June 10, 2007
Calcium And Vitamin D Reduce Cancer In Women

Are you taking vitamin D yet? If not, here's yet another study finding a protective effect from vitamin D against cancer.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 8, 2007) Key milk nutrients, calcium and vitamin D, may do more than just help keep your bones strong. Increasing intake of calcium and vitamin D could reduce the risk for cancer in women by at least 60 percent, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (1)

The four-year clinical trial included more than one thousand women over the age of 55 in one of three supplement groups: 1) calcium (1400-1500mg) plus vitamin D (1100 IU vitamin D) 2) calcium only (1400-1500 mg) or 3) a placebo. The researchers found that the risk of developing cancer was 60 percent lower for those who took calcium and vitamin D and 47 percent lower for those taking calcium alone, compared to the placebo.

Fifty women developed nonskin cancer through the course of the four-year study, including breast, colon, lung and other cancers. When researchers excluded the 13 cancers diagnosed during first year of the study, determining these cancers were likely present at the study onset, the protective effect of calcium and vitamin D was even greater, with a 77 percent lower risk for cancer for those taking calcium plus vitamin D compared to the placebo.

Taking the vitamin D and calcium long term might provide an even higher level of protection.

I found it interesting that calcium provides a protective effect and a substantial one. Almost all the studies I come across about the protective effect of vitamin D against cancer do not include a group that uses calcium. I wish this latest study had included a group that only took vitamin D. Then we'd know whether the calcium still provides a benefit on top of vitamin D.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 June 10 06:44 PM  Aging Diet Cancer Studies

Dennis Mangan said at June 10, 2007 7:16 PM:

I wonder about the exclusion of cancers diagnosed in the first year. Tumors take years to become large enough to be detected so logically, since it was a 4 year study, they should either include or exclude all cancers.

Tom said at June 11, 2007 11:33 AM:

I just looked at the bottle of kiddie vitamins that our family takes. It has a whopping 100mg calcium (1/15 of that in the study, and just 10% of USRDA), and 400 IU Of Vitamin D (100% USRDA, but only about 1/3 that of the study).

Well, better than nothing...

crystal said at June 11, 2007 1:45 PM:

The article mentions that calcium and Vitamin D are "key milk ingredients" (Vitamin D only because it is added). But there are a number of studies associating milk consumption with increased risk of certain types of cancer (see below). So I'd get my Vitamin D from the sun or from supplements, and my calcium from green vegetables or nuts, rather than from milk.


Mettlin CJ, Piver MS. A case-control study of milk-drinking and ovarian cancer risk. Am J Epidemiol. 1990 Nov;132(5):871-6

Fairfield KM, Hunter DJ, Colditz GA, Fuchs CS, Cramer DW, Speizer FE, Willett WC, Hankinson SE. A prospective study of dietary lactose and ovarian cancer. Int J Cancer. 2004 Jun 10;110(2):271-7

Larsson SC, Orsini N, Wolk A. Milk, milk products and lactose intake and ovarian cancer risk: a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies. Int J Cancer. 2006 Jan 15;118(2):431-41.

Larsson SC, Bergkvist L, Wolk A. Milk and lactose intakes and ovarian cancer risk in the Swedish Mammography Cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Nov;80(5):1353-7


Mettlin CJ, Schoenfeld ER, Natarajan N. Patterns of milk consumption and risk of cancer. Nutr Cancer. 1990;13(1-2):89-99.

Le MG, Moulton LH, Hill C, Kramar A. Consumption of dairy produce and alcohol in a case-control study of breast cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1986 Sep;77(3):633-6.

Li XM, Ganmaa D, Sato A. The experience of Japan as a clue to the etiology of breast and ovarian cancers: relationship between death from both malignancies and dietary practices. Med Hypotheses. 2003 Feb;60(2):268-75

Hislop TG, Coldman AJ, Elwood JM, Brauer G, Kan L. Childhood and recent eating patterns and risk of breast cancer. Cancer Detect Prev. 1986;9(1-2):47-58.

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Zhang J, Kesteloot H. Milk consumption in relation to incidence of prostate, breast, colon, and rectal cancers: is there an independent effect? Nutr Cancer. 2005;53(1):65-72


Kuriki K, Tajima K. The increasing incidence of colorectal cancer and the preventive strategy in Japan. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2006 Jul-Sep;7(3):495-501.

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Mettlin C. Milk drinking, other beverage habits, and lung cancer risk. Int J Cancer. 1989 Apr 15;43(4):608-12.

Axelsson G, Rylander R. Diet as risk for lung cancer: a Swedish case-control study. Nutr Cancer. 2002;44(2):145-51

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Kneller RW, McLaughlin JK, Bjelke E, Schuman LM, Blot WJ, Wacholder S, Gridley G, CoChien HT, Fraumeni JF Jr. A cohort study of stomach cancer in a high-risk American population. Cancer. 1991 Aug 1;68(3):672-8.


Ghadirian P, Thouez JP, PetitClerc C. International comparisons of nutrition and mortality from pancreatic cancer. Cancer Detect Prev. 1991; 15(5):357-62.

Thouez JP, Ghadirian P, Petitclerc C, Hamelin P. International comparisons of nutrition and mortality from cancers of the oesophagus, stomach and pancreas. Geogr Med. 1990;20:39-50.


Tseng M, Breslow RA, Graubard BI, Ziegler RG. Dairy, calcium, and vitamin D intakes and prostate cancer risk in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Epidemiologic Follow-up Study cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 May;81(5):1147-54.

Giovannucci E, Liu Y, Stampfer MJ, Willett WC. A prospective study of calcium intake and incident and fatal prostate cancer.Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006 Feb;15(2):203-10

Chan JM, Stampfer MJ, Ma J, Gann PH, Gaziano JM, Giovannucci EL. Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk in the Physicians' Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Oct;74(4):549-54.

Gao X, LaValley MP, Tucker KL. Prospective studies of dairy product and calcium intakes and prostate cancer risk: a meta-analysis. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2005 Dec 7;97(23):1768-77.

ArtofWeightLoss said at June 11, 2007 8:17 PM:

Exactly Crystal ! Brocolli has way more calcium than milk. In fact, in women, it has been shown that milk can indeed actually increase the risk of osteoporosis.

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