(HealthDay News) — Vitamin D supplements may slow or prevent low-grade prostate cancer from progressing, a small new study suggests. The findings were scheduled for presentation Monday at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, held from March 22–26 in Denver.

“Vitamin D decreases inflammation in tissues, and inflammation is a driver of cancer,” lead researcher Bruce Hollis, PhD, of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, told HealthDay.

For the study, researchers randomly assigned 37 men who elected to have their prostate removed to receive either 4,000 international units of vitamin D or an inactive placebo daily for 60 days before their operation. When the prostate gland was examined after their surgery, researchers found that many who received vitamin D had improvements in their prostate tumors, while the tumors in the placebo group remained the same or got worse.

“In greater than 60% of those taking it, vitamin D actually made the cancer better,” Hollis said. Hollis reported that in some cases the tumor shrank and in others the cancer went away. However, the study was small, and results from a larger trial aren’t expected for several years, he added.

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