Vitamin D

Filed in Articles and Presentations on February 10, 2014

Vitamin D.  This much under recognised and not fully understood vitamin is crucial to preventing cancer due to its role in the metabolism of the body and bones. It has been shown that breast cancer in women can be inhibited by 63% when adequate levels of this vitamin are consumed.

What is also under recognised is that the thyroid gland, one of the sites of vitamin D metabolism, is involved in all forms of cancer not just thyroid cancer. Cancer is a metabolic endocrine disease where ever it occurs in the body as a tumour. Metabolic Endocrine Disease means Any disease which proliferates is a disease of growth ( as is cancer ) that growth is regulated /mediated by the function of metabolism which is in and of itself the sum of the biochemical processes needed to sustain life in the human body.   The thyroid is your endocrine metabolic conductor which plays the music according to the direction from the Hypothalamus axis in the brain where all the pre cursor chemicals are made for both neuroendocrine signalling and metabolism.  If your thyroid is not working properly then you have a ‘metabolic gate’ open to encourage disease such as cancer. The thyroid regulates all fuel ( glucose ) cells ( fat ) and DNA ( protein ).  The parathyroid embedded in the gland regulates serum calcium levels critical in heart and bone health.   In Ontario we have a population where the thyroid is regarded as being endemically sub clinical in function.  I.e. it is not working very well but under the OHIP system the importance of this poor function is not recognised as it is not considered acute medicine and therefore we should ignore the problem until it is acute. “Most doctors would not consider a thyroid examination on most healthy women of a normal age in a physical exam” Cathy Maclean Head of Dept. Family Medicine University of Calgary as quoted in the Globe & Mail Oct 24 2011.  This is absurd in a province where the proliferation of sub clinical hypothyroidism is well documented and shows a complete lack of understanding of the importance of this gland.  It also reflects a far more serious problem that OHIP is not concerned about prevention.

I have found in practise that many patients have been given a heart drug because their palpitations and blood pressure have been incorrectly diagnosed.  It is the thyroid sub function which is the cause not the heart rate or muscle.

The body works on a complex neuro-endocrine signalling mechanism involving feedback loops.  A comparison can be made with cars travelling along 401 type traffic highways and minor rural roads all with parking bays, traffic lights, policemen and traffic wardens.  Neuro hormones and their networks represent not only the signalling highways but also all the bodies’ built in check points to mitigate dysregulation.  Dysregulation is not confined to the thyroid gland itself as only 20 % of the conversion of Tsh, T4, T3, the major hormones takes place in the thyroid itself with the balance of 80%  all over rest of the body.

Lasting damage can be done in an extended period of poor function; this lack of prevention or consideration of long term issues leads in turn to an excessive use of surgery and radiation resulting in driving cancer rates up. It also leads to increases in infertility and diabetes pushing these rates up and costs to the public purse. It also often involves putting people and especially women on long term thyroxine which in itself leads to side effects which increase with age.

To help prevent cancer, this gland performance should not be ignored especially as in Ontario this is primarily due to nutrient deficiencies, lack of zinc, vitamin D, consumption of brominated flours etc. Given that diabetes type 11 and cancer are the top 2 causes of death in North America* it would be sensible and preventative to pay attention to thyroid health in an area which is known to be endemically populated with sub clinical hypothyroidism.

In breast cancer 80% of women in North America were found to have sub clinical hypothyroidism and it is known that in cases of sub clinical hyperthyroidism outcomes are worse. In prostate cancer, in kidney cancer, in lung cancer, in colon cancer, liver, pancreatic, bone and the blood cancers like leukaemia – the thyroid is always implicated.

In my practise I have found 100% of cancer patients have sub clinical thyroid conditions.

In Ontario, thyroid cancer is the fastest growing type of cancer, found in women more than men, and currently there is no effective conventional remedy and only 1 drug recently licensed for use in this disease. Sorafenib has only been shown to improve median survival time compared to placebo, there is no therapy proven to improve overall survival.   Treatments have been surgery and radiation. But radiation has shown to be the cause for most thyroid cancers!

Thyroid cancers are divided broadly into 4 categories, papillary, follicular, anaplastic and medullary.   Each has slightly different characteristics and outcomes.  However they are all a disease of endocrine metabolism. Many of these cancers in fact would have never developed if the protocol was to avoid radiation and treat the underlying nutrient deficiencies.  The issue of radiation is beginning to be recognised in the US with its widespread overuse and portability of machines leading to increased clinical revenues.  The FDA has actively called for a reduction in the use of radiation. In Ontario there is silence. Health Canada made a tentative statement pointing out that there is a 3% risk of cancer with every time there is a use of imaging such as Xrays, MRI’s etc.



JAMA. 2006 May 10;295(18):2164-7.Increasing incidence of thyroid cancer in the United States, 1973-2002.Davies L, Welch HG.VA Outcomes Group, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, White River Junction, Vt 05009, USA.

PLoS One. 2011; 6(9): e24792. Published online 2011 September 15. doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0024792Copyright Ayyasamy et al.)

Impaired glucose metabolism is a risk factor for increased thyroid volume and nodule prevalence in a mild-to-moderate iodine deficient area.  Anil C, et alMetabolism. 2013 Jul;62(7):970-5. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2013.01.009. Epub 2013 Feb 5).

Liu XH, Chen GG, Vlantis AC, Van Hasselt CA. Iodine mediated mechanisms and thyroid carcinoma. Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci (2009) 46:302–18.10.3109/10408360903306384 [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

Acta Med Austriaca. 2003;30(4):93-7 Possible consequences of sub clinical hypothyroidism

Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013

Kuehn BM JAMA 2010 303:124

Curr Opin Oncol. 2013 Nov 13. An update on clinical trials of targeted therapies in thyroid cancer.Haraldsdottir S, Shah MH. The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Originally published in the Oshawa/Durham Central

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