Calcium Supplements May Cause Colon Polyps

A recent study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill led by Dr.Seth Crockett tracked over 2,000 people while assigning participants into 4 groups. One group was given calcium supplements, another Vitamin D, a third group took both and the last group took neither for 3-5 years. On follow-up 10 years after the start of the study those who took calcium alone or with Vitamin D were more likely to have developed polyps. Women smokers were at even higher risk. Polyps are not cancer, but must be removed due to the potential of becoming cancerous. Whereas supplemental calcium was associated with increased risk dietary calcium was not.

 Man in pain with hand on forehead. Ultimate Health Personal Training Los Angeles/Hollywood

Calcium supplementation has also been blamed for headaches particularly migraine. The internet is littered with anecdotal evidence, but no true studies to confirm this. On personal level this turned out to be true for me, I am very sensitive to calcium balance changes. If I take something that increases my calcium in the form of a vitamin pill or Tums I will get a migraine within days. Also true if I take something that lowers my magnesium such as a PPI antacid. Calcium rich foods, however, do not have this effect on me. Maybe its natures natural balance of calcium, magnesium, etc.  So, for me a change in my calcium magnesium balance due to supplementation means a nasty headache. Now this is not a cure for migraine as not all migraines have the same trigger, but maybe worth a try.

Should You Use Supplemental Calcium

I think this depends on why you take calcium in the first place. If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia and your doctor recommends it, then yes you should fortify. However, if you use it preventively then you have to weigh the benefits versus the risks. As an alternative add more calcium rich foods to your diet, take Vitamin D in pill form or get 10-15 minutes of sun exposure on 20% of your body twice a week (Vitamin D synthesizes on our skin when exposed to UV light), and participate in weight bearing exercise.  Weight bearing exercise has been proven to increase bone density as well as muscle mass. Lastly, if you still use calcium supplements consider more frequent colonoscopies…I know…fun.

References:

www.webmd/colorectal-cancer-news  Calcium Supplements Up Odds of Colon Polyps

www.ncbi.nim.nih.gov/pcm/articles   Vitamin D

National Cancer Institute Calcium and Cancer Prevention

    

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