High calcium intake may lower ovarian cancer risk

September 3, 2002 in Cancer Prevention, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements, Women's Health

High calcium intake may lower ovarian cancer risk

Women whose diet includes plenty of calcium-rich dairy foods may have a lower risk of ovarian cancer, preliminary study findings suggest. Investigators from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu found that women with the highest intake of dairy products were 54% less likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer than their peers who consumed the least dairy food.

While more research is needed to identify the specific components in dairy foods that might benefit women, these results suggest that intake of low-fat milk, calcium, or lactose may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. The researchers added that the daily recommendation that women include 1,000 milligrams (mg) to 1,200 mg of calcium in their daily diet might be enough to lower their ovarian cancer risk.

Women who consumed the most dairy products overall, including low-fat and skim milk, were the least likely to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer regardless of their ethnic group. Higher intake of both calcium and lactose--the natural sugar in dairy foods--also appeared to lower ovarian cancer risk. Lactose may increase calcium absorption and promote the growth of bacteria that keep cancer-causing compounds at bay.

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