamins, their levels are still lower than needed. Just because we ingest something doesn't translate into actual absorption. Typically, when I review eating patterns and plans with patients, I will also change around the diet so that they are eating better types of foods and are exposed to better nutrients.
A final note, we all have heard that if we eat a well balanced diet, we will be ok.What does that mean? What is it based on? What is a well balanced diet if there is no evaluation along with it? How can a generalized recommendation be appropriate for all sorts and types of people? When we take into account the different variables related to exercise, hormone levels, digestive function and food preparation, how can a non specific program work? Well, it can't.
First, learn about your body. Second, create a specific food and vitamin plan based on testing. This is the only accurate way to maximize your health.
Stay tuned for more,
Dr. Chris Calapai
Plasma Folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Homocysteine, and Risk of Breast Cancer.
Background: In several epidemiologic investigations, folate intake has appeared to reduce the elevated risk of breast cancer associated with moderate alcohol consumption. However, data relating plasma folate levels to breast cancer risk are sparse. We investigated the association between plasma folate and other vitamins with breast cancer in a prospective, nested case–control study.
Methods: Blood samples were obtained during 1989 and 1990 from 32 826 women in the Nurses’ Health Study who were followed through 1996 for the development of breast cancer. We identified 712 breast cancer case patients and selected 712 individually matched control subjects. Dietary information was obtained using food frequency questionnaires given in 1980, 1984, 1986, and 1990. Logistic regression was used to estimate the relative risks (RRs) of breast cancer (after adjustment for potential risk factors), and a generalized linear model was used to calculate the Pearson correlation coefficients between plasma estimates of folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and homocysteine, and intakes of folate, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Results: The multivariable RR comparing women in the highest quintile of plasma folate with those in the lowest was 0.73 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.50 to 1.07; Ptrend = .06). The inverse association between plasma folate and breast cancer risk was highly statistically significant among women consuming at least 15 g/day (i.e., approximately 1 drink/day) of alcohol (multivariable RR = 0.11, 95% CI = 0.02 to 0.59 for highest versus lowest quintile) in contrast with that of women consuming less than 15 g/day (multivariable RR = 0.72, 95% CI = 0.49 to 1.05). The multivariable RR comparing women in the highest quintile of plasma vitamin B6 levels with those in the lowest quintile was 0.70 (95% CI = 0.48 to 1.02; Ptrend = .09). Plasma vitamin B12 levels were inversely associated with breast cancer risk among premenopausal women (multivariable RR = 0.36, 95% CI = 0.15 to 0.86 for highest versus lowest quintile) but not among postmenopausal women. Plasma homocysteine was not associated with breast cancer risk.
Conclusions: Higher plasma levels of folate and possibly vitamin B6 may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Achieving adequate circulating levels of folate may be particularly important for women at higher risk of developing breast cancer because of higher alcohol consumption.
Vitamin B12 deficiency: a new risk factor for breast cancer?
A prospective epidemiologic study found a threshold level for serum vitamin B12, below which an increased risk of breast cancer among postmeno-pausal women was observed. This is the first observation to suggest that B12 status may influence breast carcinogenesis and therefore may be a modifiable risk factor for breast cancer prevention.
Calcium and Vitamin D: Their Potential Roles in Colon and Breast Cancer Prevention.
The geographic distribution of colon cancer is similar to the historical geographic distribution of rickets. The highest death rates from colon cancer occur in areas that had high prevalence rates of rickets-regions with winter ultraviolet radiation deficiency, generally due to a combination of high or moderately high latitude, high-sulfur content air pollution (acid haze), higher than average stratospheric ozone thickness, and persistently thick winter cloud cover.
The geographic distribution of colon cancer mortality rates reveals significantly low death rates at low latitudes in the United States and significantly high rates in the industrialized Northeast. The Northeast has a combination of latitude, climate, and air pollution that prevents any synthesis of vitamin D during a five-month vitamin D winter. Breast cancer death rates in white women also rise with distance from the equator and are highest in areas with long vitamin D winters. Colon cancer incidence rates also have been shown to be inversely proportional to intake of calcium.
These findings, which are consistent with laboratory results, indicate that most cases of colon cancer may be prevented with regular intake of calcium in the range of 1,800 mg per day, in a dietary context that includes 800 IU per day (20 μg) of vitamin D3. (In women, an intake of approximately 1,000 mg of calcium per 1,000 kcal of energy with 800 IU of vitamin D would be sufficient.)
In observational studies, the source of approximately 90% of the calcium intake was vitamin D-fortified milk. Vitamin D may also be obtained from fatty fish. In addition to reduction of incidence and mortality rates from colon cancer, epidemiological data suggest that intake of 800 IU/day of vitamin D may be associated with enhanced survival rates among breast cancer cases.
Apparent partial remission of breast cancer in 'high risk' patients supplemented with nutritional antioxidants, essential fatty acids and coenzyme Q10.
Thirty-two typical patients with breast cancer, aged 32-81 years and classified 'high risk' because of tumor spread to the lymph nodes in the axilla, were studied for 18 months following an Adjuvant Nutritional Intervention in Cancer protocol (ANICA protocol). The nutritional protocol was added to the surgical and therapeutic treatment of breast cancer, as required by regulations in Denmark.
The added treatment was a combination of nutritional antioxidants (Vitamin C: 2850 mg, Vitamin E: 2500 iu, beta-carotene 32.5 iu, selenium 387 micrograms plus secondary vitamins and minerals), essential fatty acids (1.2 g gamma linolenic acid and 3.5 g n-3 fatty acids) and Coenzyme Q10 (90 mg per day). The ANICA protocol is based on the concept of testing the synergistic effect of those categories of nutritional supplements, including vitamin Q10, previously having shown deficiency and/or therapeutic value as single elements in diverse forms of cancer, as cancer may be synergistically related to diverse biochemical dysfunctions and vitamin deficiencies.
Biochemical markers, clinical condition, tumor spread, quality of life parameters and survival were followed during the trial. Compliance was excellent. The main observations were:(1) none of the patients died during the study period. (the expected number was four.) (2) none of the patients showed signs of further distant metastases.(3) quality of life was improved (no weight loss, reduced use of pain killers).(4) six patients showed apparent partial remission.