Calcium does more than keep your bones healthy. It is an all-encompassing mineral with amazing effects. A batch of research, called the Calcium Polyp Prevention Study, found that this nutrient offers the human body an excellent level of protection against polyps in the colon. These are non-cancerous growths whose danger is that they greatly increase one’s risk of developing tumors.
The study found that patients who were treated with supplements for four straight years were protected against recurring polyps, the kind that are most closely linked to cancer. The most interesting part of it all is that the patients in question were protected from these polyps for up to five full years after they stopped taking the calcium supplements.
This means that calcium’s cancer-preventing power is so strong that it lasts well into the future. And the positive results came amongst patients who had already experienced polyps in the past — which means that calcium could help those who are at high risk of tumors avoid getting them. This polyp-preventing study led to the Calcium Follow-up Study, which analyzed about 600 patients who had at least one colonoscopy after the previous study.
In the first half-decade of the follow-up, the rate of polyp formation was 31.5% for those who took calcium. For the untreated patients, the figure was 43.2%. Five years after they stopped taking calcium supplements, calcium no longer offered the protection. Thus, it might be a good time to start taking supplements again. It’s best to aim for 1,000 mg a day that can be split into two doses taken at different times.
Why does calcium reduce the risk of colon polyps? Experts suggest that calcium forms a complex with bile acids, and prevents possible cancer-causing substances from coming into contact with the colon’s inner lining. Like a shield. It is also possible, some evidence shows, that calcium actually blocks a colon cancer cell from forming.
There is a pattern emerging. It’s been found that people with a history of polyps can reduce their recurrence by keeping a diet high in calcium. And it’s been found that 700 to 800 mg of calcium a day sliced the risk of colon cancer in half. If you are at risk for colon cancer, perhaps having had a polyp in the past, ask your doctor about whether you should take.