The Sunshine Vitamin & Cancer Prevention. Why Your Health Depends On It.


Hello Sunshine! Did you Get Your D Today??

I just enjoyed a nice bacon & egg breakfast and now I’m going to grab a book & relax in the sun. I have the basics to make some good quality vitamin D!

Vitamin D is made in your skin from sunlight and cholesterol.

Yes! Cholesterol does have many important functions in the body.  Hence the bacon & eggs:)

You could not survive without cholesterol. It gives stability to your cell membranes and it is the primary ingredient in many of your hormones. Including your sex hormones and steroid hormones.


Did you know that vitamin D is not really a vitamin? It’s actually a steroid hormone performing repairs and maintenance in your body all the time.

It starts out in pre-hormone form in your skin and then makes a couple stops through your liver and kidneys to be converted into the usable version of Vitamin D. The rest is stored for a rainy day…. or winter.

We all know that Vitamin D is imperative for strong bones and teeth. That’s because it assists in bone building and calcium absorption.

But did you know that Vitamin D is also anti inflammatory and helps with autoimmune conditions by regulating the immune system?

It is also especially important during pregnancy!  Adequate Vita D greatly reduces the risk of complications and increases the chances of having a healthy, happy baby!


Per Dr. Mercola “The majority of cancer deaths in the U.S. are from vitamin-D-sensitive cancers”.

There is a lot of research indicating that a huge number of cancer diagnosises could be prevented just by keeping adequate levels of Vitamin D!

Vita D helps the immune system prevent cancer by assisting in the recognition of good cells vs cancer cells AND encourages cancer cells to self destruct. It also helps to keep cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body.


I recently read that by having your vitamin D level at a modest 30 ng/ml at the time of cancer diagnosis more than doubles your chance of long term survival!

Vitamin D is an ingredient in the glue that holds epithelial cells together. Epithelial cells are cells that line the body’s parts. Like your gut lining!! Deficiency of vitamin D causes this glue to break down which weakens the cell’s structure. When cells are weak they do what they are programmed to do as a survival mechanism and reproduce.

This rapid reproduction of weak or malformed cells is the beginning cancer.



Vitamin D also prevents cancer from creating it’s own blood supply which is the blood vessel formation called angiogenesis.


Vitamin D also has a regulatory effect on estrogen.


Estrogen dominance is an extremely common problem and is also believed to play a role in development of breast cancer as well as other female cancers.

Guys…I’m talking to you too.  You can also become estrogen dominant and breast cancer does happen in men too.  This is a really BIG incentive to pay attention to what you’re eating!  A poor diet with a lot of sugar and processed foods can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain.  Both of which can result in overproduction of estrogen.

Excess fat acts like an endocrine organ and produces estrogen.  So that beer belly might not be as masculine as you think;)


Vitamin D Influences over 2,000 Genes in your body!

Just because you have a genetic pre-disposition for a particular disease, it doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to develop that condition. In many cases of disease, something needs to be present to cause that “bad” gene to express itself.  Its like a switch that flips on in the presence of a negative influence.  This is called epigenetics.

Just like we want our kids to hang around friends that are good influences, we definitely want to have good influences surrounding our genes as well.  Vitamin D is a good influence!


People with darker skin have a higher risk of Vitamin D Deficiency.

Here is a good example of how ancestry comes into play in your health. If your skin is dark it is because your ancestors spent a lot of time in the sun.  They didn’t just work really hard on their tan.  The extra pigment is a protection mechanism designed to mediate the production of Vitamin D. This is important because TOO MUCH vitamin D is toxic!  It is believed that over production of vitamin D is what causes the symptoms of sun poisoning.

This worked great for people that were out in the sun all day BUT in the U.S. today,  people spend a lot of time inside. And in some areas there is not that much sunlight throughout the year. If you are engineered to limit vitamin D production and you don’t expose yourself to the sun very often, you’re not going to make that much vitamin D.

If you have a darker complexion I would recommend making a point to get out in the sun!   If that’s not realistic for you, having your vitamin D levels checked regularly is important.  If your levels are low, supplemental Vitamin D or even special UVB tanning beds might be a great way to go.


