Here’s a simple* way to reduce your cancer risk by a third

I spend about 20% of my time researching cancer therapy companies. I’ve done quite well investing in them. In my stock letter, I’ve suggested many 5-20 baggers. As my subscribers know, I have a multifactor model that is good at finding the winners in biotech.

I expect many more winners in cancer therapy. About five years ago, while researching an investing column a University of Pennsylvania cancer therapy researcher told me that cancer will be a “manageable disease” in ten years. The timeline may have been ambitious, but as I look at all the amazing research breakthroughs happening or about to happen, I get what he means. We have learned so much about the genome, cell signaling, and how to help the immune system fight cancer, the progress is tremendous. And there is much more to come. I am currently researching two new cancer therapy companies (recent IPOs) I will soon put in my stock letter.

However, the best way to “cure” any disease is prevention. And here’s a simple way to put the odds on your side with cancer.

Vitamin D and cancer

Take Vitamin D. The dose you need: 2,000 IU per day. This was confirmed by a study just published by JAMA (link below). The study found that this dose reduced cancer risk by as much as 38%.

But there’s a catch. (Remember I put the asterix on “simple” in the headline?) The Vitamin D effect does not work if you are overweight. Your body mass index (BMI) must be less than 25.

Now, the athletes and mathematicians among you will be quick to point out the BMI is not perfect. It penalizes people with a lot of muscle mass (muscle is denser so it throws off the formula) and tall people (height also throws off the formula). But for most people, the BMI index is a good guide. (Otherwise, the mirror always works, but this allows denial to creep in to the evaluation, so be careful.)

Losing weight

Losing weight brings many health benefits, and now we see that putting the Vitamin D anti-cancer effect on your side is one more.

Losing weight is not easy, but it is not that difficult either. Years ago, I dropped about a third of my body weight after a health scare woke me up. After about a year of trial and error, and weight loss rabbit holes, I found that there are really just three keys to losing weight.

* One is to understand the glycemic index and glycemic impact of foods (look up the list of low impact foods and favor them in your diet). Eating these foods delays the onset of hunger longer, and they also reduce the risk of adult onset diabetes (Type II). They don’t spike your blood sugar, so they put less stress on the insulin system, which basically stops working if you regularly spike your blood sugar. (Insulin helps manage sugar levels in the blood.)

* Another key is the power of habit. It takes about 21 days to form a new habit. This means if you do something for 21 days it becomes normal to you, and your old ways, your old eating habits, feel odd to you. People will quibble about how long it takes to form new habits, but you get the point. The bottom line here is that it’s not about “going on a diet,” but it’s about changing your diet. And your lifestyle.

* This brings us to the third factor, motivation. It’s not easy to give up the food you think you love. But not that hard, either, if you put the power of habit on your side. Many people need a health scare to ramp up motivation. Vanity, and a general background awareness of the need to lose weight may not be enough. (Scripts for meds that manage blood pressure and cholesterol etc. may really just be “permission slips” for bad behavior.)

But going for the Vitamin D effect might do the trick, too. You want to increase your health span in life (not just your life span), and avoiding cancer is a big part of this, since many cancer therapies damage the body.

Good luck!

You can see the JAMA study which found the cancer benefits of Vitamin D here.

You can find a BMI calculator here.

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