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Women should increase calcium intake to reduce risk of colon cancer

Women may be able to reduce their risk of colon cancer by taking more calcium, either in foods or as supplements.  According to a study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, women who took more calcium from either food or supplements were 25% less likely to develop colon cancer over the nine year period of the study.  Surprisingly, women who got the higher calcium levels by combining food source and supplements had a 45% lower risk of colon cancer during the same period of time. 

The levels of calcium that were found to be significant were doses above 400 mg per day for food (dietary) sources of calcium, and above 800 mg per day for calcium supplements.  The difference in the beneficial dosages between food and supplementary sources may result from the different ways the body absorbs supplements as opposed to food, but further research needs to be done to confirm the reason. 

The researchers believe that higher calcium levels reduce the risk of colon cancer in women because calcium acts to neutralize bile acid in the colon.  This study indicates that women should increase the amount of calcium in their diet to more than 400 mg per day, and also supplement that dietary calcium with more than 800 mg per day.