September 3, 2005
A world-famous Vitamin-D researcher has initiated a study with a very simple treatment of cancer of the prostate. If expectations are met, then it could result in a revolution in the treatment of the most frequent form of cancer in men.
Among men over 60 at least every other have cancer in the prostate, usually without knowing it. It has been discovered many years ago by investigating men who died for some other reason. Cancer in the prostate is typically a disease that you do not die from – but with! Nevertheless, it is the most frequent cause of cancer among men after lung cancer.
It is therefore difficult to deny that there is an obvious need for an effective treatment, but the treatment has been at a standstill for many years. Only now something is about to happen. More and more, the disease has been associated with the extremely widespread lack of vitamin D. Vitamin D has a normalizing and growth-inhibiting effect in many tissues.
Faith in vitamin D has now become so great that one of the world’s leading vitamin D researchers, Professor David Feldman from Stanford University, has launched a clinical study. It targets men with prostate cancer who have relapsed during usual treatment.
Feldman will give them a combination of active vitamin D (calcitriol, see below) and regular arthritis pills (ibumetin or naproxen), both in moderate doses. To avoid side effects of calcitriol, it is given only once a week, but the exact dose is not stated.
Several years of laboratory studies have preceded this. Here, it has recently been shown that calcitriol reduces the growth of prostate cancer by 25%. The same result is obtained by treatment with traditional anti-rheumatic drugs (NSAID preparations, e.g. ibumetin and naproxen).
But most convincingly, when vitamin D and anti-rheumatic drugs are combined, growth slows down by as much as 70%, even if you are content with tolerable doses of each. Both agents counteract the formation of the so-called prostaglandins, which cause the cancer cells to grow and – in another context – cause arthritic pain, etc. If they are combined, the effect is enhanced.
This, as well as the announcement of the new trial, can be seen in, among other things, of a new press release from Stanford University. If the trial fulfills expectations, it will not only have enormous significance for the treatment. It will also be a sleight-of-hand tip for healthy men to get more vitamin D – perhaps a lot more – so they can make enough calcitriol themselves (calcitriol is only available by prescription).
Feldman is not just anyone when it comes to vitamin D. Together with two others, he is behind the book “Vitamin D” (Academic Press), which is a standard work for researchers with 1,800 pages. The newly revised edition costs DKK 3,445, so it is unlikely to be a bestseller. Feldman has been researching vitamin D for many years and has more than 200 scientific articles behind him.
Vitamin D is not a vitamin, but a hormone. It is formed in the skin by sun exposure, but must be converted in the liver and kidneys to become the active calcitriol. It is by now accepted by everyone that the elderly in particular cannot possibly get enough vitamin D if they do not receive supplements or eat plenty of oily fish. This is because, with age, the skin largely loses the ability to form the vitamin. In the dark half-year, the sun is also so low in the sky (in our northern latitudes) that neither young nor old form anything of importance, whether they get sun or not.
There are less than five micrograms of vitamin D in a typical Danish daily diet, but officially it is now recommended that adults get twice as much, nursing home residents four times as much. It is not difficult to find researchers who believe that this too is too little. The upper limit of risk-free intake is estimated at 50 micrograms per day.
By: Vitality Council
Moreno J, Krishnan AV, Feldman D. Molecular mechanisms mediating the anti-proliferative effects of Vitamin D in prostate cancer. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2004 Nov;92(4):317-25