Calcium & Cancer Prevention

What is Calcium?

Calcium is an essential nutritional mineral that is abundant in milk, yoghurt, cheese, and dark green vegetables. Calcium is an important mineral found in bones and teeth. It is also essential for blood clotting to stop bleeding and for adequate neuron, muscle, and cardiac function.

Calcium Foods

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) advises 600 mg of calcium per day for children aged one to nine. A normal adult man and female requires 600 mg per day of Calcium. Calcium is absorbed passively in the intestines by diffusing through the gaps between cells. It is also actively absorbed by intestinal cells by adhering to calbindin, a transport protein. Calbindin production is Vitamin D dependent.

Calcium Supplements

How might Calcium help in prevention of Cancer?

Cancer is a condition in which some cells in the body develop uncontrolled and spread to other regions of the body. Human cells normally develop and multiply (a process known as cell division) to generate new cells when the body requires them. Cells die as they get old or injured, and new cells replace them. This organised process occasionally breaks down, allowing aberrant or damaged cells to grow and reproduce when they should not. These cells can combine to produce tumours, which are tissue masses. Tumours may or may not be malignant (benign).

Calcium appears to protect high-risk individuals from forming polyps, which can lead to colon cancer and the advantages appear to remain long after calcium supplementation is discontinued.

Colorectal cancer is any cancer that affects the colon or rectum. It is also known as bowel cancer, colon cancer, or rectal cancer.

Calcium binds to bile acids and fatty acids in the gastrointestinal system to create insoluble compounds termed as calcium soaps. This limits the capacity of the acids (or their metabolites) to harm cells in the gut lining and stimulates cell proliferation to repair the damage. Calcium may also act directly to reduce cell growth in the colon lining or enable proliferating colon cells to divide, resulting in a decrease in cell proliferation. Calcium may also boost cell signalling and induce cancer cells to differentiate and/or die.

Calcium concentration increases cell proliferation and causes differentiation of mammary cells. There is evidence that calcium, at least in part, exerts its anticarcinogenic effects through vitamin D. Calcium, for example, is one of the primary mediators of cell death triggered by vitamin D compounds in breast cancer cells.

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Sonali Manna

-Expert and Writer

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