Dairy and Calcium linked to Prostate Cancer

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

Study found high intake of dairy and calcium is linked to higher risk of prostate cancer

Researchers from the Tufts University published (December 2005) an article in the Journal of National Cancer Institute found that adult men who consume large amounts of milk or other dairy products may have a slightly higher risk of developing prostate cancer when compared to men who consume less dairy products. They reviewed 12 studies published between 1966 and 2005 and investigated dairy and calcium intake and prostate cancer incidence.

The results showed that men who ate the most dairy products had an 11% higher risk of developing prostate cancer when compared with men who ate lesser amounts of dairy products. Men with the highest intake of calcium were 39% more likely to develop prostate cancer than men with the lowest calcium consumption.

Editor’s Note – How much Dairy?

Earlier in January 2005, some questions were already raised when the government announced the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 to recommend Americans increase their intake of dairy products to 3 servings a day. We understand that dairy products contain calcium and potassium which have been proven to reduce the risks of heart disease, blood pressure and osteoporosis. Some studies also suggested that dairy products may have a role in weight control and even prevent colon cancer. Although it is too early to conclude that high intake of dairy products and calcium is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, it is difficult to ignore the results of the above study. At this point, we know that 3 daily servings of dairy products is safe for most children, teenagers and adult women. Until more research is done, the author of this study questioned if the recommendation to increase dairy intake to 3 servings a day is appropriate for adult men.


calcium, cancer, milk, prostate


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