Low Vitamin D May Mean Aggressive Prostate Cancer
But men should not expect supplements to ward off fast-growing tumors, expert says
WEDNESDAY, March 2, 2016 — Prostate cancer may be more aggressive in men who are deficient in vitamin D, new research suggests.
A study of nearly 200 men having their prostate removed found those with low vitamin D levels were more likely to have rapidly growing tumors than those with normal levels of the “sunshine” vitamin.
“If men with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to have at the time of prostate surgery, then perhaps men should be tested for this when they are diagnosed with prostate cancer and subsequently supplemented with vitamin D if they are deficient,” said researcher Dr. Adam Murphy. He is an assistant professor of urology at Northwestern University in Chicago.
However, another expert isn’t ready to go that far.
This study can’t prove that vitamin D deficiency causes aggressive prostate cancer, only that the two are associated, said Dr. Anthony D’Amico, chief of radiation oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
But D’Amico thinks the results are important enough to spur further study into the possible connection between vitamin D and prostate cancer. “It’s a hypothesis that’s worth testing,” he said.
For now, though, D’Amico doesn’t think enough evidence exists to recommend vitamin D supplements to prevent prostate cancer or make it less aggressive.
The report was published online recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
How Does Vitamin D Work In Preventing And Supporting Traditional Oncology In Prostate Cancer Care Is High Dose Vitamin D A Stand Alone Treatment
In the 30 years since the above study was published, the use of high dose vitamin D supplementation remains controversial. The reason it is controversial is because there are many studies that say vitamin D supplementation IS beneficial in preventing and managing prostate cancer and there are many studies that suggest that vitamin D supplementation is NOT beneficial. The negative findings are usually studies where vitamin D supplementation is given as a stand alone treatment. This why at the onset of this article we suggested that vitamin D is not a magic bullet treatment, it needs to be part of a comprehensive program.
Lets look at some recent research which should help clarify this information.
In May of 2018, researchers at Inova Schar Cancer Institute wrote:
While vitamin D3 compounds have shown encouraging activity in pre-clinical models, single agents usually have limited effect in clinical cancer therapy.
Vitamin D3 compound-based combination therapies may be much more effective working in concert with other treatments.
This research centered on vitamin Ds ability to disrupt cancer cell signalling. Simply cancer cells ability to communicate within itself and its surroundings to alter its environment to make itself more comfortable and more deadly. The researchers found that vitamin D supplementation worked well with many chemotherapy drugs in disrupting cancer cell communications which lead to cancer cell death.
The many factors affecting vitamin D supplementation
Other Studies On Vitamin E And Prostate Cancer
A 1999 cohort study published in the journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention showed that vitamin E supplementation can reduce the risk of prostate cancer, especially among smokers.
A paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America in 2002 showed that vitamin E improved prostate health and reduced the risk of prostate cancer by suppressing PSA and androgen receptors in the prostate.
Large studies seem to agree that vitamin E supplementation reduces the risk of prostate cancer among smokers even when there is no consensus on such protection among non-smokers.
Vitamin K also refers to a group of fat-soluble compounds. The 2 natural vitamers of vitamin K are vitamin K1 or phylloquinone and vitamin K2 or menaquinone.
Unlike the synthetic vitamins K3, K4 and K5, these natural forms of vitamin K are non-toxic.
The anticancer effects of vitamin K are well-studied. It has been shown to be useful in the prevention and treatment of cancers affecting the liver, lung, breast, colon, stomach and the oral cavity.
The combination of vitamins C and K had 5 20 times the efficacy of each of the two vitamins in the treatment of prostate cancer.
This long-term, cohort study tested the anticarcinogenic activities of vitamin K1 and K2.
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Overview Of Cam Use In Prostate Cancer
- Men who have prostate cancer are more likely to take dietary supplements and eat certain foods than men who do not have prostate cancer.
- Men who have prostate cancer and who have healthy eating habits are more likely to take dietary supplements.
- Men who have prostate cancer use CAM treatments to help boost the immune system, improve quality of life, and lower the risk of the cancer coming back, but only half of them tell their doctors about their use of CAM.
Studies of CAM use to lower prostate cancer risk or to prevent it from coming back have shown the following:
- A study of men with a family history of prostate cancer found that over half used vitamins or other dietary supplements for prostate health or to prevent cancer.
- A study of men at a prostate cancer screening clinic found that over half took multivitamins and some took herbal supplements.
- A study of prostate cancer survivors found that up to one-third took vitamins or minerals.
Sunlight And Prostate Cancer Risk
Since UVB promotes the synthesis of vitamin D3, sunlightmay indirectly affect the risk of prostate cancer. Multiple studies havebeen conducted to evaluate the association between sun exposure andprostate cancer risk.
