Vitamin D deficiency linked to Diabetes, Cancer and Depression

Aquasource Vitamin DUK Government acknowledges that Vitamin D deficiency is now widespread

We are all aware that over exposure to the sun may cause skin cancers and premature ageing. But by avoiding sunshine we may be damaging our health as we need it to make Vitamin D.

The importance of Vitamin D cannot be stressed too strongly.

This September 2013 AquaSource was invited to a reception at the House of Commons, in Westminster, to discuss the importance of vitamin D.

Several prominent Members of Parliament spoke up to say that they were aware of the importance of supplementing with the ‘sunshine vitamin’.

Expert scientists in the field, politicians and Doctors, including the British Medical Association (BMA), all agree on the importance of supplementing with vitamin D alongside the right kind of calcium, and the pressing need to communicate this message to the general public.

In some areas, Doctors have seen the return of illnesses such as Rickets, which is due to vitamin D and calcium deficiency. (Soft and weak bones, painful bones, floppy limbs, protruding tummy, weak tooth enamel, spinal deformities and many other distressing symptoms.) Vitamin D is needed in the body to help calcium do its job properly, so in the case of rickets it’s not just a matter of supplementing with calcium alone.

The people most at risk of being deficient in vitamin D include:

  • those living in Northern climates
  • all pregnant and breastfeeding women, babies and young children under the age of five
  • older people aged 65 years and over
  • people who are not exposed to much midday sun, such as people who cover up their skin when outdoors, or those who are housebound or confined indoors for long periods
  • people who have darker skin such as people of African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin


Vitamin D deficiency has increased in the UK in recent years and with our busy and largely indoor modern lifestyles it is likely that many of us are not getting sufficient sun exposure.

Fifteen minutes of sun exposure (when the sun is high in the sky, such as midday) is equivalent to approximately 10,000 IU of Vitamin D – this will be stored by the body and used over the winter months.

In the winter months many (perhaps the majority) of us are deficient in this important Vitamin.

The last few years have seen increasing numbers of studies that link Vitamin D deficiency with a myriad of serious health conditions.

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Vitamin D deficiency linked to bone fractures
The American Medical Association Journal recently published studies that confirmed Vitamin D supplements aided in the prevention of hip and non-vertebral fractures compared with subjects taking only calcium supplements.

The elderly more likely to be admitted to nursing homes
Studies in the US have shown that Vitamin D deficiency is widespread among nursing home residents.

Among the elderly, Vitamin D deficiency accelerates age-related decline in health. Older people are also at an increased risk of being admitted to a nursing home, a 2006 study shows. They were also more likely to be:

  • Incontinent
  • Less mobile
  • Cognitively impaired or depressed
  • Suffering from arthritis


Women with the lowest vitamin D levels had five times higher risk for breast cancer
A study published in the European Journal of Cancer, May 2005 showed that women with levels of Vitamin D less than 20 ng/ml were more than FIVE times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women with levels above 60 ng/ml.

Link Between Vitamin D Deficiency and Cancer
More than 200 epidemiological studies have confirmed the link between vitamin D deficiency and certain cancers, and more than 2,500 laboratory studies have increased understanding of its physiological basis.

According to Professor epidemiologist Cedric Garland from the UC San Diego School of Medicine, 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancers could be prevented each year if vitamin D levels among populations worldwide were increased. And that’s just counting the death toll for two types of cancer.

A large-scale, randomized, placebo-controlled study on vitamin D and cancer showed that vitamin D can cut overall cancer risk by as much as 60 percent. (1) This was such groundbreaking news that the Canadian Cancer Society has actually begun endorsing the vitamin as a cancer-prevention therapy.

A study by Dr. William Grant, Ph.D., internationally recognized research scientist and vitamin D expert, found that about 30 percent of cancer could be prevented each year with higher levels of vitamin D.

Blood sugar levels closely associated with levels of vitamin D
Researchers in Australia added to the growing evidence that sun avoidance may have helped cause the epidemic of type 2 diabetes. The Australians’ findings were straightforward and powerful. The higher your vitamin D level, the lower your blood glucose. (Clinical Endocrinology (Oxf). 2005 June)

Severe Vitamin D deficiency is associated with chronic pain
Researchers in England found that 88 percent of their patients with chronic pain had levels of Vitamin D less than 10 ng/ml. Another study carried out in Switzerland showed that many patients treated for chronic pain with Vitamin D experienced complete remission of pain.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked with Parkinson’s Disease, Prostate Cancer, Colon Cancer and Multiple Sclerosis

So enjoy the sun, take up its benefits, but make sure this is from safe exposure.

As a very general guide, you need to expose about 40 percent of your entire body for approximately 20 minutes to the sun, between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, when the sun is at its zenith. If the sun is lower in the sky, that is, below 50 degrees from the horizon, the UVB rays will not reach the earth (they will not penetrate the ozone layer when the sun is low in the sky, or close to the horizon). You will, however, be exposed to the more damaging UVA rays, which can cause skin cancers and ageing.

Therefore, unless you live in a country where you can benefit from frequent sun, without cloud, and sufficient warmth (and time and opportunity) to expose 40 percent of your body for 20 minutes during the two hours before and two hours after midday, it would be wise to take a quality vitamin D supplement.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;85(6):1586-91.
Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial.
Lappe JM, et al.
Osteoporosis Research Center, Creighton University, Omaha, NE 68131, USA.