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Vitamin D3 May Protect Prostate

A new study indicates that vitamin D3 may help protect the prostate from damage by promoting antioxidant activity. Vitamin D3 has been found to benefit the prostate in previous research, but it is only recently that scientists understand why.

According to researchers at the University of Rochester in New York, vitamin D3 binds to a receptor in the genes of healthy prostate cells that control production of an antioxidant enzyme called G6PD. This enzyme seems to protect DNA from damage, which may reduce the risk of cancer in the prostate.

The study - published in the March 2008 edition of the International Journal of Cancer - found that Vitamin D3 stimulates production of G6PD, which can neutralize free radicals associated with DNA damage.

Vitamin D3 has also been linked to bone health. Research indicates that a vitamin D3 deficiency may lead to osteoporosis and osteomalacia, which are characterized by bone fragility and muscle weakness.

Sun exposure helps provide the body with adequate levels of vitamin D3. Older individuals and those living in cold climates - who spend more time indoors - have an increased risk of vitamin D3 deficiency. For individuals who fall into this category, supplementation can help bridge the gap.

Vitamin D3 has been shown to be up to 600% more potent than vitamin D2, but is more expensive so vitamin D2 is often used in supplements to lower cost.

Source: The International Journal of Cancer
122, 2699-2706 (2008)
"Protective role of 1a, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 against oxidative stress in nonmalignant human prostate epithelial cells"
Authors: B.-Y. Bao, H.-J. Ting, J.-W. Hsu, Y.-F. Lee
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