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Unexpected Results of New Calcium Study Raise Questions

Phase 2

In response to a new study, “Calcium and vitamin D supplementation and increased risk of serrated polyps: results from a randomised clinical trial,” published online in the British medical journal Gut, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) issued the following statement:

“CRN is surprised by the results of this new study as previous research has indicated calcium supplementation may have a protective effect against colorectal polyps.[1,2,3,4 ] Even the study’s authors acknowledge they do not understand the mechanism by which the calcium supplements seemingly had the opposite effect of what was hypothesized,” said Andrea Wong, PhD, vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs. Given these opposing outcomes in the research to date, this is clearly a case where additional research is needed to discern whether this study’s outcome was an anomaly.

“Until further research is conducted, we caution the medical community and consumers against haphazardly dismissing or downplaying the value of calcium supplementation, particularly in people most likely to develop osteoporosis or bone loss. This particular study focused on a very specific population—patients with a history of colorectal polyps—and therefore, the study’s results are not applicable to the general population. We recommend consumers with a history of colorectal polyps talk with their doctors about whether calcium supplementation is appropriate.”

For more information, visit www.crnusa.org.

[1] Baron JA, Barry EL, Mott LA, et al. A trial of calcium and vitamin D for the prevention of colorectal adenomas. N Engl J Med 2015;373:1519–30.

[2] Bonithon-Kopp C, Kronborg O, Giacosa A, et al. Calcium and fibre supplementation in prevention of colorectal adenoma recurrence: a randomised intervention trial. European cancer prevention organisation study group. Lancet 2000;356:1300–6.

[3] Baron JA, Beach M, Mandel JS, et al. Calcium supplements for the prevention of colorectal adenomas. Calcium polyp prevention study group. N Engl J Med 1999;340:101–7.

[4] Pence BC. Role of calcium in colon cancer prevention: experimental and clinical studies. Mutat Res 1993;290:87–95.

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