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Low Levels Of Vitamin D Linked To Aggressive Prostate Cancer


Vitamin D is rarely out of the spotlight these days, and for good reason. It’s been found to have numerous health benefits from boosting immunity to lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and even cancer.

In a recent article, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Dr. Adam Murphy and his fellow researchers, from Northwestern University in the US, reported an association between low vitamin D levels and aggressive prostate cancer, which is associated with a less favourable chance of survival in comparison with nonaggressive forms of the disease.

The current study utilised data from a larger study involving 1,760 residents of the Chicago area, among whom 190 men underwent radical prostatectomies due to prostate cancer. Blood samples collected prior to surgery were analysed for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D – more commonly known as vitamin D3.

Eighty-seven men had signs of aggressive disease at the time of their surgeries. Having an insufficient vitamin D level of less than 30 nanograms per millilitre (ng/mL) was associated with a 2.64 times greater adjusted risk of adverse pathology compared with higher levels of the vitamin.

Vitamin D status could help determine the best course of treatment

The finding could aid in the prediction of which men would be appropriate candidates for active surveillance – otherwise known as ‘watchful waiting’ – which is an option for patients with nonaggressive prostate cancer.

Commenting on the findings, Dr. Murphy – who is an assistant professor of urology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine urologist – said: “Vitamin D deficiency may predict aggressive prostate cancer as a biomarker. Men with dark skin, low vitamin D intake or low sun exposure should be tested for vitamin D deficiency when they are diagnosed with an elevated PSA or prostate cancer. Then a deficiency should be corrected with supplements.”

“It’s very hard to have normal levels when you work in an office every day and because of our long winter. All men should be replenishing their vitamin D to normal levels. It’s smart preventive health care,” he added.

Unfortunately, most of us are deficient in this important vitamin and it is very difficult to boost your levels through dietary sources alone, as there are very few foods naturally high in it. Oily fish is the best source but you’d have to eat vast amounts each day to reach optimum levels.

Unless you live in a sunny locale – which certainly isn’t the case for those of us living in the UK, even during the summer months – then supplementing is the only way to successfully boost your levels. Many experts recommend that you take 2,000IU of vitamin D3 a day. For best absorption, take vitamin D supplements with meals that contain some fat.

Bear in mind all the material in this email alert is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.


Journal of Clinical Oncology, 22 February 2016 

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