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Dairy products or calcium supplements?

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

I've spent days researching the pros and cons of calcium supplements (specifically, Solgar's calcium citrate with added D3) and calcium from dairy. Neither source seems appealing, particularly to cancer patients; but I nevertheless need to get close to 1500 mg. in my diet.

My doctor does not want me to take supplements, and I don't want to take dairy. However, after several days of tracking my foods and seeing that I barely exceed 800 mg. of calcium a day, I was looking for a quicker fix. Tonight, I went out and bought organic skim milk, lowfat cheese, and yogurt.

Now, the question is which will do me in more quickly? Can I feel safe having a cup of fat-free yogurt and a cup of skim milk a day or, alternatively, a cup of one or the other combined with plant and fruit sources of calcium.

Does anyone else worry about this stuff? I will continue to chart my meals, and I thank all of you again for the tools with which to do that. I would just be interested in whether you all are having this dilemma and how you are handling it.

Fayard's picture
Fayard
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Joined: May 2011

My doctor told me to take supplements. I do not eat any kind of dairy, so I rather take the supplement since it is very difficult to get the 1400 mg just from food.

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
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Joined: Dec 2009

I don't want to eat the dairy, but I don't want to take the supplements either. I'm just wondering which is the worse decision. Maybe I just need to realize that I am in for a tough time trying to get my calcium from other sources.

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

I'm certainly not an expert in this area. I know we talked alot about this in the past. Hormone tests showed that I am ER/PR negative and my doc told me it's OK for me to consume dairy. He really puts little stock in diet, though.

So for me, since I am not hormone sensitive, I consume dairy. I drink mainly skim milk, greek yogurt, and some cheese in moderation.

Jill, I am putting alot of emphasis on weightbearing exercise - walking and some weights an hour a day. I think that counts significantly toward overall bone health and maybe we don't need to worry so much about consuming so much calcium. When we look at people who live in the "blue zones" - where people live to very advanced ages - the one common thread found in all these cultures is EXERCIZE. My first gyn. onc. told me before he moved away (traumatic event) that best way to prevent recurrence was exercise - it surprised me that this was his only advice! Multiple benefits from several sources tell me that exercise plus a good balanced diet should do the trick.

Mary Ann

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
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Joined: Dec 2009

Thank you so much for your comments. I had been walking about 14 miles a week until this awful heatwave started, but I have been more sedentary lately and using my writing deadlines as an excuse to sit on my butt. My plan is to find a routine that works for me and to get back to walking a few miles each day. Also, I think I am going to buy some hand and ankle weights and do some lifting while listening to music or watching TV.

As for the dairy, I now have fat-free or low-fat versions in my fridge and will try to add a cup of milk/yogurt or an ounce of 50 percent light cheese a day. By the way, I was looking at the ingredients of Cabot's low-fat cheddar cheese: the 50 percent light is "natural," but the 75 percent light contains all kinds of chemicals. Just another reason to read the labels.

I love my new PCP, who is committed to keeping me healthy through diet and exercise...and not meds or supplements. We'll see how it goes.

Jill

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
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As mentioned earlier I do walk approx 1 hour per day or at the gym. When going outside to walk I get out early --- 6am -- as heat here in St Louis is miserable as well. Heat is cumulative so the more you're in it, the more used to it you'll get.

Just a thought...
Jan

upsofloating's picture
upsofloating
Posts: 473
Joined: Dec 2009

I've been mostly lurking and just taking in all the great info being posted! Thanks all.

Re exercise, while still in the hospital post-debulking surgery, my gyn-onc insisted I walk, walk, walk. He told me it's a subliminal message to the body that you want to live. I keep this in mind continuously and it does help me on my less-than-motivated days to do something! He knew something about this as just a few years prior he had an accident, broke his neck and had potential for being a quadriplegic, then spent a year in recovery. He was relatively young, with 2 young sons and a great determination to not just survive, but to thrive. And today he is active and a great surgeon.

So ladies, exercise, exercise, exercise, and most importantly walk ;-)
Annie

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
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It's almost like a "catch 22"...you do this, but then it can have adverse affects, etc. I can't say most things in life are BLACK OR WHITE...so much in the GRAY area.

Here's my take, I'm hormone sensitive (cancer is MMMT), so I don't ingest much dairy, if any. I know soy has so much unknown for us, but a prominent doc told me to limit soy to 2 servings per day. Notice soy does have some good protein which we need as well. Now if we can't consume dairy the list of calcium foods has lower amounts, therefore, must eat quite a lot of them. I figure to get more dairy I must take a few supplements, so that's where I am today.

