September 13, 2017: A study by the Loma Linda University School of Public Health has found that dairy foods may protect against colorectal cancers.
“We thought significant new insights into how calcium fights cancer might be gained by analyzing it separately from other components of dairy,” said principal investigator Gary Fraser, MBChB, PhD, in a news article on the Loma Linda University website.
The researchers found that calcium appeared to protect against colon cancer whether or not the calcium came from a dairy source.
Fraser said that although dairy foods are the most common sources of dietary calcium, it could also be found in green leafy vegetables, figs, oranges, beans, soybeans, tofu and oral calcium supplements.
No matter what the source, Fraser stressed the importance of consuming calcium which may be important in protecting against colon cancer.
The study, published in the online edition of the journal Public Health Nutrition, found that other properties of dairy foods (apart from calcium itself) protected against rectal cancer.
Calcium aside, Fraser said that in addition to dairy fats like conjugated linoleic acid, vitamin D and the milk protein lactoferrin were likely reasons that dairy foods helped protect against rectal cancer.
“From a health perspective, even a vegan could consider adding some dairy back into their diet, especially if there is a strong risk of colorectal cancer in the family,” said Fraser.
He said that more study was needed to understand the cancer prevention properties of dairy.