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Published on November 22, 2023

Cedric Garland, Dr. PH is the principal investigator of the vitamin D*action study and one of the world’s leading senior researchers and experts on vitamin D and cancer

Key Points

  • Thanks from Dr. Garland and GrassrootsHealth, to all participants, followers, and scientists, for helping to defeat any misinformation about vitamin D from those who oppose innovation in medicine and nutrition and are flummoxed by the amazing advances made in using vitamin D — safely, effectively, and inexpensively — to prevent diseases, and for some diseases, prevent complications and fatalities
  • Results from the VITAL study showed that, when deaths in the first two years were excluded, mortality was reduced by 25% in participants who received only 2,000 IU/day vitamin D3; that cut is halfway to the 50% cut in the overall cancer death rate being sought by President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot project
  • Research continues apace concerning substantial reduction in fatalities from COVID-19 due to vitamin D3, still inexplicably unheeded and disregarded by most public health authorities; this goes on despite numerous studies advancing and persuasively confirming the findings summarized by Grant et al.
  • We can be encouraged by progress made by the hard work of each participant and staff member of GrassrootsHealth and allied organizations the distinguished scientific acumen of the dedicated and innovative vitamin D scientists who personally have changed the world for the better

To all of our participants and all vitamin D researchers, scientists, and practitioners, and anyone who has taken strides to improve their health and the health of others by implementing what we have learned about vitamin D over the years:

THANK YOU for educating yourselves with the research, choosing to make a difference by keeping the momentum going for something that you helped to put into motion. Thanks too, for helping to defeat any misinformation about vitamin D from those who oppose innovation in medicine and nutrition and are flummoxed by the amazing advances made in using vitamin D — safely, effectively, and inexpensively — to prevent diseases, and for some diseases, prevent complications and fatalities.



Ecological studies by Gorham, Grant and others over many years, and early research by Apperly, stimulated clinical trials and cohort studies of vitamin D. The ecological studies were innovative and used NASA satellite data and multiple regression to isolate the profound effects of sunlight and vitamin D on cancer mortality rates.

This background led to the amazing and historic trial by Lappe, Heaney et al. (Am J Clin Nutr, 2007) and a cohort study by Lappe et al. and the GrassrootsHealth group (McDonnell et al., PLOS I, 2016) to confirm that vitamin D reduces overall cancer incidence by half to three-quarters.

This was followed by research from the distinguished Harvard group who found a substantial 17% reduction in cancer death rates in clinical trial participants who took a modest amount of vitamin D3 (2000 IU/day) compared to placebo (Manson J et al., NEJM 2019). During follow-up, 154 participants in the vitamin D group and 187 in the placebo group died from cancer (HR = 0.83 [95% CI 0.67–1.02]). Saving the lives of 33 people enrolled in a RCT from cancer death is reason to be encouraged, whether or not statistically significant beyond the p < 0.05 level. When deaths in the first two years were excluded, mortality was reduced by 25% in participants who received vitamin D3. In analyses restricted to cancer deaths with medical records or other adjudication of cause of death, the HRs were 0.72 (0.52–1.00) over total follow-up and 0.63 (0.43–0.92) after excluding the first 2 years (Chandler PD et al. Effect of Vitamin D3 Supplements on Development of Advanced Cancer: A Secondary Analysis of the VITAL Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Network Open 2020;3(11):e2025850). This 37% cut in the overall cancer death rate is approaching the 50% cut being sought by President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot project. Hurray for vitamin D3 and Manson and her colleagues for saving the lives of 33 participants in this RCT!

A revolutionary RCT by Kanno et al. reported this year that among digestive system cancer patients who had p53 immunoreactivity, relapses occurred within 5 years in 13 patients in the placebo group but only 1 patient in the group who received 2000 IU/day of vitamin D3 (hazard ratio = 0.27; 95% confidence interval, 0.11- 0.61). About half of all cancer patients have mutations of the p53 gene. Although 2000 IU/day did not appear to benefit patients who were not p53 immunoreactive, it would greatly improve relapse-free survival of hundreds of thousands of digestive system cancer patients each year worldwide who have these mutations.

These studies, among hundreds of other studies reporting vitamin D benefits, are reason enough to get almost everyone taking vitamin D of 4000 or more IU/day or as needed to achieve 40-60, and in some populations, possibly as high as 80 ng/ml.

And to expect from now forward that digestive system cancer patients who are p53 immunoreactive should receive repletion of their 25(OH)D to these concentrations.

In the meantime, distinguished work in laboratories led by Holick in Boston, Munoz and Palmer in Madrid, and Heide Cross in Vienna, among many other dedicated scientists, have revealed the profound mechanisms that vitamin D and its metabolites use to prevent cancer and its spread within the body.

Hollis, Wagner, and their colleagues have continued to reveal the power of vitamin D3 supplementation of at least 4000 IU/day in pregnancy to safely provide adequate maternal and neonatal serum 25(OH)D and foster better birth outcomes. Their research has overturned obsolete World War II-era concerns from Europe and the UK about vitamin D overdosage during pregnancy. We now know that almost every pregnant normocalcemic woman should receive 4000 IU/day of vitamin D3 during pregnancy.

A landmark paper on COVID-19 by Grant and colleagues was the most commonly cited vitamin D paper published in the past 5 years. It’s a historic accomplishment in acceptance of vitamin D against COVID-19. Research continues apace concerning substantial reduction in fatalities from COVID-19 due to vitamin D3, still inexplicably unheeded and disregarded by most public health authorities. This goes on despite numerous studies advancing and persuasively confirming the findings summarized by Grant et al.

A few of the cadre of scientists who have brought us to where we are today with vitamin D in combat against disease are mentioned here. There are many other scientists of great stature who have substantially contributed to continued progress but are not named; we will honor them as they continue to add to the research.

On a sad note, high incidence rates of type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis continue unabated. Most of this is due to the obliviousness of specialists and voluntary societies in the MS neurology and diabetes endocrinology communities to the powerful role of vitamin D – that vitamin D could prevent a clear majority of cases of these serious diseases.

In the meantime, while the medical and nutrition communities slowly catch on to the profound benefits available from vitamin D3 in prevention of many major cancers and reduction of their spread to remote sites, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, and COVID-19 complications and fatalities, among others, we can be encouraged by progress made by the hard work of each participant and staff member of GrassrootsHealth and allied organizations the distinguished scientific acumen of the dedicated and innovative vitamin D scientists who personally have changed the world for the better.

Thanks to each and every one of you!

Cedric F. Garland, Dr.P.H., F.A.C.E.
Professor Emeritus
Department of Family Medicine and Public Health
School of Medicine
University of California San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California 92093


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