Calcium Supplements May Cut Risk Of Colon Polyps

Calcium is amongst the hallmarks of good mineral nutrition and healthy eating and naturally has grabbed the most headlines and attention from the scientific community.

According to the results of the Calcium Polyp Prevention Study, published recently in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, taking a daily calcium supplement reduces polyp risk.

Colon polyps types of tumors that occur on the inside lining of the colon and may become cancerous over time. The significance of the discovery is that it supports the view of scientists that there is a link between calcium supplementation and reducing the risk of all types of colon polyps.

Dr. John Baron, Professor of Medicine and of Community and Family Medicine along with an investigator at Norris Cotton Cancer Center led the study. Their findings showed that study participants taking 1,200 mg of calcium daily for four years had a 19% reduction in polyp formation compared with participants that took a placebo.

For four years 913 study participants took daily either a 1,200-milligram-calcium supplement or a placebo, and had at least one follow-up examination in the four years after enrolling. Colonoscopies were conducted at one year and four years after study enrollment.

The results showed that calcium supplements decreased the risk of all types of colorectal polyps, but the effect was greatest for the most advanced colorectal lesions. Furthermore, the protective effect may last for as long as five years after discontinuing the supplements. However, the benefits did not continue beyond the five years.

Calcium is a difficult mineral for your body to absorb, but fortunately there are easy ways to improve the rate of absorption.  Getting plenty of food rich in vitamin D nutrition is one of them. 

Other foods can make it difficult for your body to make the most of calcium you consume. Dietary fiber, oxalic acids, and phytates bind with calcium and keep it from being absorbed in the intestine.  Oxalic acid is found in spinach and rhubarb, while phytates are found in wheat bran.  Caffeine causes moderate calcium loss.  Each cup of coffee increases your calcium needs by 30 to 50 mg each day, so think before sipping from that capuchino.  Eating too much proteins may cause your body to lose calcium too.

Non-dietary factors that accelerate calcium loss in your body and impact your overall health are smoking and lack of physical activity.

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