Hanchette and Schwartz analyzed death secondary to prostate cancer inrelation to sunlight exposure and found a negative correlation i.e., patients exposed to more sunlight were less likely to die from prostate cancer.10A case-control study by John et al revealedan important role for sun exposure and VDR polymorphisms in the etiologyof prostate cancer a reduced risk of prostate cancer was observed withhigh sun exposure and high occupational outdoor exposure.28Additionally, in a cohort study by de Vries et al, skin cancer patientshad a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer compared with thegeneral population , particularly shortly after diagnosis.29 Severalstudies suggest that host factors may affect UVB-induced vitamin Dsynthesis and that polymorphisms that mediate vitamin D effectivenessmay determine the association between sunlight exposure and prostatecancer risk.3,30-33
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Serum Vitamin D And Prostate Cancer Risk
The association between serum vitamin D levels and prostate cancer has been investigated in multiple observational studies. TABLE 1 summarizes these studies in detail.1,2,4,7,11,19-26
Schwartz and Hulka proposed protective effects of vitamin D againstprostate cancer, noting that prostate cancer incidence increased withage and vitamin D levels decreased with age.27 Additionally,mortality rates from prostate cancer in the U.S.were inverselycorrelated with UVB, a primary source of vitamin D.
Ahonen et al conducted a nested case-control study within a cohort of18,966 men aged 40 to 55 years from the Helsinki Heart Study.4 Low 25D levels were associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.4In a case-control study, Li et al evaluated a large number of prostatecancer patients and cancer-free controls from the Physicians HealthStudy.7 A significantly increased risk of aggressive prostatecancer was observed in subjectswhose 25D and 1,252D levels were below the median.The median plasma level of 25D was 25 ng/mL for winter-springcollection and 32 ng/mL for summer-autumn collection. The median plasmalevel of 1,252D was 32 ng/mL and did not differ according to collection period.7
Why The Interest In Vitamin D And Prostate Cancer Anti
The idea that vitamin D supplementation may assist men with prostate cancer is far from a new idea. Decades of research have speculated that there is some connection between vitamin D deficiency and prostate cancer.
In 1990, doctors at the University of North Carolina presented a hypothesis in the journal Anticancer research
Prostate cancer is a major cause of cancer death among males, yet little is known about its etiology. We hypothesize that Vitamin D deficiency may underlie the major risks for prostate cancer, including age, Black race, and northern latitudes . These factors all are associated with decreased synthesis of Vitamin D. Mortality rates from prostate cancer in the U.S. are inversely correlated with ultraviolet radiation, the principal source of Vitamin D . This hypothesis is consistent with known antitumor properties of Vitamin D, and may suggest new avenues for research in prostate cancer.
This paper has been cited by over 70 research papers on the links connecting vitamin D and prostate cancer. As this paper points out, research had been underway that found vitamin D has known anti-tumor properties. The connection they made was that deficiency of vitamin D robbed a mans body of these anti-tumor properties and made men more vulnerable to prostate cancer.
Lets start moving our research updates to 2021.
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Lifestyle Tips For Managing Bph
Lifestyle tips that may help someone manage the symptoms of an enlarged prostate include the following:
- Attempt to urinate at least once before leaving home to avoid urinary leakage or other incidents in public that can be very stressful and embarrassing.
- Double void by trying to urinate again a few minutes after urinating the first time, to drain the bladder as much as possible during bathroom visits.
- Try not to drink fluids in the 2 hours before bedtime to avoid going to sleep with a full bladder.
- Try to stay hydrated by drinking at least 2 liters of water daily.
- Try maintaining a healthy body weight as much as possible.
- Exercise regularly and as often as possible.
- Try not to drink too much at one time.
- Try to reduce or avoid stress to reduce the urge for urination.
- Avoid or limit products that cause dehydration, such as cold medications and decongestants
- Use absorbent urinary pads or pants to absorb urine leaks and decrease wetness and discomfort.
- Use urinary sheaths, which are condom-shaped and fit over the penis to drain urine into a small bag strapped to the leg.
- Use urethral massage, after urinating, by gently pressing the fingers upwards from the base of the scrotum to try to squeeze out any urine left in the urethra and prevent any leakage later.
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Screening For And Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
Some doctors implement routine screens for prostate cancer after youre 50 years old. The digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen blood test are two initial tests that help your doctor diagnose prostate cancer.
During a DRE, your doctor will insert their finger into your rectum to check the size, shape, and texture of your prostate.
Your doctor will likely perform a PSA blood test during the same appointment. This test checks the level of PSA in your bloodstream. The higher the PSA level, the more likely it is that you have a problem with your prostate.
If your rectal exam or PSA tests are abnormal, your doctor may order an ultrasound or a prostate biopsy to assess whether you have prostate cancer.
research shows that vitamin D slows prostate cancer growth, safety concerns exist. High doses of vitamin D may cause hypercalcemia. This occurs when you have too much calcium in your blood. Too much vitamin D may also worsen some pre-existing conditions.
A less toxic form of vitamin D may be a treatment option, but more research is necessary to prove its effective and safe. As a result, vitamin D isnt an established treatment for prostate cancer at this time.
