A new study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute earlier this year has found that Vitamin D is not effective in reducing the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Recent studies have found a link between vitamin D levels and a reduction in the risk of many forms of cancer such as melanoma, breast, colon, and lung cancer however studies on the relationship between vitamin D intake and prostate cancer have yielded conflicting results to date.
In this particular study, American researchers looked at the concentrations of vitamin D found in the blood of 749 patients who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and compared them to 781 control subjects who were free of prostate cancer,
The researchers found no statistically significant difference between the levels of vitamin D in the blood of the prostate cancer patients compared to the control subjects however aggressive prostate cancers were found to be more likely in those with high levels of vitamin D in the blood. Those in the highest quartile for vitamin D levels were found to have 60% greater odds of developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer than those in the lowest quartile for vitamin D levels.
The authors concluded that: “Higher levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D may not reduce the risk of prostate cancer; indeed, it is possible that higher levels are associated with increased risk of aggressive disease.”
Vitamin D is generally synthesized in the body through sunlight exposure but can also be obtained through fortified foods and dietary supplements. Vitamin D deficiency is relatively common amongst those who are unable to get adequate exposure to direct sunlight such as those living at extreme latitudes and the elderly.
It is thought vitamin D may prevent and/or slow down the growth of cancer by inhibiting certain enzymes involved in tumor invasion. It is also believed that vitamin D may reduce cancer cell growth and differentiation.
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