ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Licorice May Block Absorption of Organ Transplant Drug
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Majority of College Students Report Backpack-Related Pain
A Winning Strategy to Beat Spring Sporting Injuries
CANCER
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
CAREGIVING
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
To Feel Better, Low-Fat Diet May Be Best
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Keep Stress Off the Holiday Meal Menu, Expert Advises
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
EYE CARE, VISION
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
FITNESS
As Temperature Plummets, It's Still Safe to Exercise
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
A Honey of a Sinusitis Treatment
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Vitamin D and Bone Health: Are You Getting Enough of This Important Vitamin?
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Vitamin B3 May Help Repair Brain After a Stroke
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Add your Article

Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer

By Ed Edelson
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- High dietary intake of calcium may reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer, especially for women, but has no apparent effect in reducing other malignancies, a U.S. National Cancer Institute study finds.

Why calcium should influence cancer risk differently in women versus men isn't clear, said Yikyung Park, a staff scientist at NCI who led the study. "One can speculate that hormonal or metabolic factors contribute to this difference," she said.

Park and her colleagues relied on data for nearly 500,000 men and women who participated in the U.S. National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. Participants filled out a food questionnaire when they enrolled and then were followed for an average of seven years.

"In both men and women, dairy food and calcium intakes were inversely associated with cancers of the digestive system," the researchers reported in the Feb. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The top one-fifth of women with the highest intake averaged 1,881 milligrams of calcium per day. This group experienced a 23 percent lower risk of colon cancer than those women in the lowest fifth of intake, who averaged 494 milligrams daily. The comparable reduction for men was 16 percent.

The U.S. Institute of Medicine recommends a daily calcium intake of 1,200 milligrams for adults 50 and older, roughly the amount found in three cups a day of the dairy products that are the main sources of calcium. Other sources of calcium include sardines and green, leafy vegetables.

Calcium has been shown to reduce abnormal growths and induce normal turnover of cells in the gastrointestinal system, the report noted.

The study was done because "calcium has been hypothesized to play different roles in different cancer sites, but testing has been incomplete, inconsistent and limited," Park said.

One expert said the study is an important one. "This is the first paper looking at calcium, dairy products and all cancers combined," said Marji McCullough, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology at the American Cancer Society. The findings, she said, "were consistent with the previous literature."

For example, a controlled trial reported last year found no protective effect of calcium intake against breast cancer. The new report confirms that finding, and also finds that the nutrient offers no protective effect against prostate cancer.

The NCI study results "are consistent with guidelines for a healthy diet," McCullough said. "But it is important for people to understand that they shouldn't go overboard on calcium."

No additional protective effect was found for calcium intakes greater than 1,300 milligrams a day, according to the NCI study.

Current calcium recommendations are best met by dietary sources rather than supplements, McCullough added, in part because diet offers more than just calcium. "Calcium and vitamin D and are highly correlated in the diet, and it is difficult to isolate a single component," she said. "It may be that a combination of nutrients is important."

The combination of calcium of vitamin D is important, since vitamin D facilitates calcium's absorption by the digestive system. The skin makes vitamin D naturally through exposure to sunlight.

Another report in the same issue of the journal finds that that a combination of vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid appears to reduce the risk among women of age-related macular degeneration, a major cause of vision loss for older Americans.

A controlled trial including more than 5,400 women 40 and older found a 34 percent lower incidence of the eye disorder in women taking the vitamins compared to those taking an inactive placebo, said the report by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston.

More information

There's more on dietary sources of calcium at the U.S. Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Yikyung Park, Sc.D, staff scientist, U.S. National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.; Marji McCullough, Sc.D, strategic director, nutritional epidemiology, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; Feb. 23, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine

Last Updated: Feb. 23, 2009

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