ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
CANCER
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
Antioxidants Pose No Melanoma Threat
CAREGIVING
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Even in 'Last Supper,' Portion Sizes Have Grown
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
Fish in U.S. Rivers Tainted With Common Medications
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
EYE CARE, VISION
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
FITNESS
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
Simple Exercise Precautions To Help Keep Baby Boomers Fit
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Simple Holistic Approach to Fight the Common Cold
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
Irregular Heartbeat Tied to Alzheimer's Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
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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