Vitamin D as an alternative to surgery/radiation in prostate cancer

22 Mar 2015

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, as reported by a new study.

Bruce Hollis, Ph.D., from the Medical University of South Carolina, whose previous research had shown positive outcomes of vitamin D supplements in prostate cancer, led a new randomized, controlled clinical trial of 37 patients. In the trial, the patients undergoing elective prostatectomies, were assigned either to a group that received 4,000 U of vitamin D per day, or to a placebo group that didn't receive vitamin D. The men's prostate glands were removed and examined 60 days later.

“Vitamin D is really fighting this inflammation within the prostate gland"

Preliminary results from this study indicate that:

  • Many of the men who received vitamin D showed improvements in their prostate tumors whereas
  • The tumors in the placebo group either stayed the same or got worse.
  • Also, vitamin D caused dramatic changes in the expression levels of many cell lipids and proteins, particularly those involved in inflammation.

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The new research suggests that vitamin D supplementation may improve low-grade prostate cancers by reducing inflammation, perhaps lessening the need for eventual surgery or radiation treatment. "We don't know yet whether vitamin D treats or prevents prostate cancer," says Hollis. "At the minimum, what it may do is keep lower-grade prostate cancers from going ballistic."

What about the dosage?

Hollis notes that the dosage of vitamin D administered in the study -- 4,000 U -- is well below the 10,000-20,000 U that the human body can make from daily sun exposure. "We're treating these guys with normal body levels of vitamin D," he says. "We haven't even moved into the pharmacological levels yet."

 

Source: Science Daily
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