Vitamin D makes you Happy!

sol fest sun

Did you ever wonder why being in the sun makes you feel happy? It’s because vitamin D is a natural antidepressant! Why do you think people flock to places with a lot of sunshine for Vacation every year?

It is common for people to experience some level of depression during winter months.  In fact, one of the questions on my Nutritional Assessment Questionnaire is “Do you experience depression during winter months?”.   This is a clue as to a person’s vitamin D status.

There have been some really cool studies on the connection between crime and vitamin D levels in areas with low annual sunshine.


To get a good dose of vitamin D, you want to have at least 40% of your body exposed to the sun for 20 minutes.

The best time of the day is between 12 & 2 or when you are taller than your shadow. This is when the highest amount of UVB rays are present. It’s those UVB rays that help you make Vita D.


What about Sunscreen?


If you are going to be out in the sun longer 20 minutes and need to protect yourself from burning please look for sunscreens options that do not contain toxic chemicals like oxybenzone. This is the most common chemical used in sunscreens in the US and possibly the most damaging. These chemicals absorb directly into the bloodstream through the skin. Studies have shown these chemicals to be disruptive to thyroid and reproductive hormones.  Please do your research before slathering this stuff on your developing kids!

Mineral based sunscreens with less toxic additives may be a better option.  Maybe something Zinc Based.  Most people could use a little extra zinc!


Some Vita D can be found in Food


 One more Reason Why Butter is Better!!!

Vitamin D can be found in “Quality”:

  • Butterfat
  • Egg yolks
  • Fish oils
  • Shellfish
  • Beef Liver
  • Grass Fed Raw Dairy (Grass Fed is important here because cows manufacture Vita D when they eat grass)


You can also supplement but it is imperative to look for the correct form of Vita D.


You want to look for the usable form which is D3.

A lot of lesser quality supplement companies sell D2 which is a synthetic form of vitamin D and your body has a hard time converting it to the usable form.


Statistics show that cancer risk increases more and more the farther away from the equator you go.

If you live in an area with low annual sunshine it might be a good idea to consider supplementing with Vitamin D.

Always have your levels checked before starting a vitamin D supplementation protocol.

It’s a simple blood test and its fairly cheep (I’ve seen it as low as $47).  If you want to order it for yourself you can go through a direct to consumer lab testing company like this one.   You buy the test from them, and they will send you your blood draw order.  Easy Peasy!!  Or, if you are one of my Nutritional Therapy Clients, I can order it for you it.

If your doctor orders it, you can ask them to check if it is covered by your insurance.


Don’t forget that D doesn’t work alone!

You need to have vita K2 in order for your body to convert stored vita D into the active Vita D. There’s no coincidence that vitamin K is found right along with Vita D in the foods mentioned above. It always fascinates me how Mother Nature perfectly packages our food!

Vita K is also found in your green leafies and it is also made by those helpful friendly gut bugs! (Be careful with supplementing or ingesting high Vita K foods if you are taking blood thinning medication. It can have the opposite effect that the medication is intended for!)

You also need to consider the other co factors that need to be present for Vitamin D to work and your Nutritional Therapist can help you to make sure you have a good balance of nutrition for this process to run smoothly.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin so its optimal utilization is going to be dependent upon your fatty acid status and adequate cholesterol.


This is another reason to make sure you are getting plenty of good healthy fats in your diet!!! You need them to take full advantage of Vitamin D! The receptors for vitamin D are in the cell membranes and the cell membranes are made out of fat! The cell membrane is really the powerhouse of the cell so you want to have those membranes nice and strong and in good working order!



Sea water contains magnesium chloride which is important for overall health and may even directly help with healthy hair growth

And what about your Lovely Locks??  They need Vitamin D too!

For more information on vitamin D deficiency and hair loss, check out this great article from!


So all of this being said, what are you going to do today?

I’m gonna go outside and get some Vitamin D?




Post By: Hollie Donelson, NTP

Happy Tummies of The Lowcountry, LLC

167 A Bluffton Rd.

Bluffton/Hilton Head, SC




Please note. I am not a Doctor.  The content on this site is not intended as medical advice. Always check with your doctor before starting any type of health or nutritional protocol especially if you are being treated for or have been diagnosed with a medical condition.





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