Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Prostate Cancer Patients: Have your vitamin D levels checked

Higher Serum Vitamin D Levels May Be Associated With Improved Prognosis

A new study has been published showing that a higher serum level of vitamin D (25-hydroxy vitamin D) is associated with increased length of life after a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Association between serum 25(OH)D and death from prostate cancer. Br J Cancer. 2009 Feb 10;100(3):450-4. Tretli S, et al.

Summary: In a study involving 160 patients with prostate cancer, serum 25(OH)D level was found to be associated with prognosis and cancer mortality. During a median 44 month follow-up, 61 deaths occurred, of which 52 were due to the prostate cancer. Subjects with serum 25(OH)D in the medium (50-80 nmol/L) or high (>80 nmol/L) range were found to have significantly better prognosis (RR=0.33 and RR=0.16, respectively), compared to those with low levels of 25(OH)D (<50>
This is small observational study and was not done in a prospective manner with intent to measure survival, based on month of diagnosis, initial vitamin D levels at diagnosis, vitamin D supplements taken, etc. Future studies should evaluate prognosis after diagnosis when comparing patients who receive vitamin D to those who receive a placebo.

Take home message: Prostate cancer patients - insist on having the level of vitamin D in your blood measured as soon as possible after a diagnosis. Be sure the 25-hydroxy form of vitamin D is what is measured (that is standard, but just double check). Then discuss with your doctor if supplemental vitamin D from either dietary supplements, sunshine, or prescription level vitamin D plus additional monitoring of blood levels may be appropriate for you to achieve a level above 50 nmol/liter, at the very least.

Note: It is nearly impossible to achieve an intake of vitamin D from food that is necessary to get blood levels above 50 nmol/liter, let alone above 75-80 nmol/liter, even with more foods being supplemented with additional vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is available at your local pharmacy over the counter tablets, usually in doses of 1000 IU or 2000 IU, for very reasonable costs.

Increasing attention is being paid to optimal levels of vitamin D intake and blood levels to in relation to prevention and treatment of many types of cancer plus intake and levels that are necessary to promote overall good health in terms of prevention for many disease areas, thus I recommend having your vitamin D levels checked even if you do not have a cancer diagnosis.

Take Action: Don't wait on this simple way that you can potentially improve your odds for cancer prevention, cancer survival, and overall quality of life and health!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

No comments: