A new study finds that low levels of vitamin D can lead to aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
“This study adds to the growing body of sound information that vitamin D may be important to several areas of health, cancer being one of them,” prostate cancer expert Dr. Marc Garnick of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center told Harvard Medical School’s Prostate Knowledge website.
Researchers measured vitamin D levels in 700 men who had biopsies. They found that low levels of vitamin D were associated with high-grade, more advanced tumors. The study was published in Clinical Cancer Research.
While the study authors concede that “a one-time vitamin D measure may not reflect a chronic deficiency,” they concluded that vitamin D helps protect against prostate cancer.
One way of getting vitamin D is safe exposure to sunlight. But according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, men who live north of 40 degrees latitude — a line above Philadelphia, PA; Columbus, OH; and Provo, UT — have a substantially greater risk due to “inadequate sunlight during three months of the year which reduces vitamin D levels.”
Because vitamin D occurs naturally in very few foods, experts recommend vitamin supplements ranging from 600 – 1,000 international units for men at risk of prostate cancer.
(Photo by Elizabeth Lloyd via Flickr)