Study links low vitamin D levels with aggressive prostate cancer

WASHINGTON — There’s a major link between low levels of vitamin D and aggressive prostate cancer in men, according to new research from Northwestern University.

Aggressive prostate cancer is the kind that’s more likely to spread.

Northwestern Medicine researchers say their findings are important because determining whether men have low vitamin D levels might help them decide whether just to monitor the cancer or have surgery to remove their prostates immediately.

Because low vitamin D levels also are linked to other aggressive diseases and poor bone health, researchers recommend all men get their vitamin D blood levels checked.

You might be vulnerable having to having low levels of vitamin D from having dark skin, a poor diet or lack of sun.

“It’s very hard to have normal levels when you work in an office every day,” lead investigator Dr. Adam Murphy said in a news release. “And because of our long winter,” he added, referring to the Chicago area.

Murphy is an assistant professor of urology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine urologist.

If you’re taking supplements to achieve adequate vitamin D levels, the Institute of Medicine recommends 600 international units of vitamin D per day. Murphy recommends people in areas experiencing long winters with low sunlight levels get 1,000 to 2,000 international units per day.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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