Research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research in San Diego this year suggests that vitamin D and calcium supplements may reduce colon cancer risk.
Veronika Fedirko of Emory University presented research showing that giving patients with polyps 2 grams of calcium, 800 IUs of vitamin D or a combination of the two for six months was associated with an increase in a protein that controls programmed cell death (called apotosis). The protein is called Bax. Fedirko found that by increasing Bax in the tissue of the colon, a greater number of precancerous cells- like those found in polyps- may make like those old Mission Impossible tapes and self-destruct. There was the greatest effect in those that received both the calcium and vitamin D which seem to work synergistically in a number of applications.
In a related study presented at the same meeting, Robert Bostick, MD, MPH and colleagues found that individuals who consume high amounts of vitamin D and calcium have increased levels of a protein that moderates the movement and proliferation of colon cells.
The current studies contribute more evidence for a protective role for calcium and vitamin D in colorectal cancer. Dr. Bostick's team is involved in a ten year study at several centers which will evaluate the effects of increased calcium and vitamin D on the recurrence of colon cancer.
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