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Calcium: The Key to a Happy Colon

Calcium has been shown to have many positive benefits, including helping to build strong bones and teeth, aiding in weight loss, and now, staving off intestinal polyps, according to research published in a recent issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Researchers studied just over 900 patients assigned randomly to receive 1,200 mg/day of calcium carbonate or placebo. Follow-up colonoscopies were administered to each patient, approximately one and four years after the initial presence of colorectal polyps was assessed.

Results: Researchers found that polyps occurred less frequently among the calcium group than the placebo group, and that calcium reduced the risk of all polyps by 14 percent and advanced polyps by 35 percent. The authors also suggest that intakes over 1,200 mg of calcium a day may be necessary to maximize its benefits, and that dietary fiber and dietary fat may also play a role.

Still not convinced about the value of calcium? Well, guess what? It also helps regulate heart function and lower cholesterol. So don't delay! Be kind to your colon, and start your calcium regimen today. Good food sources include dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, cereal products, beans, and fruits - most of which you should be eating almost every day! However, if finding the time to get proper calcium intake from food seems to be a problem, a daily multivitamin is a good alternative.

A comprehensive listing of vitamins and minerals, including brief summaries, recommended daily intake, and common food sources can be found at


Wallace K, Baron JA, Cole BF, et al. Effect of calcium supplementation on the risk of large bowel polyps. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 16, 2004;96(12):921-5.

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