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More Calcium Findings ~ [Issue 0605-5]  Wellness Weekly
 Jun 29, 2005 19:13 PDT 


Calcium Can Reduce Colon Cancer Risk

Taking calcium supplements can decrease the risk of all types of
colorectal polyps, especially advanced colorectal cancer tumors,
United States researchers found. The risk of colorectal adenomas,
considered to be most strongly associated with invasive colorectal
cancer, can be reduced by the supplements, said researchers at
Dartmouth Medical School. The researchers analyzed data from 913
patients enrolled in the Calcium Polyp Prevention Study, a
randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial - meaning neither
the patient nor the researchers knew which treatment was being
administered. Patients took either a 1200 milligram calcium
supplement or a placebo and had a follow-up colonoscopy one and four
years after enrolling in the trial. The results showed that
supplemental calcium slightly decreased the risk of all types of
colorectal polyps, but effect was greatest for the most advanced
colorectal lesions. There also was some evidence a diet high in fiber
and low in fat increased the preventive effect of calcium, but the
results were not conclusive.

Women Underestimate Calcium Needs

Most American women underestimate their calcium needs by at least
half, finds a survey conducted by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer
Healthcare. One-third of U.S. women are unaware that calcium has any
benefits beyond building and maintaining healthy bones, according to
Dr. Gloria Bachmann, director of the Women's Health Institute at
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Calcium is a nutrient that is
vital for the heart, muscles and nerves to function properly. It also
may help reduce the risks associated with conditions like colorectal
cancer and high blood pressure. Most adults need between 1,000 and
1,200 milligrams of calcium per day - teens, pregnant women, and
postmenopausal women require even more.

Calcium May Protect Against Colorectal Cancer

A University of Minnesota Cancer Center study shows women ingesting
more than 800 milligrams of calcium daily significantly cut their
colorectal cancer risk. The risk reduction was as much as 26 percent
to 46 percent, epidemiologist Andrew Flood reported in the journal
"Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention." A 26 percent
decrease was reported regardless of whether the calcium was from a
regular diet or a supplement. In the study, which followed 45,354
women for an average 8.5 years, participants getting their calcium
fix from both food and supplements had nearly double the decrease in
risk as those getting the mineral from a sole source. Flood says
consuming a diet that provides at least 800 mg per day, which is
lower than the current recommended daily allowance of 1,200 mg per
day, is a safe and effective way for women to help guard themselves
against colorectal cancer. While similar results have been found in
men, researchers caution calcium has been linked in some studies to
increased risk of prostate cancer.
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