A new meta-analysis has found a slight reduction in the risk of developing breast cancer when calcium rich foods like cheese and milk as well as supplements are consumed daily.
Data from over 870,000 women was collected from 11 individual surveys. At the time of the studies, which were all prospective, none of the women had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The amount of calcium ingested daily was determined through food frequency questionnaires and at least one 24 hour food diary. The participants were monitored for at least seven years. During the monitoring period over 26,000 of the participants were given a diagnosis of breast cancer. The women with higher intakes of calcium in comparison to those with lower intakes of calcium had an overall risk of breast cancer of .92 which suggested a reduced risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer of about 8% for the women with higher calcium intake.
Further sub-group meta-analysis showed the protective effects of calcium were strongest in women diagnosed with breast cancer before they transitioned into menopause.
Researcher also found a dose effect of calcium, in other words, for each 300 mg increase in calcium, either from food or supplementation, there was an associated 2% reduction in the total risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
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Further studies are needed since participants were called on to remember what they had eaten which oftentimes is not a reliable source of data.