A provocative study from Harvard Medical School shows that men who eat diary products regularly have a 30 percent greater chance of suffering prostate cancer than those who eat less than half a serving per day.

How can this be? Isn't milk a health food? Many of you will be shocked by these findings, but this study is the largest done yet, it is done by arguably the most respected epidemiology teams in the world and there is a physiologic explanation for the results. Milk is loaded with calcium and taking large amounts of calcium lowers blood levels of the body's form of vitamin D called 1,24 dihydroxyvitamin D that prevents cancers (2). Of course, milk is usually fortified with vitamin D, but there is so much more calcium than vitamin D in milk that the extra calcium drains vitamin D from the body.

This study shows that men who take in more than six glasses of vitamin D fortified milk per week have lower levels of vitamin D than those who take in fewer than two glasses. This tells you that you shouldn't believe everything that you hear, even if it comes from scientific studies. These studies imply that you don't need to drink milk and that taking calcium supplements may harm you. Lack of vitamin D is usually caused by lack of sunlight as very few people get the vitamin D that they need from food. Vitamin D deficiency is common in winter, particularly in people who live in the northern parts of the globe and people with dark skin.

1) Results of the Physicians Study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research in San Francisco April 4, 2000. 2) AM Barreto, GG Schwartz, R Woodruff, SC Cramer. 5-hydroxyvitamin D-3, the prohormone of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D-3, inhibits the proliferation of primary prostatic epithelial cells.Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, 2000, Vol 9, Iss 3, pp 265-270. these findings support a potential role for vitamin D in the chemoprevention of prostate cancer.

Reported 4/11/05; checked 6/9/13

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