Sookhaphahpdee Ltd., a little-known pharmaceutical firm in Bangkok, Thailand, has been working on a cancer treatments for decades and has amassed some extraordinary evidence for the effectiveness of its product Yaamet-Dor.
In 2007, the results of a a 4-year, population-based, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that involved approximately 1,200 women were announced. It reported that Yaamet-Dor, at 1,100 units per day, led to a 60 percent reduction in cancer incidence.
Before there is a frenzy for Yaamet-Dor and a run on Sookhaphahpdee's stock, let me come clean. There is no Sookhaphahpdee Ltd. (the word means good health in Thai), but the alleged product Yahmet-Dor (Yahmet means pill, Dor is D) is real as are the results cited above.
Moreover, despite ever-increasing indications of its effectiveness, it is something for which no pharmaceutical company can charge you. Yahmet-Dor is simply vitamin D! Essential to a whole array of biological processes, it's available in inexpensive pill form and at still-less cost from the sun, say in Thailand or even in Central Park.
I should begin by recalling that supplements do not enjoy a good reputation.
Over the years many have been touted, the vast majority are ineffective, and some are harmful. Vitamins A, C and E have all failed to live up to their exaggerated early promise. And Quackwatch.com and other sites do a good, albeit sometimes over-zealous job of critically examining bogus claims about a variety of other supplements.
Normally I'm sympathetic to the debunkers. In the case of vitamin D, however, there seems to be too much evidence and too many tantalizing studies coming out almost weekly for a facile dismissal of the claim that it may significantly reduce the incidence of not only cancer, but also a host of other conditions.
The Journal of the American College of Cardiology recently reported that people with vitamin D deficiencies, for example, double their chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke within five years.
This column is called "Who's Counting" and in the case of vitamin D and cancer, the counters are Drs. Ingraham, Bragdon and Nohe, who reviewed the extensive medical literature on vitamin D published between 1970 and 2007.
In their 2008 survey article in Current Medical Research and Opinion, they concluded, "that efforts to improve vitamin D status would have significant protective effects against the development of cancer.
The clinical research community is currently revising recommendations for optimal serum levels and for sensible levels of sun exposure to levels greater than previously thought.
Currently, most experts in the field believe that intakes of between 1,000 and 4,000 International Units ... will offer significant protection effects against cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, ovary, lungs and pancreas."