There’s no question that the statistics regarding the rate of prostate cancer are quite alarming.
It is the second most common cancer for men (most of who will be over the age of 65), exceeded only by non-melanoma skin cancer.1 Furthermore, more than 175,000 men in the United States were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and more than 27,000 died from the disease just in 2013. It is also the most common cause of death from cancer across all racial groups.1,2
The majority of men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer that you will see in your practice will be older and, for the most part, not be complaining of any major symptoms. However, the most common symptoms will generally include frequent need for urination (particularly at night), difficulty starting or holding back urination, and a weak or interrupted urine flow.3
Your patients may also complain of general pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or thighs. Because prostate cancer generally does not spread quickly, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause for these rather diffuse symptoms.3
Your patients may also be looking toward you to guide them on the best supplements for sustaining a healthy prostate and slowing the growth of cancer. Some interesting new research has linked low vitamin D levels with more aggressive prostate cancer.4
Vitamin D and prostate cancer
A study in the April 20, 2016 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology compared the serum vitamin D levels of 190 men undergoing radical prostatectomy for advanced prostate cancer to a group of 1,760 healthy subjects.4 The aim was to assess whether or not men with aggressive prostate cancer had lower serum vitamin D levels than their healthy counterparts.
The researchers found that 87 of the patients (45.8 percent) with advanced cancer pathology at the time of the radical prostatectomy also had lower levels of serum vitamin D than their healthy counterparts.4 The researchers suggested that low levels of serum vitamin D may be a significant biomarker for more aggressive prostate cancer.
Supplements to boost prostate health
Of course, the next step is looking at supplements that can help patients boost their serum vitamin D levels. In addition to taking vitamin D supplements, patients may also want to look at taking saw palmetto supplements. Some interesting research from China found that giving saw palmetto extract to lab mice with prostate cancer induced apoptosis, or death of the cancerous cells.5
Another study found that stinging nettle extract reduced prostate cancer cell proliferation by as much as 30 percent.6
Given that prostate cancer is usually very slow to spread, this research may indicate that having your prostate cancer patients add vitamin D, as well as saw palmetto and stinging nettle, to their supplement regimen may help keep them healthy and reduce the rate at which the cancer may spread. It may even stop the cancer growth altogether. Your patients will already be fighting a very difficult battle to remain as healthy as possible, so supplements to support prostate health can help give them a boost.
- Prostate cancer statistics. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Accessed 8/9/2016.
- Prostate cancer. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Accessed 8/9/2016.
- Prostate cancer symptoms. Prostate Cancer Foundation. Accessed 8/9/2016.
- Nyame YA, Murphy AB, Bowen DK, et al. Associations between serum vitamin D and adverse pathology in men undergoing radical prostatectomy. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2016 Apr 20;34(12):1345-9.
- Yang Y, Ikezoe T, Zheng Z, et al. Saw palmetto induces growth arrest and apoptosis of androgen-dependent prostate cancer LNCaP cells via inactivation of STAT 3 and androgen receptor signaling. International Journal of Oncology. 2007 Sep;31(3):593-600.
- Konrad L, Muller HH, Lenz C, et al. Antiproliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells by a stinging nettle root (Urtica dioica) extract. Planta Medica. Feb 2000;66(1):44-47.