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Vitamin D and Prostate Cancer - An Insight

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4 min read


Vitamin D is essential for the development of healthy muscles, cell growth, and the immune system.

Written by

Dr. Palak Jain

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Rajesh Gulati

Published At May 23, 2024
Reviewed AtJune 10, 2024


Low vitamin D levels are common in men with prostate cancer. Prostate cancer mortality rates are generally lower in men with healthy vitamin D levels, and these cancers are also typically less aggressive. States with the least quantity of sunlight have the greatest rates of prostate cancer. The active form of vitamin D, 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, has receptors in human prostate cells. Vitamin D3 causes a reduction in proliferation, invasiveness, and metastasis and an increase in differentiation and death in prostate cancer cells.

What Is Prostate Cancer?

The prostate, a little walnut-shaped gland found in men and those who were assigned male at birth (AMAB), is where prostate cancer begins to grow. It is situated in front of the rectum and beneath the bladder. This little gland secretes a fluid that combines with semen to maintain sperm health during fertilization and pregnancy. One dangerous condition is prostate cancer. Fortunately, the majority of prostate cancer patients receive a diagnosis before the cancerous cells leave the prostate gland. This stage of treatment usually results in cancer elimination.

What Are the Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer?

The following are the most typical risk factors:

  • Age - Growing older raises the risk. Being over 50 increases the chances of receiving a diagnosis. Older adults account for about 60 percent of prostate cancer cases.

  • Race and Cultural Background - Being Black or having African ancestry puts the individual at higher risk. Male breast cancers are more likely to spread from the prostate. Additionally, if prostate cancer develops before the age of fifty, the chances increase.

  • Prostate Cancer in The Family History - A close family member's prostate cancer increases the risk of developing it by two to three times.

  • Genetics - If the individual was born with Lynch syndrome (it is the most prevalent type of colorectal cancer that runs in families) or inherited BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that are mutated, they are more likely to develop breast cancer.

The following are additional possible risk factors:

  • Smoking.

  • The prostatitis.

  • Being obese is defined as having a BMI of more than thirty.

  • Diseases that spread through sex (STIs).

  • Exposure to the Vietnam War-era toxin Agent Orange.

What Is Vitamin D?

Insufficient vitamin D in the body is known as vitamin D insufficiency. It mostly affects the muscles and bones. The body needs vitamin D to form and maintain bones properly. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin. Additionally, vitamin D affects the immunological, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems.

What Are the Sources of Vitamin D?

For many people, the best source of vitamin D is direct sunshine. One can get enough vitamin D by spending five to thirty minutes in the sun during the brightest hours of the day. On the other hand, skin cancer risk may rise with excessive sun exposure. Additional vitamin D sources include the following:

  • Dairy products with added nutrients, including yogurt and milk.

  • Strengthened orange juice.

  • Egg yolks, beef liver, fortified cereal, lean meats, nuts, and seeds contain trace quantities of vitamin D.

Food supplements can also raise vitamin D levels. For men between the ages of 50 and 70, 15 micrograms (mcg), or 600 international units (IU), of vitamin D should be consumed daily. For men above 70, the suggested consumption is 800 IU or 20 mcg.

Can Vitamin D Help with Prostate Cancer?

Calcitriol is the byproduct of the body's breakdown of vitamin D. According to a number of research, calcitriol may inhibit the growth of malignancies, including prostate cancer. Nevertheless, much of this research focuses on cancer cells in animals or lab settings rather than human bodies. Immune system performance is influenced by vitamin D as well.

A shortage in vitamin D can exacerbate inflammation, which is linked to several disorders, including cancer. There is a significant association between elevated levels of inflammation and low vitamin D in individuals with prostate cancer, and the disease was more severe in those with the lowest levels of the vitamin. Prostate cells produce the protein PSA, and high levels of this protein may be a sign of prostate cancer.

What are the Anticancer Effects Of Vitamin D Compounds?

The precise processes underpinning cancer cell survival and proliferation reduction remain poorly known, even though the biochemical alterations linked to the anticancer effects of vitamin D therapy on cells have been thoroughly examined in prostate cancer and other cancer cell lines. Calcitriol (1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol) has been the most thoroughly investigated chemical.

Tumor growth is inhibited by calcitriol in conjunction with the following metabolic effects:

  • An increase in G0/G1 cells and a change in cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors, like p21 and p27, are signs of cell cycle arrest.

  • Increasing the ratio of Bax to bcl-2, annexin binding, and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage induce apoptosis.

  • Inhibition of "pro-proliferative" signaling molecules, such as protein kinase phosphorylated in response to an external stimulus.

  • Stimulation of MAPK/ERK kinase (MEK)-cleavage in a caspase-dependent fashion.

  • Suppressing angiogenesis.

  • Suppressing invasion and motility.

  • Triggering of differentiation.

  • Tumor-associated growth factor expression modification.

What Are Other Remedies for Prostate Cancer?

Low-grade prostate tumors usually grow extremely slowly. Prostate cancer may not need to be treated in some cases. Individuals who have low-grade malignancies can think about adopting complementary and alternative therapies, such as vitamin D. Patients under active surveillance for early-stage, low-risk prostate cancer may benefit from vitamin D3 supplementation. Vitamin D should not be used instead of other treatments for those who need it. Typical therapy choices consist of the following:

  • Radical prostatectomy, or prostate removal with surgery, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy

  • Targeted treatments.

  • Hormone treatments.

  • Chemotherapy.

Vitamin D supplements are necessary for hormone therapy patients to maintain bone density.


The disease of prostate cancer is complicated. It frequently grows slowly and is unlikely to hurt certain people seriously. It might, however, be violent and lethal to other people. Individuals who decide against treating low-grade malignancies should think about supplementary and alternative therapies, such as vitamin D. Nevertheless, studies have not shown that vitamin D can stop or reverse the progression of prostate cancer.

Therefore, this is not the standard therapy. There is no proof that vitamin D can replace conventional cancer treatments. Loss of bone mineral density is one health problem that vitamin D may help prevent while treating prostate cancer. Those who want to include vitamin D in their treatment plan should consult their physician.

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Dr. Rajesh Gulati
Dr. Rajesh Gulati

Family Physician


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