Vitamin D And Prostate Cancer
Richard Martin and his team observed association between vitamin D and more aggressive cancers, which indicates the potential role for vitamin D manipulation to control the progression of prostate cancer
- Topic:Prostate cancer
Association of circulating vitamin D metabolite levels with incidence and progression of screen-detected prostate cancer.
Zinc Transporter And Prostate Cancer
Zinc homeostasis is likely maintained by the activities of a group of zinc transporters in the cell plasma membrane and intracellular organelles. At least ten ZnT and fourteen Zip family members have been identified in mammals, and their tissue expression, cellular localization and regulation are very different .
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Is Zinc Good For An Enlarged Prostate
We have already noted that zinc plays a role in the immune system. We also cited a study that showed how zinc modulated certain transcription factors and, in turn, has a role in inflammatory responses.
Another study, published in the Journal of Inflammopharmacology, looked at how zinc affected inflammatory responses throughout the entire human body.
The researchers behind the study explain that the mineral zinc influences the specific immune responses that are involved in inflammation. Appropriate levels of the zinc mineral in the human body seem to exhibit an anti-inflammatory effect.
Since it has been established that zinc does play a role in the regulation of inflammatory responses, we can proceed to look at what an enlarged prostate is.
While the cause behind this condition still remains a mystery in many cases, researchers do know that an enlarged prostate means there is inflammation affecting this particular gland.
A clinical trial, published in the Indian Journal of Urology, looked at the zinc status of patients who had previously been diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia . There was also a group of patients with prostate carcinoma involved in the study the same tests were performed on participants in this group.
Levels of zinc were measured in prostate tissue. Researchers also tested the zinc/creatinine ratio in the urine of all participants who were part of the study.
What Is The Evidence That Vitamin D Can Help Reduce The Risk Of Cancer In People
A number of epidemiologic studies have investigated whether people with higher vitamin D intakes or higher blood levels of vitamin D have lower risks of specific cancers. The results of these studies have been inconsistent, possibly because of the challenges in carrying out such studies. For example, dietary studies do not account for vitamin D made in the skin from sunlight exposure, and the level of vitamin D measured in the blood at a single point in time may not reflect a personâs true vitamin D status. Also, it is possible that people with higher vitamin D intakes or blood levels are more likely to have other healthy behaviors. It may be one of these other behaviors, rather than vitamin D intake, that influences cancer risk.
Several randomized trials of vitamin D intake have been carried out, but these were designed to assess bone health or other non-cancer outcomes. Although some of these trials have yielded information on cancer incidence and mortality, the results need to be confirmed by additional research because the trials were not designed to study cancer specifically.
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Questions And Answers About Soy
The soybean plant has been grown in Asia for food for hundreds of years. The soybean can be made into products, such as soy milk, miso, tofu, soy flour, and oil.
Isoflavones are phytoestrogens that attach to estrogen receptors found in prostate cancercells. Genistein may affect some processes inside prostate cancer cells that are involved in the growth and spread of cancer.
Soy may be eaten in food or taken in dietary supplements.
See the Laboratory/Animal/Preclinical Studies section of the health professional version of Prostate Cancer, Nutrition, and Dietary Supplements for information on laboratory and animal studies done using soy.
Population studies and clinical trials have been done to find out if soy can prevent or treat prostate cancer. The results of these studies have been mixed. Some studies have shown a lower risk of prostate cancer or a change in prostate-specific antigen level, and others have not. The results may be mixed because the number of men participating in the studies is small and different types and doses of soy products were given for varying lengths of time.
Combined population studies
How Do You Tell Others About Vitamin D
Mike and his dog Morkie
I tell others with or without cancer to see their doctor and first establish their baseline of D. Test once in the winter and once in the summer. I have lectured twice for my church and at an AARP event. All those old folks do not take vitamin D, only one person out of a hundred was taking vitamin D when I asked for a show of hands.
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Dietary Vitamin D And Prostate Cancer Risk
The association between dietary factors and prostate cancer has been investigated in several epidemiological studies. The results of these studies are mostly conflicting or negative,, , but some dietary components are consistently associated with prostate cancer, for example, high intakes of linolenic acid , , , , and calcium., summarizes the epidemiological studies on the association between vitamin D intake and prostate cancer risk. A study found that there is an increased incidence of prostate cancer in migrant Asians as they adopt a Western diet, that is, lacking the large amount of vitamin-D-rich fish oil. In 1992, Hanchette and Schwartz pointed out that men in the United States were 10 times more likely to develop prostate cancer than men in Japan, where men consume higher amounts of vitamin D because of their consumption of fatty fish. Furthermore, traditional Japanese men consume higher quantities of omega-3 fatty acids than their American counterparts. These fats are known to dissociate vitamin D metabolites from their binding protein, thus raising active levels of those metabolites in the blood.
Table 1 Vitamin D intake and prostate cancer risk