Researchers worldwide have studied the effects of vitamins on cancers, including prostate cancer. One of the vitamins that have been identified as having an effect on prostate cancer is vitamin D.
The Progression of Prostate Cancer and Vitamin D
According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, Richard Martin and his team of researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom observed an association between vitamin D and the progression of prostate cancer.
Earlier studies have found some effect on the prevention of prostate cancer with high doses of vitamin D in men predisposed to the cancer. However, the studies were limited and results were inconclusive. Issues such as small sample size, poor recall of diet and non-standardized population, led to not having a good control group.
The study by Martin and team supported the association between vitamin D and aggressive prostate cancer but results were not enough to suggest correlation. In other words, it wasn’t enough to say that men who took high amounts of the vitamin prevented the onset of prostate cancer.
Additional research is needed to understand the association between vitamin D and prostate cancer. It can also lead to more information about vitamin D and how it can lead to the treatment of prostate cancer.
How Vitamin D Can Help the Prevention of Prostate Cancer
Vitamin D leads to the induction of cell cycle arrest and/or apoptosis. This inhibits the growth of normal prostatic epithelial cells. These cells are the primary cultures of the prostate cancer cells and prostate cancer cell lines.
Considerations About Vitamin D for Prostate Cancer Prevention and Treatment
The problem with taking too much vitamin D is that it can cause hypercalcemia - having too much calcium in the blood. It can also worsen pre-existing conditions.
When doctors mention a high dose of vitamin D for high risk prostate cancer patients or those already diagnosed prostate cancer patients, they weigh the risks vs. benefits of the therapy. To be clear, vitamin D is NOT established as a treatment for prostate cancer at this time. Most doctors only suggest it for those seeking information for ways to prevent or for alternative ways to treat their cancer.
Safe Doses of Vitamin D for Prostate Health
Most doctors recommend about ten minutes of direct sunlight a day to generate vitamin D and they believe this is the best way to support prostate health.
The American Academy of Dermatology disagrees and believes the safest way to get vitamin D is through supplements or foods. Adults up to 70 years old should have 600 international units (IUs) and those over 70 should have 800 IUs.
It’s easy to achieve these amounts with supplements as the IUs are on the bottle.
For those choosing to achieve sufficient levels of vitamin D via healthy eating, the following are the foods to eat:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Olive oil, nuts, and seeds
- Dairy products
When to Start Taking Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an important vitamin for bone and muscle development and health. Since most people get the amount they need from the sun and the foods they eat, most do not need to supplement until they are an adult or an older adult. This is when people begin to spend more time indoors and don’t eat as healthy of a diet leading to reduced levels of vitamin D.
Signs someone may need a vitamin D supplement area:
- Bone pain
- Bone loss
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle aches
- Mood changes
Consult your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms. The doctor can give you a blood test to find out if you are low on vitamin D and then you can start supplementing.