There's a lot of information out there on Vitamin D and how it can affect our calcium levels. Once I increased my D to the "new" levels my need for supplemental calcium should go down or completely go away. You then might get enough from diet. The soy milk is fortified w/ calcium so this is what is helping in addition to all the veggie-based calcium I am probably getting. You know that calcium and D are closely tied, so w/ the increase in D, there is increased absorption of calcium. I think this is how we are meant to work....higher D (as if we were outside) and calcium from the diet. I think we are very brainwashed to worry about calcium (probably from the dairy industry) and of course w/ osteoporosis, worry w/ that one too.

Have you had your calcium and vitamin D levels checked? Might be a good start. I have a great nutritionist who does help guide me, plus my doc.

Mary Ann, I agree 100% on the exercise as well. I attended a conference where the doc had done lots of studies on exercise and cancer. Her take...get out and move as it keeps the cancer at bay. Now no guarantee it will NEVER come back, but better hope with exercise then without. Cancer cells cannot survive in an oxygenated environment. I go out and huff and puff while I'm working out and visualize the sweeper cleaning out all the body parts. By the end of the exercise I feel I'm clear as a bell...NED!! Then add in the weights and we're helping our bone density, possibly a great alternative when we're challenged on our calcium intake.

FYI I've backed off on my calcium supplements today, as not ready to stop cold turkey. What I want to do is use the website someone suggested yesterday and follow what vitamins I'm getting from my dairy intake. Then I can see where I set with my calcium and other valuable nutrients.

Lots of good stuff ladies...love this topic!!
Jan

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
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Joined: Dec 2009

Getting my Vitamin D level checked was important to me, but I had to request this test at my recent physical. My level was normal--yay--so I had been doing something right. My calcium level was also normal. However, and this is a big however, I had been taking a calcium citrate supplement that contained 1000 mgs. of D3.

Now that I am tossing my supplements, I am facing a challenge. I am going to increase my exercise, chart the foods I eat, add some low-fat dairy (with extreme trepidation and very limited amounts), and do my best to include as many non-dairy sources of calcium as possible to my daily diet.

I apologize for being obsessed; but when I talk to friends outside of this board, their eyes glaze over.

Jill

RoseyR
Posts: 464
Joined: Feb 2011

Dear Jazzy,

Wish MY onc had told me that MMMT is hormonally receptive: not a word about it.

Did you ask or did your oncologist simply inform you?

And is it all MMMT--or just your own tumor that's receptive to estrogen? (Is it also a progesterone-receptive tumor, I wonder?)

Finally: When we're afflicted with hormonally sensitive tumors, does that automatically make all dairy off limits? (Even if it's organic dairy from grass-fed cows fed no hormones? Grass-fed cows produce milke and cheese high in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which much research shows helps to PREVENT cancer. (One source on this subject: Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma.) CLA is also reputed to reduce body fat (estrogen-lowering capacity right there!).

Thanks so much!

Rosey

kkstef's picture
kkstef
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

Since Jill started this interesting discussion, I have been re-evaluating what I am doing. I do have some dairy as I just do not seem to get enough calcium in my diet. I have been eating a slice of Jarlsberg Lite Cheese with lunch most days (Ingredients: Pasteurized Part Skim Milk, Rennet, Salt, Vitamin A (Not Found in Swiss Cheese) Acetate, Culture). I don't drink milk but occasionally have some Organic Yogurt. I have been taking supplements but am definitely rethinking that!

Mary Ann is right....exercise is probably one of the best things we can do! And an hour per day is GREAT!!!

I want to live a balanced life and not head down a path that is so hard to follow that if I "fall off the wagon" I feel guilty. I think we are all doing so many positive things to stay NED that the chances of us succeeding is very good!

So....I plan to kick up my exercise, be more thoughtful about eating more foods that will provide calcium and cutting back (cutting out) my calcium supplements. I am thinking that eating a little cheese or yogurt to increase calcium is probably healthier than the supplements.

Good health to all!!

Karen

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

is probably very GOOD for our health. Enjoying our lives is what living is all about. Last night, I had Chinese dumplings for dinner--shrimp, probably white flour, and definitely too much sodium (although I stayed away from the dipping sauce). This place was written up on Yelp and Chowhound, and I just HAD to check it out. So there you go--every once in a while, I don't think about what I am eating.

Today, however, I am having a raw kale salad for lunch and some leftover curried chickpeas and tomatoes (Karen's recipe) for dinner. Also, I plan to take a long walk.

Enjoy!

Jill

Fayard's picture
Fayard
Posts: 343
Joined: May 2011

Jill,

Can you please tell me what are the risks of taking supplements?
I am about to start B12 and Folic Acid,since I do not eat animal products except for organic eggs and fish occasionally.

I am not consuming dairy, because I read it feeds cancer cells as well as red meats ans processed sugar.

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

In a separate thread "anti-cancer diet and calcium," I included some links to articles discussing the dangers of calcium supplements. Other supplements do not pose the same dangers, but studies show that vitamins from food are more readily absorbed than vitamins from supplements.

