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Vitamin D(3) supplements help majority of patients with low-risk prostate cancer

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By David Liu, PHD

Tuesday Sept 24, 2012(foodconsumer.org) -- Scientists at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, USA suggest that taking vitamin D supplements in relatively high doses can help men with localized or low risk prostate cancer who are under surveillance.

The study led by D.T. Marshall and colleagues showed 55 percent of patients with localized prostate cancer who were treated with 4000 IU of vitamin D supplements for one year decreased the Gleason score or the number of positive cores.

The researchers reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism that vitamin D(3) supplementation did not lead to any adverse events nor change prostate specific antigen levels significantly.  But vitamin D supplementation did benefit the majority of the patients with low-risk prostate cancer.

Still, 11 percent of patients who took vitamin D did not experience any change, which was not too bad a sign as long as the condition was stabilized.  However, 34 percent of the patients still experience an increase in the number of positive cores or Gleason score, which indicates the severity of the condition.

The researchers concluded "Patients with low-risk prostate cancer under active surveillance may benefit from vitamin D(3) supplementation at 4000 IU/d."

The study included 52 patients with diagnosed low-risk prostate cancer and 48 competed one year of supplementation and 44 could be analysed for both safety and efficacy of vitamin D supplementation.

During the trial, PSA serum levels were measured at baseline and every two month for one year. Biopsy procedures were performed prior to  study enrollment and after completion of the vitamin D supplementation.

Prostate cancer is expected to be diagnosed with in more than 230,000 men and the disease and its complications kill about 40,000 each year in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.

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