They say that milk “does a body good” and the evidence is showing that it’s true! In particular, the calcium inside of milk often gets a lot of attention because it is a great helper in human health. Everybody knows about the benefits of calcium on bones and the prevention of osteoporosis, but now it is getting respect as a possible helper against colon cancer as well.
Colorectal cancer is the third most prominent type of cancer in North America, alongside skin cancer. By the end of this year it is suspected that over 145,000 people will be diagnosed with either colon or rectal cancer. Luckily, although it doesn’t seem that this cancer will be disappearing from existence any time soon, fewer people are dying from the disease. This is in part due to exciting new studies that are identifying risk factors and thus encouraging speedier treatment of the disease.
One example is the evidence linking low calcium levels to colon polyps. People who get more of this vital mineral seem to get fewer polyps. As a result, the polyps get removed and do not get the chance to turn into colon cancer. One recent study, published in January 2005, found that women could reduce their risk of colorectal cancer by over 25% just by increasing their calcium intake by 400 mg a day. The study followed over 45,000 women for eight and a half years. They found that women who got the most calcium, be it from diet or supplements, had the lowest risk of colorectal cancer. Women who got about 800 mg of calcium had three quarters the risk of developing colorectal cancer as the women only get 400 mg a day. This means that by getting supplements or by getting more calcium-rich foods you may be able to fend of colon polyps and even cancer.