Calcium and Colorectal Cancer


A new study by the National Institutes of Health and AARP found that people who consume more calcium and dairy foods have a lower risk of colon cancer. Diet and other information was collected on over 50,000 people between the ages of 50 and 71. After 7 years the risk of colon cancer was about 20% lower in men who consumed the most calciuim from food and supplements (about 1,500 mg. daily) than in men who consumed the least (about 500mg daily).

The risk in women was about 30% lower for women who consumed the most calcium (about 1,900 mg daily) that those who consumed the least (about 500 mg daily). Colorectal cancer was also lower in men and women who ate the most daily foods. However, contract to earlier stuidies dairy was not linked to a higher risk of ovarian cancer and calcium was not linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer.

It is best to try to ingest 1,000 mg daily of calcium if you are under 50 and 1,200 mg daily if you are older. If you assume there is 300 mg in each serving of milk, cheese, yogurt, or calcium-fortified orange juice take a supplement to get any additional calcium needed. In light of the earlier studies of calcium and prostate cancer (not found here) men may want to limit intake of calcium to 1,200 mg daily. Additional information can be found in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 169:391, 2009.

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