I take a B-100 supplement because I have terrible peripheral neuropathy and the B vitamins help me cut down on Neurontin. My goal, though, is to also get more B from foods.

I encourage you to do your own research and make your own decision. This is just my approach.

Jill

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

I used to rep for a company which offered powder vitamins and one thing I learned, need supplements which our bodies can work with and breakdown for digestion. So many pill forms of supplements don't break down and never enter our digestive systems, therefore, end up in sewage not used in our bodies.

Jill, you mentioned...."studies show that vitamins from food are more readily absorbed than vitamins from supplements". Given the proper kind and formate of supplements they can be helpful. Also many supplements when taken with another one can be beneficial or non-beneficial. Note....more reason to try and get most of our nutrients in our daily food intake.

Few points ---

Bio-availability----It isn't what you take - it is what your body can absorb that is important. In order to be effective, nutrients must be in a form that can be readily absorbed by the body. These delivery systems ensure quick, optimal absorption for improved efficacy.

Synergism----It is not understood by some the importance synergy plays in the nutrients we take. Many vitamins and minerals only perform at their best when combined with other nutrients. Many nutrients by themselves can be good, but when in combination with another nutrient it can be even more effective. A match and a gasoline soaked rag are tools by themselves - but in that combination - you can truly see a picture of synergism.

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

Thanks, Jan, for sharing this important information. This is also the reasoning behind combining turmeric with warmed olive oil and ground pepper for greatest effect.

RoseyR
Posts: 464
Joined: Feb 2011

Jill,

I agree that most calcium supplements don't bode well for our systems.

I try to get more of my calcium from greens and sardines these days--but although I was never a big milk drinker, I did sometimes eat yogurt in recent years (good quality low-sugar yogurt) and lord knows that CHEESE was always my favorite form of dairy: the hardest of all foods to give up entirely.

Indeed, do we need to give it up entirely IF we are sure we're ingesting cheese from grass-fed cows fed no hormones? I often lately have a kale salad with almonds, a few chuncks of apple, and a few chunks of organic cheddar cheese: divine.

Have you stayed away from dairy because your tumor is Estrogen-receptive? Or because dairy has been entirely proscribed by your doctor or your own research? (YOu likely know that grass-fed cows produce milk and cheese that's high in CLA --conjugated linolenic acid--which is, by all counts, a preventer of cancer!).

As for your Peripheral neuropathy (caused by chemo, I assume?), have you tried the following?

alpha lipoic acid (600 mgs a day)
Vitamin E succinate (400 to 600 mgs a day)
Bentathione (derivative of thiamine that not sure I'm spelling correctly here) or "Nerve Support Foumula" available online
Vitamin D (adequate blood levels)
Vitamin B 6

If not, have collected lots of web sites on how to address and better yet, prevent during course of chemotherapy. (Glutamine taken first four days of chemo can markedly reduce incidence of Peripheral Neuropathy).

Best,
Rosey

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

Most of the decisions I make are based either on my own research or on information I've read on this board and then tested with my own research. Dairy is something that has come up again and again as having an inflammatory impact on the body--which affects not only cancer prognosis but also a multitude of other ills. I do buy milk from grass-fed cows, but my cheese is Cabot 50 percent light cheddar; I've started having a little bit a day, or of some fat-free organic yogurt.

As for the peripheral neuropathy (yes, from chemo), I tried EVERYTHING while I was in treatment. I would take alpha-lipoic acid, spoonfuls of L-Glutamine, B6, on and on. Nothing really helped, so now I am taking 600 mg. daily of Gabapentin. My plan is to stop this soon and see if I can still walk and drive. If I can, then I will be ok. Right now, my feet are numb because of a hike I took this afternoon. Most of the time, though, the numbness and tingling sort of fades into the background...my new normal.

Thank you for all of your help. I really appreciate it.

Regards,

Jill

RoseyR
Posts: 464
Joined: Feb 2011

Jill,

Scrolled back to find a longer post I'd made months ago to someone struggling with PN.

Will paste it in here in hopes it might help a bit.

Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathy: How to Minimize and Treat
Dear David,

Long fearing peripheral neuropathy as a side effect of my current regime (taxol/carboplatin), I did quite a bit of online research and found some useful information.

Apparently, as even experts from the Mayo Clinic admit, PN is easier to prevent than to treat--although treatment via natural supplements is promising, with far fewer side effects than those often generated by pharmaceuticals such as Neurontin.

To prevent, or minimize, I was advised by a well-credentialed complementary doctor to do the following:

Take a teaspoon of glutamine (an amino acid) in a glass of water three times day. Start the day before chemo and continue during the first three days of chemo.

Be sure my level of vitamin D is at between 30 and 45 (I get my blood checked once a month) and if lower than 30, take 2 to 4 drops of Liqui-D (available online), a highly absorbable form of D3, a day. If taking more than 2 drops a day, best done under doctor's care and only for two to three months until levels come up to where they should be.

