If you suffer from prostate cancer, there's a powerful nutritional treatment that might completely reverse the disease.
The news comes from a study performed at the University of Toronto in which 15 men with biopsy-proven prostate cancer had undergone surgery or radiation. All 15 of the men also had three progressive increases in PSA levels after their treatment. The researchers gave all the patients 2,000 units of a common vitamin-D compound every day for up to 21 months.
In the majority of the participants, their PSA levels stabilized. And in most of the men, the levels decreased. This suggests that their prostate cancer either started to regress or stopped progressing.
The researchers found evidence of a clinical response in 14 of the 15 men (as confirmed by a prolongation of their PSA doubling time). What's more, none of the men had any side effects of any kind.
This trial is exciting, not because it shows that vitamin D is protective against cancer - we already knew that. It's exciting because of the specific form of vitamin D that they used - cholecalciferol. This is the plain, inexpensive form of vitamin D that's available at every health food store.
During an earlier trial of vitamin D on prostate cancer reported by a Stanford University Group in 1998, the doctors used a different form of vitamin D (calcitriol) to treat seven men in the same stage of prostate cancer. They also used PSA as a marker of tumor responsiveness.
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After getting the calcitriol, the PSA of the men continued to increase, although more slowly. One of the patients showed a transient decrease in PSA, but he withdrew from the study due to side effects from the calcitriol. Unlike the cholecalciferol group, none of the Stanford patients showed a prolonged flattening or a prolonged decrease in their PSA. Also, unlike the cholecalciferol group, all of the Stanford patients developed side effects, including high urine calcium, and one developed a kidney stone.
Toxicity of vitamin D, a persistent refrain among the poorly informed, was never an issue in the Toronto Study. The Toronto physicians used a fixed low dose (2,000 units) of cholecalciferol, which didn't cause high serum calcium in any of the patients. By the way, the lowest dose of cholecalciferol known to cause high blood calcium is more than 20,000 units.
Toxicity of vitamin D is a fading issue because we can measure vitamin D levels. The gold standard test for vitamin D levels is the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test, as it's the most accurate measure of vitamin D store in the body. This test easily determines if a patient has a deficiency or excess of vitamin D.
Taking 2,000 units a day will raise the "average" 25-hydroxy vitamin D level to about 40 ng/mls. This amount is now considered by most authorities to be the lower limit of adequate vitamin D nutrition. "Average" means half above and half below, which also means 50 percent of the Toronto men were still below 40 ng/mls; that is, one-half of the Toronto men with prostate cancer may still have been vitamin D deficient after treatment. Personally, I think your vitamin D levels need to be above 50 ng/mls. And preferably around 70 ng/mls.
It's possible that if the vitamin D levels had been increased, the men would have seen even better results. Studies have shown that it takes 5,000 units of cholecalciferol to assure that 97.5% of healthy subjects will become vitamin D replete.
While it's true that a single study of 15 men is not rigorous proof of the impact of the vitamin D, and falling PSA levels are not proof that the cancer is cured, the need for more trials certainly can be argued. If I had prostate cancer, I'd certainly have my 25 hydroxy vitamin D levels measured to help me formulate an optimal dose for treatment.
All patients with prostate cancer should have their vitamin D deficiencies aggressively and immediately corrected. That will likely call for around 5,000 units of cholecalciferol every day. Physicians, researchers, or scientists who say 5,000 units may be toxic are simply revealing their ignorance of current scientific literature. You can purchase 5,000 IU tablets of cholecalciferol, the type used in this study, by following this link.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.