Vitamin D3 News
Breaking news: October 2009
Vol 1 No 9
In This Issue
Update on H1N1.
Latest on Vitamin D3 and colon cancer and malignant melanoma. 
Initially our primary focus had been on data supporting Vitamin D3 in cancer prevention. The outbreak of H1N1 opened up some new indications for Vitamin D3 as detailed in the last two newsletters. In this issue we have a brief but somewhat troubling update on the H1N1 epidemic. We then return to focusing on cancer and some new data published on colon cancer and one of the most aggressive tumors, malignant melanoma.
A surprise finding in subjects previously vaccinated against flu
A Canadian study is causing concern after reportedly identifying evidence of an increased risk for H1N1 infection among people who have previously been vaccinated with the seasonal influenza vaccine. The research is as yet unpublished but governments and the media are taking notice. 
"There is emerging unpublished evidence that suggests an association between prior seasonal flu vaccination and getting the H1N1 flu," explained Dr. Arlene King, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer. "The nature of the association is unclear at this time, so we want people under 65 to wait to get the seasonal flu shot until after the H1N1 flu vaccine until we learn more about this." 
As a result of these findings, Canadian public health officials are also considering delaying or even eliminating their usual seasonal flu vaccination clinics. To data five Canadian provinces have already suspended their seasonal flu vaccine campaigns.

According to articles by ABC News and other media outlets the study suggested that people who received a seasonal flu shot were about twice as likely to contract the swine flu compared with people who had not been vaccinated. The research was carried out by Dr. Danuta Skowronski of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and Dr. Gaston De Serres of Laval University. It involved approximately 2,000 people and is presently being peer-reviewed by an unnamed journal.  

U.S. and global health officials were surprised by the reported findings. The World Health Organization announced that it would investigate the study but stressed this pattern was not being observed elsewhere in the world.
We will monitor this situation carefully and report on any updates as they become available.
If you missed our two previous updates on the relationship between Vitamin D3 and flu , you can access them below:
 Vitamin D3 improves melanoma survival  
According to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology,  higher levels of Vitamin D3 are linked to less severe and less deadly forms of malignant melanoma. The findings provide more support for the idea that Vitamin D3 plays a critical role in the prevention and treatment of many forms of cancer. "It is important to avoid becoming deficient in vitamin D3," said Dr. Julia A. Newton-Bishop, a dermatology professor at the University of Leeds in England and a co-author of the study. "This is especially important for melanoma patients in whom low vitamin D levels appear to be harmful."

Dr. Newton-Bishop examined the medical records of 872 patients with melanoma and tried to link their Vitamin D3 levels to the severity of their lesions and their likelihood of surviving without a relapse.

Researchers found those with higher levels of Vitamin D had less severe lesions and a lower rate of relapse. There was approximately a 20% reduction in the risk of relapse and death with a 20nmol/L (8ng/ml) increase in serum level of Vitamin D. Dr Newton-Bishop concluded, "The research suggests that low levels of Vitamin D allow the melanoma tumors to grow better and, therefore, to be more of a threat to the patient."

The authors concluded that to boost Vitamin D levels, people with melanoma should take daily supplements, the authors concluded, and consume foods that contain vitamin D, such as fatty fish and some fortified cereals.
However, the study also showed that patients rarely had levels exceeding 55nmol/L (22ng/ml). Most Vitamin D experts agree that optimal levels are greater than 125nmol/L (50ng/ml). Once again patients were shown to bordering on Vitamin D deficiency and certainly had insufficient levels. One can only hypothesize what might be seen if patients had maintained optimal Vitamin D levels.
Ref: Newton-Bishop JA, et al. Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 Levels Are Associated With Breslow Thickness at Presentation and Survival From Melanoma. J Clin Oncol. 2009 Sep 21.
More data on Vitamin D's role in colorectal cancer
Yet another study was published in the September issue of the British Journal of Cancer that focused on the relationship between Vitamin D levels and surviving colon cancer. The link between low Vitamin D levels and colorectal cancer has been demonstrated in several previous studies.
This study assessed more than 1000 individuals diagnosed with colon cancer between 1986 and 2004. Patients had their Vitamin D levels estimated at the time of diagnosis and then followed. Based on their Vitamin D levels, patients were stratified into four groups. During the study period, those with the highest levels of vitamin D were found to have a 50% reduced risk of of dying from colon cancer compared to individuals with the lowest levels.
In addition, overall risk of mortality from any cause was reduced by 40% in those with with highest Vitamin D levels.
Once again, patients in the group with the highest levels of Vitamin D still only had levels between 29-34ng/ml.  As previously stated, optimal levels are now thought to be in excess of 50ng/ml which raises the question of what might have occurred if patients had maintained optimal levels.
Ref:Ng K, et al. Prospective study of predictors of vitamin D status and survival in patients with colorectal cancer. Br J Cancer. 2009;101(6):916-23
Vitamin D3 1000IU 
VitaminD3World's microtablet formulation 
VitaminD3World has launched the smallest Vitamin D3 microtablet in the world. Apart from being tiny, it is also virtually tasteless. 
The microtablets are formulated with cellulose, which rapidly absorbs water, resulting in a tablet that breaks down very quickly ensuring that the Vitamin D3 can be easily absorbed. These tiny tablets can be either swallowed, simply crushed up in your mouth or placed under the tongue until they disintegrate.  
Customers purchasing this new formulation can obtain free supplies of 400IU Vitamin D3 for their children. For more details, click here.

Editorial Comment
Our previous two updates have presented data suggesting that maintaining Vitamin D levels may protect from H1N1 infection. Those who have previously had seasonal influenza vaccinations may want to take particular note of this information.  The new data on Vitamin D in cancer patients only adds to the already significant database of similar findings. The findings in malignant melanoma are particularly encouraging as few drug therapies have been shown to have any effect on the outcome of this condition. Please forward this information to anyone who may be interested. If you have received this newsletter from a friend you can sign up to receive future updates here.