A long-term dietary trial has revealed that supplementation with calcium and vitamin D can dramatically lower the risk of cancer in women.
The 4-year trial, conducted in Nebraska, USA, involved 1180 healthy post-menopausal women who were initially free from cancer. The women were randomised into 3 groups and given either a
placebo, calcium alone, or calcium vitamin D. The daily calcium supplementation was in the region of 1500mg (almost double the US recommended daily intake) while, for vitamin D, it was 27.5mg
(1100 I.U) (almost triple the US recommended daily intake).
Through the course of the study, 50 participants developed non-skin cancers, including breast, colon and lung cancers. However, women taking the calcium vitamin D supplement were 60% less
likely to develop cancer than women taking the placebo pills. Many countries in Europe do not have a recommended daily amount for vitamin D in adults, despite the fact that vitamin D intakes
can be low in some population groups and sun exposure limited. There is now debate among experts on whether new recommendations are warranted.