Milk and Prostate Cancer: New Evidence

The Physicians Committee

Milk and Prostate Cancer: New Evidence

April 5, 2007

A new study in the International Journal of Cancer highlights the link between dairy consumption and prostate cancer. Researchers examined dairy and calcium intake in 29,133 men in the Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study. As consumption of dairy products or overall dietary calcium intake increased, risk for prostate cancer increased. Men who consumed the most dietary calcium (greater than 2,000 mg per day) had a 63 percent greater risk, compared with those getting less than 1,000 mg per day.

Several previous studies have linked dairy products with prostate cancer. The new study adds to evidence that a principal reason may be dairy calcium. Excess dietary calcium inhibits activation of vitamin D in the body; vitamin D is essential for prostate health. Even though milk products in the U.S. are fortified with vitamin D, their large calcium load tends to block vitamin D activation in the body.

Mitrou PN, Albanes D, Weinstein SJ, Pietinen P, et al. A prospective study of dietary calcium, dairy products and prostate cancer risk (Finland). Int J Cancer. 2007;120:2466-2473.

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