Does Vitamin D offer hope for alternative cancer therapy? A new study in the journal Clinical Cancer Research suggests low blood levels of this vitamin may be linked to more aggressive, advanced cases of prostate cancer in men.
What we do know…
Vitamin D effects how cells develop and grow, regulating the differentiation of cells as they change from stem to adult cells, and regulating the growth rate of normal and cancer cells. The skin makes it when exposed to sunlight, however Vitamin D levels are known to decline with age, in certain seasons and climates, and in individuals with darker skin, which naturally blocks sunlight.
What we don’t know…
Researches haven’t yet proved a cause-and-effect relationship, and don’t yet understand how Vitamin D comes into play. They are also unsure if taking extra might reduce prostate cancer risks and offer natural cancer treatment and prevention.
What the study shows:
Among the 667 Chicago men ages 40-79 studied with abnormal prostate screenings, the majority were found to be Vitamin D deficient. In addition, among those testing positive for cancer, those with very low levels were at greater risk of advanced, aggressive varieties. In addition, black men were more likely to be diagnosed.
What about Vitamin D’s relationship to cancer?
At this point, scientists only know that the rate of prostate cell growth (in a petri dish) slows when Vitamin D is added to the mix. They are now theorizing that too little of this vitamin may cause cell growth to go awry, leading to cancer.
Researchers admit larger, more extensive studies are necessary to examine the possible connection and address the many unanswered questions prompted by the research.