Scientists are learning that we can't always blame our genes for health problems. They've learned in recent years that our genes change throughout our lifetime. And they change from generation to generation. Our lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, sunlight, etc.) play a major role in how our genes express themselves. But now, researchers are learning that certain nutrients can turn some genes on and off.
That means that you might be genetically predisposed to some condition, but you may never suffer from it if you have enough nutrients to keep your genes in line. One such disease is prostate cancer.
Researchers from the University of Colorado Cancer Center recently published a study in the journal Prostate that demonstrates how this works. And it shows how you can turn on a gene that prevents this deadly disease.
We've known for well over 20 years that vitamin D is connected to prostate cancer. In fact, many of the prostate cancer risk factors are tied to how much vitamin D you get. These include older age, living in a northern latitude, and having black skin. All of these lead to lower vitamin D levels and a higher risk for prostate cancer.
In more recent research, we've discovered that vitamin D can slow the progression of prostate cancer and that prostate cancer cells have receptors for vitamin D. This research is so compelling, even conventional doctors now recommend vitamin D for anyone with prostate cancer.
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But now we're learning something new about vitamin D and prostate cancer. Researcher James R. Lambert, PhD, said, "When you take vitamin D and put it on prostate cancer cells, it inhibits their growth. But it hasn't been proven as an anti-cancer agent. We wanted to understand what genes vitamin D is turning on or off in prostate cancer to offer new targets."
The researchers already knew that vitamin D increases the expression of the gene GDF-15. This gene codes for a specific protein. However, GDF-15 expression didn't seem to have any connection with prostate cancer. That is until the researchers added inflammation to their experiments. That's when things changed dramatically. All of a sudden, they were finding that GDF-15 levels were much lower in prostate cells with the most inflammation.
Dr. Lambert said, "Inflammation is thought to drive many cancers including prostate, gastric and colon. Therefore, GDF-15 may be a good thing in keeping prostate tissue healthy — it suppresses inflammation, which is a bad actor potentially driving prostate cancer."
All of this gives us a much clearer understanding of how vitamin D fights prostate cancer and many other cancers. So if you're not taking 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily, now is a good time to start. I also recommend you take vitamin D with an anti-inflammatory supplement such as Reduloxin to fight the inflammation that's common in many cancers, including prostate cancer.
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.