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Vitamin D deficiency associated with lower survival among prostate cancer patients

Charles (Chuck) Maack

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A retrospective study, which looked at the medical data from 1999 to 2012 of 16,535 US Military Veterans diagnosed with prostate cancer, found a positive association between higher vitamin D levels and prostate cancer survival.


The researchers stated:


"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first published report indicating that vitamin D status and monitoring are associated with significantly better outcomes in veteran prostate cancer patients.


The exact mechanisms by which vitamin D may influence prostate cancer are still a subject of continuing investigation.  Vitamin D may affect the natural history of prostate cancer and its progression via effects on cellular invasion, angio-genesis, and metastases............


There are several compelling reasons for testing and treating prostate cancer patients with vitamin D, pending large-scale prospective studies.  Indeed, another study found that treating patients with both metastatic prostate cancer and vitamin D deficiency with 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D improved bone pain and muscle strength...........


We recommend that all prostate cancer patients be prescribed 2,000 IU vitamin D3 daily, with this dose appropriately adjusted based on sequential monitoring”.



“Vitamin D and Prostate Cancer Survival in Veterans”  Military Medicine, Vol. 179, January 2014


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I obviously concur with the considerations of this paper though I recommend even higher daily intake, particularly for prostate cancer patients as well as those found to be deficient when administered the 25-hydroxy Vitamin D blood serum test.  I have also compiled a lengthy discourse regarding the importance of Vitamin D3.  Please visit http://tinyurl.com/748cx5c

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Note of caution:

Vitamin D should only be supplemented if your doctor finds it necessary after a blood test.


Vitamin D (as with a number of other vitamins) is a problem both if it is too low OR too high.



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I took 15000 IU/day for 12 years which kept my levels in the high 90's.  3 years ago I reduced to 7500 IU/day with average readings still holding in the high 90's.
Which was all instigated by a highly qualified integrated medically “ qualified”  practitioner whom  we have insufficient numbers of, who think outside of the box.
Without these type of practitioners many of us would not be talking today with prognosis given at diagnosis all those years ago.
Cancer is not a death sentence it is a life sentence.
So be well and laugh a lot
Good health

PS:  I UNDERSTAND THE Vit D3 test has been removed from the free list just recently.  

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I agree with Jim's note of caution that Vitamin D should only be supplemented if your doctor finds it necessary after a blood test.


As we've previously cautioned in this forum, you should always tell your doctor what supplements you are taking.   If you don't, there could be interactions between the supplements and your prostate cancer drugs which might reduce the efficacy of the treatment that the doctor is giving you.


The 2006 guidelines for recommended dietary intakes of vitamin D in Australia and New Zealand are out of date.   The recommended daily allowances for vitamin D in the US are 600 IU for people aged 1–70 years and 800 IU for those aged over 70 years, with an upper limit of 4000 IU.


In 2012 a Position Statement “Vitamin D and health in adults in Australia and New Zealand" was prepared under the auspices of the Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society and Osteoporosis Australia and the Endocrine Society of Australia.



That position statement recommends the amount of Vitamin D supplementation required to treat moderate to severe deficiency as being:

“3000–5000 IU per day for at least 6‑12 weeks, with a check on 25-OHD concentrations for most people after 3 months, followed by ongoing treatment with a lower dose of around 1000–2000 IU per day”.



The amount of Vitamin D supplementation that is prescribed will vary from doctor to doctor.   Dr Snuffy Myers in the US suggests Vitamin D supplementation of 1000–4000 IU per day.   I don't think that many doctors go as high as Russ' doctor with 15,000 IU/day.  My endocrinologist has currently got me on 5,000 IU/day.



The comment by Russ about the Medical Benefits Scheme is a good one.   Rebates under the Medical Benefits Scheme for Vitamin D testing went from $4,256,772 in 2003/04 to $151,129,505 in 2012/13.  Medicare has now restricted eligibility for rebates for Vitamin D testing to patients with specified risks for Vitamin D deficiency.  The following are NOT sufficient criteria for Medicare rebates:

  • Patients known to have Vitamin D deficiency
  • Patients taking Vitamin D supplements
  • Fatigue
  • Other nutritional deficiencies
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The referenced paper by the NIH is from 2007.  Much has been studied/learned since then, particularly for men dealing with prostate cancer, wherein Vitamin D3 plays an important role in our continued well being.  I am surprised that your Medicare will not cover continued both initial and then periodic 25-hydroxy Vitamin D level testing for men with known cancer.

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