Likewise be sure my level of B-12 is at least 500 before starting chemo. Normal range is 200-900, but 500 or more is what you want before chemo because B-12 is one of the catalysts for bone marrow production: healthy red and white cells, and too little B-12 compounds your chances of developing PN. (I try not to wince when I hear the chemo nurse explaining again and again to patients in the waiting room, "we have to postpone your treatment because your platelets are low." Yet how many oncologists CHECK your levels of B-12 before you start treatment?

Take 3 teaspoons of high-quality fish oil a day; the brand recommended was "Finest Pure Fish Oil" by Pharmax. No bad flavor at all; I don't even need to put it in juice.

Of course most oncologists (often with good reason, often with poor reason) tell us not to take ANY supplements during chemo beyond a multivitamin. (the one recommended for me, by the way, is Formula 950, which has no iron or copper, both elements that, according to some recent research, may stimulate tumor growth. (The kind of iron we absorb from vegetable sources isn't harmful, by the way; it's the form we get from red meats and food supplements that can apparently stimulate cancer cells--at least according to some recent research. That's why I was advised to take Formula 950: two, three times a day before starting chemo but while on chemo only two a day, total--lest I ingest too many antioxidants that conceivably could interfere with the efficacy of chemo.

Despite these caveats, several impressive books by Dr. Russell Blaylock (Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients), James Qulllen (Beating Cancer with Nutrition) and Michael Murray (once resident nutritionist for Cancer Treatment Centers of America) all recommend 400 mgs per day of Vitamin E succinate (the dry form o Vitamin E) to minimize peripheral neuropathy; they recommend starting it a week to two before chemo and contiuing throughout the course of chemo, citing clinical studies that show that it mitigates several side effects of chemo and actually enhances the effectiveness of most chemo.

Having taken the preceding as directed, i have not so far--knock on wood--had any symptoms of PN although admittedly am just finishing my third round of it.

ONCE YOU HAVE PN:

There are clinical studies suggesting that alpha-lipoic acid (about 600 mgs a day; start with 300 and build up) can slowly reverse symptoms of PN.

A product called "Nerve Support Formula" touting the importance of a derivative of vitamin B-1, coupled with another B vitamin, has helped thousands to slowly reverse troublin symptoms of PN.

Yet other studies show that daily capsules of Evening Primrose Oil (or borage oil) further help to repair nerve damage.

A final suggestion: One of the best web sites I've found on supplements useful for PN is Life Extension. Granted, they sell supplements, and usually I'm skeptical of advice that comes from any commercial (.com) site. However, their board of advisors (check them out) are very impressive; leading doctors and researchers have created a clinically-based web site with recent research on various nutrients. You needn't even buy their products to access their web site and get their free reports.

Best in our shared ongoing challenge to cope with traditional cancer therapies.

RoseyR

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Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
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Joined: Dec 2009

Rosey,

I finished treatment three years ago, so it's too late for me to prevent PN. However, I do have an unopened bottle of alpha-lipoic acid that I will start to take in the hope that I can further reduce my gabapentin.

As for the fish oil, I want to share something that recently happened to my good friend. She was bruising easily (not a cancer patient, in otherwise very good health) and thought she might have a vascular problem. She scheduled a day of tests at her local hospital and had tremendous anxiety in the days before this testing. At the intake, the doctor asked her if she took any supplements. She rattled off her list, and he stopped her when she mentioned fish oil. It turns out that fish oil is a blood thinner, and THAT was what was causing her bruising. So, I'm beginning to learn that I need to be just as careful taking supplements as I do taking pharmaceuticals.

Again, thanks for sharing such excellent information with me.

Jill

kkstef's picture
kkstef
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

Jill, I know what you mean by other folks rolling their eyes or glazing over when we talk about nutrition, etc. That's why I love this discussion group.

I am also happy to hear that you do throw caution to the wind occasionally....that is good for the soul!

What all do you put in your kale salad? I need to liven mine up a bit!

Good eating!

Karen

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

Karen--

I make a very modified Caesar salad dressing--lots of lemon juice, olive oil, just a touch of dried mustard, and a pinch of anchovy paste (omit the Parmesan cheese, which is highly inflammatory)--pour it over finely chopped raw kale, throw in some toasted almonds or hazelnuts, and gobble it up.

Yes, I confess to being a foodie who craves pizza and dumplings on occasion. Remember, healthy diets can be a "most of the time" endeavor.

Jill

Bluebird Bush
Posts: 28
Joined: May 2011

I have been a milk drinker all my life, changed over to skim after I found out I am developing atherosclerosis, then went back to whole milk after the doctor told me that my cancer is treatable but probably not curable. Also, her assistant looked at a list of supplement pills that I used to take and said it is o'k to start back taking them (things like vitamins, magnesium, calcium, flax seed oil and condroitin and glucosamine. I don't think I can stop drinking milk, it's like I am addicted to it. Why should we not drink milk? I can stop the pills easily enough - they are kind of a pain to get them all taken each day anyway. What should I do? Should I ask my doctor? Should I do research - and where? Thanks to anyone with suggestions. Geni

daisy366's picture
daisy366
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Annie, your comments about your doctor is a wonderful testiment to the mind-body connection!!!!! Check out O. Carl Simonton's writings.

