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LMU 58 – Harnessing Calcium Intake to Shield Against Colorectal Cancer: A Comprehensive Approach

Calcium Continues to be Linked to Colon Cancer Prevention

LMU 58 – Harnessing Calcium Intake to Shield Against Colorectal Cancer: A Comprehensive Approach

Source: International Journal of Cancer (2014)

Lifestyle Medicine Update (July 14, 2017)


Colorectal cancer emerges as a formidable adversary, ranking second in cancer-related mortality when considering all genders. However, a ray of hope gleams from studies highlighted in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. These studies suggest that through prudent dietary and lifestyle practices, a remarkable 70-90% of colon cancer cases can be averted. Among the myriad factors intertwining with colon cancer prevention, optimal calcium intake shines as a beacon. Over the past three decades, scientific exploration has cast calcium in the role of a potential guardian against colorectal cancer. Supported by animal studies and epidemiological investigations, a noteworthy correlation between higher calcium intake and diminished colorectal cancer incidence emerges as a pivotal revelation.

The Calcium-Colorectal Cancer Nexus: An In-Depth Analysis

The potency of calcium in mitigating colorectal cancer risk receives further validation through a compelling 2014 meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Cancer. Drawing insights from 15 distinct human studies, this meta-analysis illuminates a marked reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer associated with elevated calcium intake from both dietary and supplementary sources. Specifically, each incremental 300 mg rise in calcium derived from supplements corresponds to a noteworthy 9% reduction in risk. Equally noteworthy, a parallel 300 mg increase in total calcium intake precipitates an 8% decrease in risk. Remarkably, striving for a daily calcium intake of 1200 mg—recognized as the threshold for optimizing bone density and curbing osteoporosis—aligns with a substantial 32-36% reduction in colon cancer risk. Regrettably, a sizable segment of the population falls short of this target, typically ingesting between 500-800 mg of calcium each day.

Deciphering the Mechanism: How Calcium Engages in Risk Abatement

Peering into the mechanism underlying calcium’s potential to mitigate colon cancer risk unveils its safeguarding attributes. Scientific inquiry reveals that calcium effectively retards the pace of cell division among colon-lining cells. This deceleration curtails the likelihood of genetic anomalies that fuel cancer progression. Furthermore, calcium’s propensity to bind with bile acids in the gut curbs their conversion into secondary sterols, such as lithocholic and deoxycholic acids, recognized instigators of cancer advancement. This two-fold mechanism underscores calcium’s pivotal role in thwarting colorectal cancer.

A Calcium-Rich Regimen: Strengthening Colorectal Well-being

The crux of the matter lies in sustaining a consistent influx of calcium-rich foods into one’s daily diet. Should circumstances necessitate, calcium and vitamin D supplements offer viable alternatives. Notably, vitamin D synergizes with calcium, bolstering not just bone health, but also exerting an influence on reduced colon cancer risk.

Embarking on a Calcium-Enriched Journey: A Plethora of Sources for Colorectal Health

Surveying the diverse landscape of calcium-rich foods unveils a spectrum of options to fortify colon health. From dairy stalwarts like low-fat yogurt and milk to seafood offerings such as sardines and salmon, the array of choices enriches the palate with calcium’s nurturing touch. Similarly, vegetables like collard greens and broccoli, complemented by an eclectic array of fruits, nuts, and legumes, enrich the culinary tapestry with calcium’s protective embrace.

Conclusion: Pioneering Colorectal Health Through Calcium Fortification

The clarion call emanating from the 2014 meta-analysis, supported by decades of meticulous research, urges individuals to recognize calcium’s formidable potential in the realm of colorectal cancer prevention. Empowered by empirical evidence highlighting calcium’s capacity to retard cell division and thwart cancer-inducing transformations, individuals are poised to tread a path fortified by calcium’s protective mantle. By cultivating a diet infused with calcium-rich fare and, where warranted, integrating supplements, individuals can traverse the journey towards colon cancer prevention with the resilience conferred by calcium’s inherent prowess.


  1. Keum N, Aune D, Greenwood D.C., Ju W, Giovannucci E.L. Calcium intake and colorectal cancer risk: Dose-response meta-analysis of prospective observational studies. International J Cancer (2014) 135 (8): 1940-1948)

Sources of Calcium-Rich Foods

FoodPortion SizeAmount of Calcium (mg)
Low Fat Yogurt1 cup415
Low Fat Milk (nonfat,1%)I cup300
Low Fat Cottage Cheese½ cup75
Sardines with bones3 oz370
Salmon with bones (canned)3 oz165
Processed Tofu with calcium sulfate4 oz145
Canned Shrimp3 oz100
Cooked Lentils1 cup75
Chicken Breast3 oz10
Tuna3 oz5
Collard Greens½ cup180
Spinach½ cup85
Stalk of Broccoli1 medium70
OrangeI medium55
Green Beans½ cup30
Lettuce½ head15
Orange Juice½ cup10
Apple1 medium10
Whole Wheat Bread1 slice20
Cooked Spaghetti1 cup15
Cooked Rice½ cup10
Apricots, raw, dried4-6 halves24
Figs Canned335
Figs Dried256
GrapefruitI medium40
Prunes, dried raw527
Raisins¼ cup31
Raspberries2/3 cup40
Strawberries1 cup42
Roasted Almonds1 oz80
Kale½ cup47
Baked Beans½ cup78
White Beans½ cup96
Dry-roasted soybean nuts½ cup232

Dr. James Meschino


Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.

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