Prostate cancer: Common vitamin deficiency could increase your risk – signs

Dr Nighat discusses symptoms of prostate cancer

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More than 47,500 people are diagnosed with prostate cancer yearly, according to Prostate Cancer UK. It’s not clear what causes this type of cancer. However, certain risks can increase your likelihood of developing this condition. Vitamin D deficiency is one of them.

Vitamin D helps with various functions in our bodies, ranging from our immune system to bone and muscle health.

This vitamin helps regulate calcium and phosphate in our bodies – key nutrients necessary for keeping our bones and teeth healthy, the NHS explains.

Because of vitamin’s D vital role contributing to bone metabolism, the lack of it can lead to deformities and pain.

And the lack of sunshine during the winter months in the UK can lead to such deficiency.

Our body naturally creates vitamin D from direct sunlight, but between October and March, we are not able to get enough.

That’s why the Government advises looking into a daily dose of vitamin D supplement during these months.

Apart from bone problems, a more serious disease linked to vitamin D deficiency is prostate cancer, Cleveland Clinic reports.

A 2014 study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research has found vitamin D deficiency to be a risk factor for prostate cancer.

The evidence discovered African-American men with this deficiency are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with this type of cancer.

The researchers have also found “aggressive form” of prostate cancer to be associated with a vitamin D deficiency.

And this risk doesn’t only affect African Americans but also European Americans.

The study looked at more than 600 men from around Chicago with higher PSA levels, a prostate-specific antigen used to detect prostate cancer.

All of the participants were also scanned for vitamin D deficiency.

The results have revealed African-American men to have a 2.43 times higher risk of prostate cancer.

When it came to the odds of having aggressive form of this cancer, European Americans had a 3.66 times higher risk, while African Americans had a 4.89 times increased risk.

How can I tell if I’m vitamin D deficient?

The signs are not always clear in adults, but there are some possible symptoms. Those include:

  • Fatigue
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps
  • Mood changes and depression.

Even though there is not enough sunshine in the UK during the winter months, there are other ways to boost your vitamin D levels.

The NHS says the recommended daily dose is 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. This can be achieved by either taking supplements or eating foods rich in this vitamin, ranging from oily fish and egg yolks to fortified foods.


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