That we may all be such THRIVERS!! Thank you so much.

Mary Ann

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

I would suggest doing some research by Googling "dairy and cancer risk" or even "dairy and endometrial/uterine cancer risk." Here's a link to one article:

http://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/ebm/record/21717454/abstract/Milk_dairy_intake_and_risk_of_endometrial_cancer:_A_twenty_six_year_follow_up_

Many of us here follow the anti-cancer diet, as put forward by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber in his book of the same name. As Fayard noted, dairy is thought to feed cancer cells.

Again, though, I encourage you to do your own research and make your own decisions. My opinion, though, is that most doctors follow an "eat whatever you want" approach to their patients' treatment.

Jill

HellieC
Posts: 436
Joined: Nov 2010

My cancer is ER+ and PR+ but I still have a little milk and diary in my diet - but it is all organic. My understanding was that "ordinary" milk, cheese, yoghurt etc is made from milk from cows that may have been fed hormones or antibiotics or other pharmaceuticals, which can be passed to humans, but organic dairy, from grass fed cows etc does not contain these things. I can't find any research which confirms this.
Am I missing the point - are there other issues with dairy products (even organic dairy products) which are contra-indicated for cancer survivors?
Thanks for any advice, ladies
Helen

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

I wish there was a way to highlight in bold some of the most important information in this article, which appeared in the December 7, 2006 Harvard Gazette. In summary, though, the article points out the following:

--Natural estrogens--those in food--are 100,000 times more potent than environmental estrogens--those in, for example, pesticides.

--The researcher hypothesizes that dairy heightens the risk of hormone-dependent cancers. Butter, meat, eggs, milk, and cheese are implicated in higher rates of hormone-dependent cancers in general, she said. Breast cancer has been linked particularly to consumption of milk and cheese.

--The researcher is investigating 22 years of data from Harvard's Nurses Health Study, looking for a potential link between dairy and endometrial cancer.

--When comparing levels of hormones and growth factors in whole, whole organic, skim milk, and UHT - ultra-high temperature - milk, hormone levels were very low in skim milk. I am assuming that this study does not show any advantages of organic skim milk over "regular" (i.e., not organic) skim milk.

What I conclude from this study is that the benefits of consuming dairy products made from SKIM milk--sources of Vitamins D and calcium--might outweigh the dangers. In any case, the article follows:

Hormones in milk can be dangerous

By Corydon Ireland
Harvard News Office

Ganmaa Davaasambuu is a physician (Mongolia), a Ph.D. in environmental health (Japan), a fellow (Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study), and a working scientist (Harvard School of Public Health).

On Monday (Dec. 4), she drew on all those roles during a lunchtime talk to most of her fellow fellows.

Ganmaa's topic was lunch-appropriate: the suspected role of cow's milk, cheese, and other dairy products in hormone-dependent cancers. (Those include cancers of the testes, prostate, and breast.)

Schedule of public talks
by Radcliffe Fellows
The link between cancer and dietary hormones - estrogen in particular - has been a source of great concern among scientists, said Ganmaa, but it has not been widely studied or discussed.

The potential for risk is large. Natural estrogens are up to 100,000 times more potent than their environmental counterparts, such as the estrogen-like compounds in pesticides.

"Among the routes of human exposure to estrogens, we are mostly concerned about cow's milk, which contains considerable amounts of female sex hormones," Ganmaa told her audience. Dairy, she added, accounts for 60 percent to 80 percent of estrogens consumed.

Part of the problem seems to be milk from modern dairy farms, where cows are milked about 300 days a year. For much of that time, the cows are pregnant. The later in pregnancy a cow is, the more hormones appear in her milk.

Milk from a cow in the late stage of pregnancy contains up to 33 times as much of a signature estrogen compound (estrone sulfate) than milk from a non-pregnant cow.

In a study of modern milk in Japan, Ganmaa found that it contained 10 times more progesterone, another hormone, than raw milk from Mongolia.

In traditional herding societies like Mongolia, cows are milked for human consumption only five months a year, said Ganmaa, and, if pregnant, only in the early stages. Consequently, levels of hormones in the milk are much lower.

"The milk we drink today is quite unlike the milk our ancestors were drinking" without apparent harm for 2,000 years, she said. "The milk we drink today may not be nature's perfect food."

Earlier studies bear out Ganmaa's hypothesis that eating dairy heightens the risk of some cancers.

