by Dr. James Meschino on 9 November 2020 in Cancer

Tags:  vitamin, calcium 

Calcium Linked to Colon Cancer Prevention

(Insight on large meta-analysis that provide link between calcium and colon cancer)

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death when you combine the statistics for men and women. Studies in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggest that 70-90% of colon cancer cases can be prevented through prudent dietary and lifestyle practices. One of the factors that appear to be linked to colon cancer prevention is the optimal intake of calcium from day to day. In fact, over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested that calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer. Animal studies have shown this effect, and many population studies (epidemiological studies) have shown a strong correlation between higher calcium intake and lower incidence of colorectal cancer.

Source: International Journal of Cancer (2014)

Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update (July 12, 2017)

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death when you combine the statistics for men and women. Studies in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggest that 70-90% of colon cancer cases can be prevented through prudent dietary and lifestyle practices. One of the factors that appear to be linked to colon cancer prevention is the optimal intake of calcium from day to day. 

In fact, over the past 25 to 30 years, studies have suggested that calcium may confer protection against colorectal cancer. Animal studies have shown this effect, and many population studies (epidemiological studies) have shown a strong correlation between higher calcium intake and lower incidence of colorectal cancer.

What does meta-analysis reveal on calcium intake and colon cancer prevention ? 

A meta-analysis published in 2014 in the International Journal of Cancer has provided additional evidence that higher calcium intake, including calcium supplements, is associated with a significant reduction in risk of colorectal cancer. The meta-analysis combined the data from 15 various human studies. 

The data showed that for every 300 mg increase in calcium from supplements there was an associated 9% reduction in risk of colorectal cancer and that for every 300 mg increase in total calcium (combination of food and supplements) there was an associated reduction in risk of 8%. 

This means that a calcium intake of 1200 mg per day, which is what you should be shooting for to optimize bone density and prevent osteoporosis), is also associated with colon cancer prevention by 32-36%. That is a significant reduction in risk. Unfortunately, most people have a calcium intake that is much lower than that (500-800 mg per day).

How does calcium reduce colon cancer risk?

How does calcium reduce colon cancer risk?

Studies suggest that calcium slows down the rate of cell division of cells that line the colon. When you slow down cell division, cells tend to make fewer genetic mistakes that lead to cancer development. Also, calcium binds to bile acids in the gut, which prevents their conversion into cancer-causing secondary sterols (lithocholic and deoxycholic acids).

So, the take-home message appears to be to ensure that you are getting sufficient calcium-rich foods each day. And if necessary, use a supplement containing additional calcium and vitamin D. Vitamin D works with calcium for support but is also linked to colon cancer prevention.

I’ve included a list of healthy, calcium containing foods below, showing that number of milligrams of calcium available in a standard serving size. I think you’ll find it to be a good reference.

I also included the scientific reference below for the meta-analysis study.

Sources of Calcium From Common Healthy Foods

Food
Portion Size
Amount of Calcium (mg)
Low Fat Yogurt
1 cup
415
Low Fat Milk (nonfat,1%)
I cup
300
Low Fat Cottage Cheese
½ cup
75
Sardines with bones
3 oz
370
Salmon with bones (canned)
3 oz
165
Processed Tofu with calcium sulfate
4 oz
145
Canned Shrimp
3 oz
100
Cooked Lentils
1 cup
75
Chicken Breast
3 oz
10
Tuna
3 oz
5
Collard Greens
½ cup
180
Spinach
½ cup
85
Stalk of Broccoli
1 medium
70
Orange
I medium
55
Green Beans
½ cup
30
Lettuce
½ head
15
Orange Juice
½ cup
10
Apple
1 medium
10
Whole Wheat Bread
1 slice
20
Cooked Spaghetti
1 cup
15
Cooked Rice
½ cup
10
Apricots, raw, dried
4-6 halves
24
Dates
3-4
22
Figs Canned
3
35
Figs Dried
2
56
Grapefruit
I medium
40
Prunes, dried raw
5
27
Raisins
¼ cup
31
Raspberries
2/3 cup
40
Strawberries
1 cup
42
Roasted Almonds
1 oz
80
Kale
½ cup
47
Baked Beans
½ cup
78
White Beans
½ cup
96
Dry-roasted soybean nuts
½ cup
232

 Reference:

  1. Keum N, Aune D, Greenwood D.C., Ju W, Giovannucci E.L. Calcium intake and colorectal cancer risk: Dose-response meta-analysis of prospective observational studies. International J Cancer (2014) 135 (8): 1940-1948)


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great!

Dr. James Meschino


About the Author

Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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