A new study finds that a vitamin D supplement may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer by as much as 25%.
The research, which was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, also found that men who take the supplement may have a 20% reduced risk of dying from prostate cancer, and a 20-fold reduced risk compared with those who do not take it.
The findings come from a study of more than 2,500 men, who were followed up for 20 years, to find the exact mechanism by which vitamin D might prevent prostate cancer.
The researchers used the Mayo Clinic’s prostate cancer registry, which is now being used by researchers around the world to track prostate cancer cases.
They found that people who took a vitamin, like 400 milligrams of vitamin D3 or 800 milligram of vitamin B6, had a 20 percent reduced risk for developing prostate disease compared to people who did not take vitamin D.
People who were also taking vitamin D had a 50 percent reduced rate of developing cancer, while those who did NOT take vitamin B 12 had a 23 percent reduced death rate.
“These results suggest that a single dose of vitamin A can reduce prostate cancer risk by as little as 10 percent in men,” the researchers wrote.
“This protective effect can be enhanced with vitamin D supplementation.”
A single dose (400 or 800 mg) of vitamin supplements are typically prescribed for people who are at risk of getting prostate cancer because they are older, have other health problems, or have certain medical conditions.
But most doctors are not aware of the effects of taking vitamin supplements and have not tested them on their patients.
A study published in this month’s Archives of Internal Medicine showed that men taking a supplement with an average of 1,200 mg of vitamin K3 had a 37 percent lower risk of death from prostate disease than those taking a placebo.
But many researchers are concerned that there are still too many pills being prescribed for men and have been working to identify a way to make vitamin supplements safer.
The Mayo Clinic has launched a program that will begin giving vitamin D pills to anyone who asks for one.
The first pills will be given to people at risk for prostate cancer at age 50 and to people over 65 who are undergoing prostate-specific antigen testing, a routine testing that identifies the presence of the protein that causes prostate cancer in men.
A new study suggests that a small, daily dose of an anti-cancer vitamin could reduce the incidence of prostate cancerBy Susan G. Koester, M.D.
Associated PressHealth and science writerShannon G. Mink contributed to this report.