One study compared diet and cancer rates in 42 counties. It showed that milk and cheese consumption are strongly correlated to the incidence of testicular cancer among men ages 20 to 39. Rates were highest in places like Switzerland and Denmark, where cheese is a national food, and lowest in Algeria and other countries where dairy is not so widely consumed.

Cancer rates linked to dairy can change quickly, said Ganmaa. In the past 50 years in Japan, she said, rising rates of dairy consumption are linked with rising death rates from prostate cancer - from near zero per 100,000 five decades ago to 7 per 100,000 today.

Butter, meat, eggs, milk, and cheese are implicated in higher rates of hormone-dependent cancers in general, she said. Breast cancer has been linked particularly to consumption of milk and cheese.

In another study, rats fed milk show a higher incidence of cancer and develop a higher number of tumors than those who drank water, said Ganmaa.

All this begs the question of the health effects of milk on children. About 75 percent of American children under 12 consume dairy every day, but its health effects on prepubescent bodies is not known - "a good rationale for further study," said Ganmaa, who studies bioactive substances in food and reproductive health disorders.

She and her Harvard colleagues have already conducted two pilot studies.

One compared levels of hormones and growth factors in American milk (whole, whole organic, skim milk, and UHT - ultra-high temperature - milk) to milk from Mongolia. Levels were very low in both American skim and in Mongolian milk.

Another pilot study looked at third-graders in Mongolia. After a month, the hormone levels jumped among the children fed commercial U.S. milk.

Long-term studies are needed to see if any of this is important for children's health. "We don't know what the larger implications are," said Ganmaa. (The National Institutes of Health is now reviewing Ganmaa and her team's application to fund a two-year study.)

Meanwhile, Ganmaa is investigating 22 years of data from Harvard's Nurses Health Study, looking for a potential link between dairy and endometrial cancer.

But she is cautious about the implications of her studies of cancer rates and dairy consumption.

For one, said Ganmaa, "milk is a food of great complexity" and contains high levels of beneficial nutrients, including calcium and vitamin D. (Mongolian children, who drink a third less dairy than their American counterparts, have low levels of vitamin D.)

"The hormonal effects of milk are very new," said Ganmaa during questions from her Radcliffe audience. Until more research is done, she said, "I'd like to keep our heads low."

But steps can be taken now to reduce the amount of hormones in milk, said Ganmaa. Because hormones reside in milk fat, drinking skim milk is one option. Getting calcium from green leafy vegetables is another.

Modes of milk production can also change, said Ganmaa. She suggested milking only nonpregnant cows (the Mongolian model), or not milking cows when they are in the later stages of pregnancy, when hormone levels are particularly high.

"The dairy industry in the United States is not going to change in any radical way," said artist Shimon Attie, the Mildred Londa Weisman Fellow at Radcliffe - and a former dairyman.

But in the meantime, he had a suggestion for the coffee setting at future Radcliffe Fellows luncheons: a pot of nondairy creamer.

Radcliffe sponsors 50 fellows a year - scientists, artists, writers, and scholars of every stripe. Three times a month, one of them gives a private luncheon talk for other fellows.

Fayard's picture
Fayard
Posts: 343
Joined: May 2011

Before I joined this group, I read somewhere that meat, milk and sugar were cancer feeders. I think it was in a paper from John Hopkins, but I cannot find it.
I am looking again!

Thank you for the article.

RoseyR
Posts: 464
Joined: Feb 2011

Jill,

This is such useful information even if it merely corroborates findings I vaguely knew of but (given my love of cheese) preferred to forget.

Thanks so much for sending.

A P.S. on PN. Dr. Russell Blaylock highly recommends Vitamin E succinate for PN. (Do you know his book Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients? Wonder what you'd think of it; I find his nutritional analyses incredibly discerning, full of careful caveats, drawn on 20 years as a neurologist. On the milk issue, by the way, he's stringent, insisting, to my dismay, that "pasteurized goat milk" is the only entirely safe milk for cancer patients. He does allow rice or almond milk IF not too sweet and I find with relief that Whole Foods offers on its shelves a rice milk with ZERO grams of sugar.

Best,
Rosey

HellieC
Posts: 436
Joined: Nov 2010

Thank you so much for all that useful research information. It does seem to indicate that milk, dairy etc may be contraindicated, doesn't it?
I do eat dairy, but not in large quantities (a little milk if I have black tea and occasionally with organic muesli for breakfast, and perhaps one egg and one matchbox sized portion of cheese per week, yoghurt - hardly ever). Although I can't imagine removing them from my diet completely, it's definitely something that I will be watching from now on and minimising where possible.
There are so many things we need to watch/avoid - it's a minefield out there, isn't it!
Thank you again
Helen

california_artist
Posts: 850
Joined: Jan 2009

Unfortunately, that includes cancer. I too eat cheese and have Greek yogurt, the occasional cottage cheese, all those things, but I know I am playing with fire. So, ah?? doesn't speak too well of my impulse control upon occasion.

