October 15, 2001
Calcium May Increase Risk for Prostate Cancer
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Men with diets high in dairy products may beat increased risk for developing prostate cancer, according to researchpublished in Octobers The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN)(74:549-54, 2001) (www.ajcn.org).
Researchers investigated the association between dairy products, calciumintake and prostate cancer risk as part of the Physicians Health Study, acohort of 20,885 male physicians. At the studys start, subjects filled outdietary questionnaires. Over 11 years, researchers documented 1,012 cases ofprostate cancer. According to the studys authors, led by June Chan from theHarvard School of Public Health, men who consumed more than 2.5 servings ofdairy products per day had a 34-percent higher risk for developing prostatecancer. Additionally, skim milk was directly linked to these findings since itmade up 48 percent of total dairy consumption.
When researchers studied calcium apart from the effects of dairy, the riskratio was 30- percent higher for advanced prostate cancer and 47-percent higherfor non-advanced cases. The authors concluded that men who drank more than 600mg of calcium per day had lower plasma levels of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 thanthose who consumed 150 mg or less of calcium per day. The researchers wereconcerned that increased dairy consumption raised the incidence for prostatecancer, since this form of vitamin D is thought to protect against prostatecancer.
These findings may serve to interject a note of caution into the currententhusiastic promotion of a higher intake of calcium in the United States,the researchers wrote.
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