ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Many Cancer Patients Turn to Complementary Medicine
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Bone Density Predicts Chances of Breast Cancer
Winter Is Tough on Feet
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
CANCER
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
Get to Know the Pap Test
Smoking Exposure Now Linked to Colon, Breast Cancers
CAREGIVING
Baby's Sleep Position May Not Affect Severity of Head Flattening
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Health Tip: After Liposuction
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Holiday Eating Without the Guilt -- or the Pounds
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Oregano Shown to be the Most Powerful Culinary Herb
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
Pilots May Face Greater Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
FITNESS
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
FDA Mandates New Warnings for Botox
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Swine Flu May Have Infected More Than 100,000 Americans
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Breast-Fed Baby May Mean Better Behaved Child
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Rapid Weight Loss in Seniors Signals Higher Dementia Risk
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
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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