Vitamin D And Calcium Supplements Pose Health Risks For Prostate Cancer Patients – A New Study

August 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

The use of calcium and vitamin D supplements in preventing or treating prostate cancer has been recognized and generally accepted.

However, it has been recently researched that these supplements may do more harm than good.

In other words, instead of treating the conditions which it was meant to treat, these supplements are likely to aggravate cancer of the prostate as well as heart diseases and bone loss.

Researchers from the Wake Forest Medical Center made the above observation after carrying out a study on 2400 men with prostate cancer. The effects of supplements on these men were reviewed especially on those being treated with hormone-deprivation therapy. Details on this new research are highlighted below:

Although they’re standard treatment for men with prostate cancer who are taking hormonal therapy, calcium and vitamin D supplements may do more harm than good, according to a new study.

Men who undergo hormone-depletion therapy for prostate cancer are at risk for osteoporosis, but the supplements do not prevent this bone loss and may actually boost patients’ odds for heart disease and aggressive prostate cancer, research from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center suggests.

“Calcium and/or vitamin D supplementation to prevent loss of bone mineral density in these men seems so logical that no one had questioned whether it works,” study co-author, Mridul Datta, a postdoctoral fellow at Wake Forest Baptist, explained in a hospital news release.

“It wouldn’t be so bad if there simply was no obvious benefit,” added the study’s lead author, Gary Schwartz, a prostate cancer epidemiologist at Wake Forest Baptist. “The problem is that there is evidence that calcium supplements increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and aggressive prostate cancer, the very disease that we are trying to treat.”

In the study, the researchers reviewed guidelines for calcium and vitamin D supplements as well as the results of 12 clinical trials of these supplements involving almost 2,400 men with prostate cancer. All of the men were receiving hormone-deprivation therapy. The researchers also examined the men’s bone mineral density before and after treatment.

According to the study, the men undergoing hormone therapy for prostate cancer who took the recommended daily doses of calcium and vitamin D supplements lost bone density.

The researchers also pointed out that increased dietary calcium is associated with a greater risk for aggressive prostate cancer and heart disease.

“The wake-up call of these findings,” concluded Datta, “is that the presumption of benefit from calcium and vitamin D supplements that have been routinely recommended to these men must be rigorously evaluated.”

The study’s authors said more research is needed to confirm their findings and investigate the possible risks of calcium and vitamin D supplementation, particularly heart disease and prostate cancer.

One expert agreed that more study is needed.

The study authors “say that traditional approaches use too little calcium and/or vitamin D, but that as one increases the doses there are other risks, such as cardiovascular events,” noted Dr. Louis Potters, a prostate cancer specialist and chair of radiation medicine at North Shore – LIJ Health System, in New Hyde Park, N.Y. “So that the trade-off for treating osteoporosis is associated with other risks.”

Potters stressed that “not all men with prostate cancer need hormone therapy, only those with high-risk or advanced disease. And for those men, they need to have a discussion with their physician about the risks of these medications and how best to perhaps mitigate some of those risks.”

The study was published online in the July issue of The Oncologist. Source.

While Vitamin D and Calcium supplements have shown to be important treatments for prostate cancer, it is ironically to discover that they could be doing just the opposite of what they were meant to do.

This discovery made by the latest research is an eye opener to the side effects of the use of these supplements for treating prostate cancer.

Although more investigations are needed for validate confirm this new study, the possible risks of using these supplements should not be ignored. This is an observation that was readily made in the above extract.

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