The Role of Vitamin D in Prostate Cancer Prevention

Ordinarily, vitamin D is a mineral necessary for the normal bone formation in the body, and the retention of calcium and phosphorus. It also protects the teeth and bones against the effects of low calcium intake by making more effective use of calcium and phosphorus. However with respect to cancers (and prostate cancer in particular, it has been determined that high plasma levels of the substance may also have a protective effect against the disease.

It has been long since diet and nutrition have been seen to have some influence in the occurrence of several diseases. Cancer in particular, in recent times, has come under harsh scrutiny as potentially caused or contributed to by certain dietary blends that are not considered to be dangerous to the body. Red meat and high fat diets, and processed foods have all been implicated in having a causal effect of prostate cancer on patients; and in particular the obviousness of the fact that in certain regions of the world where prostate disease incidence is low (Africa, South America, and Asia) they don’t eat as much of these foods, but more of vitamins.

Investigations have therefore brought to light that lower blood levels of vitamin D tend to increase the risk of prostate cancer, and that vitamin D may be even more important than EPA and DHA in the prevention of this disease.

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A certain study presented calcitriol as the principal active metabolite of vitamin D and also a naturally occurring hormone. It was shown to posses’ significant antineoplastic properties in pre clinical models of prostate type of cancer and many other tumor types. Now there is a patent drug called Calcitriol, which is a form of vitamin D that is awaiting FDA approval for the treatment of this cancer.

Calcitriol has now been shown to cause a certain level of apoptosis of prostate cancer cells in men who have been diagnosed with the disease. Apoptosis is the programmed process that all normal cells in the body should undergo, but cancer cells avoid them and multiply instead. Vitamin D inhibits the growth of prostate malignant tumor cells; and by taking adequate calcium and vitamin D daily from diet and diet supplements, one can aid in the prevention of the disease, and in treating it as well.

Also called the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D may be obtained from egg yolk, liver, tuna, and vitamin-D fortified milk. In the body, it is manufactured when sterols migrate to the skin and become irradiated by sunlight. Sterols are commonly found in many foods. However, since vitamin D is fat-soluble and stored in the body, excessive consumption can cause vitamin poisoning, kidney damage, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

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