Leukemia Patients With Insufficient Vitamin D Earlier Mortality Risk

Life Extension Featured Article

November 9, 2010

Leukemia patients with insufficient vitamin D levels face earlier mortality risk

Leukemia patients with insufficient vitamin D levels face earlier mortality risk

A report published online on November 3, 2010 in the journal Blood reveals an increased risk of rapid disease progression and earlier mortality in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients who had insufficient vitamin D levels.

Hematologist Tait Shanafelt, MD and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Iowa evaluated the blood of 390 newly diagnosed chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients for plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Thirty percent of the participants were found to have insufficient levels of less than 25 nanograms per milliliter (ng /mL). Following a median follow-up of three years, an association was observed between decreasing vitamin D levels and shorter intervals between diagnosis and cancer progression, as well as reduced survival. Participants whose vitamin D levels were insufficient had a 66 percent greater risk of disease progression necessitating chemotherapy and more than double the risk of dying than those with sufficient levels. A separate analysis of 153 untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients followed for a decade supported the findings.

"This tells us that vitamin D insufficiency may be the first potentially modifiable risk factor associated with prognosis in newly diagnosed CLL," Dr Shanafelt announced. "This finding may be particularly relevant for this kind of leukemia because although we often identify it at an early stage, the standard approach is to wait until symptoms develop before treating patients with chemotherapy. This watch and wait approach is difficult for patients because they feel there is nothing they can do to help themselves."

"Between one-fourth and one-half of patients seen in routine clinical practice have vitamin D levels below the optimal range, and it is estimated that up to 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D insufficiency," he noted. "It is simple for patients to have their vitamin D levels checked by their physicians with a blood test. And if they are deficient, vitamin D supplements are widely available and have minimal side effects."

"Vitamin D insufficiency is associated with inferior time to treatment and overall survival in CLL patients," the authors conclude. "Whether normalizing vitamin D levels in deficient CLL patients would improve outcome merits clinical testing."

Printer Friendly Save as PDF Email this Page View Archive Subscribe Today
Health Concern Life Extension Highlight


Leukemia can be classified into four major types based on whether the disease is acute or chronic and according to the type of white blood cell affected:

  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

Myelogenous leukemia involves myeloid cells, granulocytes (neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils) and monocytes (macrophages). Lymphocytic leukemia involves T and B cells (lymphocytes).

Suboptimal levels of micronutrients can cause DNA damage associated with leukemia and limit the ability to repair this damage (Ames BN 1998; Ames BN 1999).

Epigallocatechin from green tea, curcumin from turmeric, and genistein from soy extracts have all been shown to block the production of growth factors such as VEGF (Arbiser JL et al 1998; Carlo-Stella C et al 1996b; Lee YK et al 2004) typically seen in high levels in CLL (Ferrajoli A et al 2001). Essential fatty acids have been shown to suppress other inflammatory factors, such as IL-6 and TNF-alpha that are seen in high levels in CLL (De CR et al 2000; Purasiri P et al 1997).


Think Outside the Box: The Next Generation Continues … 2011

Life Extension Multimedia features informative audio and video presentations covering a variety of health related topics. Life Extension’s Dr Michael Smith, MD, presents the latest research findings on health topics that concern many of us, such as heart health and optimal sugar balance, and provides practical suggestions to help you stay in optimal health, including the use of antioxidant vitamins, multi vitamins, fish oil supplements and other health supplements. Additionally, findings regarding hormones such as testosterone that decline with age are presented by Dr Smith in a user-friendly manner.

Featured Products

Resveratrol with Pterostilbene

add to cart

The dosage (20 mg) of resveratrol found in this supplement is the amount of resveratrol that used to be found in approximately one liter of French red wine, before the widespread use of pesticides in modern wine making. Therefore, our 20 mg resveratrol supplement contains approximately 125 times the amount of resveratrol in one fluid ounce of red wine. Since a glass of wine is approximately 5⅓ ounces, this means you may achieve the amount of resveratrol in 23 glasses of red wine just by taking one 20 mg resveratrol supplement.

This formulation also contains pterostilbene (a plant extract in the same stilbene family as resveratrol), that works synergistically with resveratrol to confer anti-aging benefits.

PQQ Caps with BioPQQ™

add to cart

Mitochondria are the cellular energy generators that supply virtually all the power your body requires for a healthy life span. An abundance of published studies underscores the critical importance of the mitochondria to overall health, especially as we age. Energy-intensive organs like the heart and brain are dense with mitochondria.

Until recently, the only natural ways for aging individuals to increase the number of mitochondria in their bodies were long-term calorie restriction or exhaustive physical activity—which are difficult or impractical for most people to implement. PQQ offers a viable alternative.

PQQ is an essential nutrient, meaning your body cannot make it on its own. A growing body of research indicates that PQQ’s unique nutritional profile supports heart health and cognitive function—alone and in combination with CoQ10.

News Archive

Life Extension Update

What's Hot

Life Extension Magazine®

If you have questions or comments concerning this issue or past issues of Life Extension Update, send them to or call 1-800-678-8989.
Sign up for Life Extension Update

For Customer Service inquiries, please email or call 1 800 678 8989.

For copyright permission, please refer to Life Extension copyright policy.