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High blood vitamin D levels reduce risk of prostate cancer
Using blood samples obtained in 1982 from 2400 healthy participants in the Physician’s Health Study, Dr Li and colleagues measured 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25 D) and 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25 D), and ascertained variations in the vitamin D receptor gene. Samples from 1,029 men who developed prostate cancer over the 13 to 18 year follow-up period were age and smoking-status matched with blood from 1,371 healthy men.
The Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers found that men whose plasma levels of both forms of the vitamin were higher than the median of the current study population experienced a 45 percent lower risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer than those with lower levels. Presence of a genotype called homozygous Fokl FF combined with high vitamin D levels lowered overall risk by 55 percent, and the risk of developing aggressive disease by 77 percent.
Dr Li, who was the study’s lead investigator, concluded, "Our findings suggest that vitamin D plays an important protective role against prostate cancer, especially clinically aggressive disease. This research underscores the importance of obtaining adequate vitamin D through skin exposure to sunlight or through diet, including food and supplements."
Measures to prevent PC must be a routine part of the counsel that general practitioners and internists give their patients. Selenium intake of at least 200 mcg a day should be a consideration in the prevention of PC. Low plasma selenium is associated with a four- to fivefold increased risk of PC. In addition, levels of plasma selenium also decrease with age, resulting in middle-aged to older men being at a higher risk for low selenium levels.
A large-scale study of almost 11,000 men in Maryland showed that the protective effects of high selenium levels, and similarly that of the alpha-tocopherol isomer of vitamin E, were only observed when the concentrations of the gamma tocopherol isomer of vitamin E were also high. In this study, the risk of PC declined with increasing concentrations of alpha-tocopherol, with the highest concentration associated with a 68% PC risk reduction. For gamma-tocopherol, men with levels in the highest fifth of the distribution had a fivefold greater reduction in the risk of developing PC than men in the lowest fifth . The observed interaction between alpha-tocopherol, gamma-tocopherol, and selenium suggested that combined alpha- and gamma-tocopherol supplements, used in conjunction with selenium, should be considered in future PC prevention trials.
Vitamin D is necessary for utilization of calcium and phosphorus and in many ways acts as a hormone. The two most important forms of vitamin D are cholecalciferol (D3), which is derived from our own cholesterol and ergocalciferol (D2), a plant analogue derived from the diet. The cholecalciferol supplied by the Life Extension Foundation is synthetic, but its form is identical to that which is derived from cholesterol and synthesized by sunlight on the skin. Cholecalciferol is essential for bone growth and maintenance of bone density.
The primary purpose of supplementing with vitamin E is to suppress damaging free radicals. Scientific studies have identified the gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E as being critical to human health.
New research shows that sesame lignans increase gamma-tocopherol levels in the body while reducing free radical damage. In response to these findings, Life Extension has reformulated the popular Gamma E Tocopherol supplement to replace tocotrienols with sesame lignans.
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Eric R. Braverman, MD is available by appointment only on March 29-April 7, 2005, at the Life Extension Medical Center, for in-depth nutritional consultations, physical exams, ultrasound testing, memory testing, cardiopulmonary testing, and disease reversal, including assessments and treatment of such conditions as ADHD, hypertension, diabetes, memory loss, and osteoporosis.
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