Calcium is vital for bone health and may lower colorectal cancer risk, according to new study published this week by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
In this study, 293,907 men and 198,903 women aged 50 to 71 tracked their dietary intake of calcium from foods and supplements while researchers noted the development of any new cases of colorectal cancer.
After seven years, people with the highest calcium intake from milk products and other foods as well as calcium supplements had the lowest colorectal cancer rates.
Women with the highest calcium intake dropped their risk of colorectal cancer by 28 percent when compared to their peers who consumed the least calcium.
For men, a 21 percent drop in colorectal cancer risk was seen in those who consumed the most calcium versus those with the lowest intake.
Both calcium from diet and from supplements reduced the risk of colorectal cancer, says one of the researchers involved in this study.
Men and women over the age of 50 need 1500 milligrams of calcium per day for maintenance of strong bones and teeth.
Calcium-rich foods include dairy products such as milk and yogurt and leafy green vegetables. One cup (250 ml) of skim or 1% milk provides 300 milligrams of calcium. Most multivitamin and mineral supplements provide about 125 milligrams of calcium per tablet.
According to the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, an estimated 21,500 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year and 8,900 will die from it.
These findings were published in the February 23, 2009 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
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