Can Calcium Help Prevent Cancer?

What does research say about calcium’s effect on cancer?

Q: I’m surprised I don’t see calcium on your list of recommended nutrients for cancer prevention. What does the research say?

A: There’s good, solid evidence that eating calcium-rich foods, such as low-fat dairy products, protects against colon cancer. But scientists have also found that too much calcium — more than 1,500 mg daily — may increase the risk of prostate cancer. So for men, I recommend consuming only two or three servings of dairy or other calcium-rich foods daily — and definitely not taking calcium supplements unless specifically directed by a physician. For women, I recommend getting 1,000 to 1,200 mg of daily calcium — preferably from food — to help keep bones strong and perhaps help prevent colon cancer.

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