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These supplements fight prostate cancer

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These supplements fight prostate cancer

By David Liu, PHD

Saturday April 14, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Vitamin D and soy may have a protective effect against prostate cancer and a new study in the March 27, 2012 issue of the journal Prostate suggests that a combination of vitamin D in the active form 1,25(OH)(2)D can be enlisted to prevent or treat prostate cancer.

The study led by J.Y. Wang and others from Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford California found that combination treatments based on soy and calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D resulted in substantially greater inhibition of tumor growth than either soy or calcitriol in athymic male nude mice bearing PC-3 human prostate cancer xenografts.

In the study, the mice received diets containing 10 or 20% of calories from soy, calcitriol injections or a combination of soy and calcitriol.  The mice were monitored for their tumor growth, serum levels of a,25(OH)(2)D and calcium and regulation of tumor gene expression.

The researchers found the following:

"Soy diets alone caused a modest elevation in serum 1,25(OH)(2) D, whereas the calcitriol-soy combinations led to substantially elevated serum 1,25(OH)(2) D, hypercalcemia, and in some cases lethal toxicity. The combinations enhanced calcitriol activity in regulating target gene expression, including greater up-regulation of anti-proliferative (p21, IGFBP-3) and pro-apoptotic (Bax) genes, increased inhibition of anti-apoptotic (Bcl-2) and cell cycle promoting (cyclin D1) genes, and suppression of prostaglandin (PG) synthesis and signaling (COX-2, 15-PGDH, PG receptors). Increases in serum calcium were accompanied by elevated expression of intestinal calcium absorption genes (TRPV6, calbindin-9k)."

They concluded that 

"Soy increases the bioavailability of endogenous and administered calcitriol, thereby enhancing its anticancer effects and risk of hypercalcemia. Since both agents are easily available as dietary supplements, the increased potential for hypercalcemic toxicity becomes an important factor when considering the combined use of vitamin D and soy in PCa therapy."

Using calcitriol, which is only available through doctors, is risky because this active form of vitamin D unlike the form of vitamin D sold as dietary supplements can have a direct influence on many physiological functions. One common risk of hypercalcemia, which is a common concern associated with use of vitamin D.  It's well recognized that high doses of vitamin D may be used to fight cancer, but the potential risk is hypercalcemia.

There are many things a man can do to reduce his risk of prostate cancer. The cancer is generally growing fairly slowly and a man older than 70 may be more likely to die from another disease.  For that reason, men may be better off not receiving any screening and treatment, which can do more harm than good for men ages 70 or older.

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