We are a nation that has been taught to drink milk. Where milk drinking is low or non existent after childhood/infancy, cancer rates are also low. Osteoporosis is highest in America, the land of the dairy farm. I am working on getting milk products out of my diet, some weeks are better than others. I have week when I shop where all dairy is off limits. My granddaughter is with me on this. I sure love living with her. Anyway, the following is information I read for the first time yesterday from a book called The cancer Survivor's Guide and is written by Doctor Neal Barnard.

He and his nutritionist coauthor say this about milk and I am paraphrasing...
When we drink cow's milk, it causes biological changes in the body. It raises insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-I) in the bloodstream which is a powerful stimulus for cancer cell growth. Some other chemical changes relate not only to greater likelihood you will get cancer but how rapidly it will grow and spread once it has occurred. Harvard studies have linked milk drinking to prostate cancer. Which I know none of us will get.

His recommendation is soy, rice almond, even oat milk as alternatives. Nummm?????

Got the book from the library along with 70 other books. They are starting to get bigger boxes for me. I recommend reading it. The recipes are less than stellar, devote a page each to boiling rice and something else that all you have to do is read the directions on the package. But the cancer information is extensive and very interesting with university studies as back up for the text.

All things in moderation and with wisdom. One needs to enjoy life whilst dodging those dang bullets.

Glad we can help one another and keep each other company. reminds me of those conversations in the village.

My love to you all, and may we live long and prosper, although there are days when I would like to prosper first, and then live long. Seems more enjoyable in the long run. claudia

california_artist
Posts: 850
Joined: Jan 2009

I went and found the study that I think Barnard's info came fromoriginally.

This is an excerpt with the url.

Levels of IGF-1 drop when people eat less. Animal studies show that decreases in food intake lessen tumor growth and increase life span, Ma and Giovannucci agree. "However, it's too early to make specific recommendations about restricting calories on the basis of our results," Ma cautions.
It's also too early to determine if a test based on blood levels of IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 will predict who will get colorectal, prostate, or breast cancer. The findings of the Harvard researchers must be confirmed by additional large studies.
Meanwhile, drug companies and other research teams are exploring the feasibility of designing new cancer drugs based on the activity of IGF-1 and IGFBP-3.
Giovannucci, Ma, and their colleagues are now investigating the role of diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and other possible determinants of high IGF-1 and low IGFBP-3 levels. "It might be possible to adjust these levels and lower cancer risks with lifestyle changes that are not too drastic," Ma speculates.
"We're also looking at genes that might control levels of the growth factor and its binding protein," notes Giovannucci. "People found to possess a genetic predisposition to IGF-1- related cancers could be closely monitored and, perhaps, pretreated with lifestyle changes and new drugs."
http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/1999/04.22/igf1.story.html

We are all getting so much more knowledgeable.

Jill, that was very interesting and also from Harvard. About the Vit D, I would be more interested in the bone density as oposed to the Vit D. Isn't Mongolia one of the countries where people need to be covered most of the time due to weather.

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

I can't believe how well all of us seem to be doing in terms of conducting our own research and advocating for ourselves.

Thank you for your help in adding to my knowledge and making decisions about how best to take care of my health. Sometimes I wonder why I get so obsessed with something like dairy vs. supplements, but then I realize that I AM TRYING TO SAVE MY LIFE!

I wonder about the variables that may have contributed to the Mongolians versus Americans study results. Yes, everything I have read about Mongolia states that the sun is more than twice as intense as it is anywhere in the US.

Soon, I will be having my first bone density test. My Vitamin D level was 37 and my calcium was normal, but that is no guarantee that I am not suffering from brittle bones. If my bones are fine, I am not going to worry so much about how much D or calcium I consume in the course of a day.

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culka
Posts: 158
Joined: Oct 2009

and cow milk is for cattle. I'm not expecting new set of milk teeths, so I'm using only home made kefir for the Budwig mix.
By pure accident I found this article
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/744565
I don't get it why you need 1500mg of Ca

RoseyR
Posts: 464
Joined: Feb 2011

Claudia,

Yes, cancer apparently has some metabolic link to diabetes, occuring more often in familiies predisposed to blood-sugar problems. So it makes sense that levels of IGF=1 and 3 in the blood could be significant.

Given your voracious tracking of nutritional info, am wondering if you're familiar with Dr. Russell Blaylock's work and if so, what you think of it. (Natural Strategies for Cancer Patients). Of the six to seven books I've read so far, his seems the most incisive on nutritional dimensions of the disease: really thought-provoking.

Blaylock, by the way, after decades in neurology, exasperatedly asks in his book where the studies are that show how patients do who REFUSE traditional treatment to pursue nutritional protocols and healthy lifestyle; clearly, he thinks that results in some cases would be nearly as good, or better, as for those who choose only traditional treatment although his book largely addresses those who are trying to cope with, or bolster, traditional treatment with good dietary practices and supplements.

