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Harvard Study: Calcium Supplements May Reduce Risk of Colon Cancer

If you’re skipping the gorgonzola to cut down on calories, the good news is that you might be able to get your calcium from supplements while still reaping some important benefits. A new meta-analysis by Harvard researchers has found that calcium supplements are associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. Published in the International Journal of Cancer, the meta-analysis examined multiple observational studies involving thousands of people, all of which looked at the relationship between colon cancer and calcium intake. The researchers discovered that:

  • For every 300 mg/day increase in calcium from supplements, there was a 9% reduction in colon cancer risk.
  • For every 300 mg/day increase in total calcium intake, dietary sources included, there was an 8% reduction in colon cancer risk.

Although additional trials are still needed to confirm these benefits, the public health implications of this new meta-analysis are important. For example, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that adults over the age of 50 who do not take calcium supplements had an average calcium consumption falling below recommended levels. While there has been some concern that excessive calcium supplementation may contribute to heart disease in elderly women, another recent meta-analysis did not find any evidence that calcium has this negative effect.

Source: International Journal of Cancer

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