Can Vitamin D Keep Prostate Cancer At Bay?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods. It is produced by your skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Some foods are fortified with vitamin D, and this vitamin is also available as a dietary supplement.

Vitamin D, which is both a vitamin and a hormone, helps maintain the immune system, cardiovascular system, cholesterol level, blood sugar level, among others. Studies have shown that Vitamin D may also keep low-grade prostate cancer from becoming aggressive.

What is Prostate Cancer?

The prostate is a small gland found in men. It is about the size of a walnut and is part of the reproductive system. Prostate cancer occurs when prostate cells grow abnormally and form clumps called tumors.

The exact cause of prostate cancer has not yet been identified, but researchers think it is a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors. Hormones called androgens have been found to play an important role in the development of prostate cancer.

Research has shown that there is a link between

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vitamin D and prostate cancer. According to studies, men with prostate cancer tend to have lower levels of vitamin D. Also, men with healthy levels of vitamin D tend to have lower rates of death from prostate cancer and less aggressive cancers.1

According to the American Chemical Society, taking vitamin D supplements could slow or even reverse the progression of less aggressive, or low-grade prostate tumors without the need for surgery or radiation. In cases of low-grade prostate cancer, the patients mainly resort to surgery or radiation therapy, which is probably worse than the disease.

Some patients undergo an elective prostatectomy, despite the risk of complications such as infection, urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

According to a study by Dr. Hollis and his team, when men with low-grade prostate cancer took vitamin D supplements for a year, 55 percent of them showed decreased Gleason scores (a standard scale to determine the aggressiveness of a tumor) or even complete disappearance of their tumors compared

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to their biopsies a year before.2

Researchers of the Institute of Population-based Cancer Research, Oslo, Norway found that the risk of death due to prostate cancer was lower for men with higher levels of vitamin D.3

How Does Vitamin D Help Keep Prostate Cancer At Bay?

Vitamin D can attach itself to the receptors present on the surface of a cell. By binding to these receptors, vitamin D sends chemical signals that direct cell division. The prostate tissue also has Vitamin D receptors, and vitamin D can bind to them. This may cause cancerous cells to die, stop growing, or stop spreading to other parts of the body. Therefore, it is thought that vitamin D may

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help in protecting against the progression of prostate cancer.

Supplementing with vitamin D may help to slow the growth of cancerous cells, as cells in the prostate are able to take the inactive form of vitamin D and activate it.

Cancer is associated with inflammation, especially in the prostate gland . Vitamin D has shown to cause dramatic changes in the expression levels of many cell lipids and proteins, particularly those involved in inflammation. Thus Vitamin D helps alleviate the inflammation within the gland.45

Sources of Vitamin D

Fish

The flesh of fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils are among the best sources.

Eggs and Dairy

Small amounts of vitamin D are found in cheese and egg yolks.

Mushrooms

Some mushrooms provide vitamin D2 in variable amounts.

Fortified Foods

Foods fortified with Vitamin D can provide most of the vitamin D.

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For example, milk, breakfast cereals often contain added vitamin D, as do some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine and other food products.

Sun exposure

Most people meet at least some of their vitamin D needs through exposure to sunlight.6

Dosage – If you have prostate cancer and want to take vitamin D, a dosage of less than 10,000 IU per day would be safe.7

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