A new US study reports that low blood vitamin D concentrations seem to be related to an increased chance of developing prostate cancer.
The observational study measured blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in 667 men, between the ages of 40 and 79, who had undergone a prostate biopsy following detection of abnormal prostate-specific antigen and/or digital rectal examinations (1). The study results showed that participants with low vitamin D levels were significantly more likely to have a high-grade canker diagnosed on biopsy: a 3.7 times higher chance in European-Americans below 30 nmol/L and a 4.9 times higher chance in African-Americans below 50 nmol/L. In total, approximately 40% of the participants were found to be vitamin D deficient (defined as below
50 nmol/L, while the Institute of Medicine defines deficient as below 30 nmol/L and above 50 nmol/L as sufficient).
The researchers commented that because the average diet is not particularly rich in vitamin D, supplemen- tation and/or spending time in the sun are important. People with darker, more pigmented skin need to spend more time in the sun to synthesize and maintain normal vitamin D levels. An earlier study reported that daily intakes of 4000 IU vitamin D3 and average serum vitamin D concentrations of 82 nmol/L signi- ficantly reduced the risk of cancer diagnosis on biopsies (2). Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of death in American men; lung cancer is number one.