By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
Researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois have found that men at high risk for prostate cancer stand a bigger chance of being diagnosed with more aggressive and advanced forms of the disease if they are deficient in vitamin D. A deficiency could be an indicator of “advanced prostate tumor progression in large segments of the general population,” according to Adam Murphy, M.D., a Northwestern urologist, the lead researcher.
The findings emerged from a study of 667 European American and African American men, ages 40-79, who underwent initial prostate biopsies. Until this investigation, the association between vitamin D status and prostate biopsy outcomes in men with elevated PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels has not been evaluated.
In the study, deficiencies of vitamin D were linked to a 3.5 times increased risk of an aggressive tumor and about a 2.5 times increased risk for an advanced tumor among European Americans. For African Americans, the increased risk was nearly 5 times and 4.2 times, respectively.
My Viewpoint: Vitamin D deficiency is very common, a shortfall that can affect your cardiovascular health and weaken your immune system, as I have written previously. We just aren’t getting enough D from sunlight and from our diet. Vitamin D supports male health. A deficiency has also been suggested as a risk factor for erectile dysfunction.
What This Means: Vitamin D functions more like a hormone than a vitamin. It is important for smooth functioning of the physiology. Deficiency is associated with many different health problems, as researchers are repeatedly reporting.
My Recommendation: Your medical checkups should include a blood test for vitamin D. You want a healthy level between 40-60 ng/mL. How to get there if you are low? Try to expose yourself to some sunshine daily from 10 am to 2 pm. Here’s an article I wrote about the importance of sunlight. Even simpler is taking an inexpensive vitamin D supplement, available at any health food store or drug store. I suggest a daily dosage of 2,000 international units. More may be needed for people with compromised health.
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