Didn't an earlier post of yours ask if we'd be willing to "journal" or keep records of our dietary/supplementary practices?
Have many showed interest in it? I for one would be willing.

Since you seem to be doing so well, Claudia, had also wanted to ask if you'd ever shared on the board when you were diagnosed, at what stage, and whether you've had ANY conventional treatment. (If you're not in the mood to so disclose this now, that's fine; I understand; but you are an inspiration to many of us.

xo,
Rosey

california_artist
Posts: 850
Joined: Jan 2009

Hey, you can read the things I posted when I joined if you click on my name. I have never had any chemo or radiation or taken any drugs for cancer.

Unfortuneately, because they thought I had adeno- the regular endometrial cancer, there's that block again, no lymph nodes were removed, even though a later PET revealed that I had two iliad??? next in line to the uterus, that were nearly 1cm at surgery and grew for the next six months, which explains why they continually called me wanting me to begin Chemo immediately.

Since they could show no evidence that chemo actually would work for UPSC it not being ER/PR +, (Taxol works fairly well on ER/PR + but not so well on the negative cells, I couldn't see the point in taking something that most likely wouldn't work and could drastically mess up my body. My heart is enlarged, my liver is fatty, my spleen is big and there is some problem with my platelet size. didn't want to take a chance on chemo messing me up any more.

I didn't feel that getting chemo made the most sense for me and looked frantically for plan B. I have found not only plan B, but plans c-z at this point.

It was when I realized that there were lymph nodes that were actually growing that I really began to burn the midnight oil in search of what to do that would help. So far, so good.

I will admit that I am not doing absolutely all that I had early on, as I have become mildly complacent. This may not bode well for me and I do hope that I can get the fire lit again soon. I just ate my ginger, so that makes me feel better.

Along with the deep breathing I have also begun to pay attention to my lymph system and have started daily massage, which has taken my breasts from very dense to just soft and squishy as can be. This is a good thing, cause they were something I had worried about. I had been a nighttime bra wearer and found out that that was a very bad idea, but it seems to have resolved after only a few weeks. Who knew.

Hope this isn't more than you ever wanted to know about me, but i figure it could help someone so what the heck, eh???

I addressed the journal on another site, but would love if you would keep one and no, not any interest really. People are probably busy with their lives.

I did read some of Blaylock but have little recall of it specifically. Will get it out of library again and reread. Take better notes this time. Often I simply take the pertinent info and put it in the memory banks but then forget where I originally got it from. So I am left with the what, but not the why at times.

Here's to us all and long loving lives,

Claudia

Rosey is very endearing name.

california_artist
Posts: 850
Joined: Jan 2009

you are, as usual my hero. That is what the Japanese say, that milk is for babies. They laugh at us for drinking it and call us babies, sometimes, probably in their homes where we can't hear.

california_artist
Posts: 850
Joined: Jan 2009

you are, as usual my hero. That is what the Japanese say, that milk is for babies. They laugh at us for drinking it and call us babies, sometimes, probably in their homes where we can't hear.

Great site. Had a bit of trouble signing in though. My username was already in use.

california_artist
Posts: 850
Joined: Jan 2009

just a dupe post couldn't delete it. Sorry

Rewriter's picture
Rewriter
Posts: 494
Joined: Dec 2009

The link for this article was posted by Jana; THANK YOU, Jana. Sometimes, I am too lazy to copy links into my browser, so I am posting the whole article here. The gist of it is that our need for calcium is lower than what has been indicated (750 mg. instead of 1500 mg. post 50). Studies show that amounts beyond 750 mg. generally do diddly squat and, in fact, can be very harmful to our hearts and kidneys. THIS doctor suggests a combination of supplements and dairy. Oh, I am SO confused.

Hello, this is Dr. JoAnn Manson, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital. I would like to talk with you today about calcium intake and the increasing evidence that more is not better when it comes to optimal health.

Calcium has been in the news a lot lately. You probably have heard about the studies linking calcium supplements to an increased risk for cardiovascular events, vascular calcification, and kidney stones in the Women's Health Initiative Calcium/Vitamin D Supplementation Study.[1] Now a large prospective study from Sweden published in the British Medical Journal [2] indicates that even when it comes to bone health, more is not better for calcium intake.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM)[3] released dietary guidelines for calcium earlier this year, and the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium from a combination of diet plus supplements was set at 1000 mg a day for adult women until age 50 years and 1200 mg a day for women older than 50 years of age. The IOM also set a tolerable upper intake level of about 2000 mg a day for women in these age groups because of some concern about kidney stones and other health risks when calcium intake is very high.

The study that was just published in the British Medical Journal looked at the relationship between calcium intake and risk for fractures and overall bone health. This was a very large study: more than 61,000 women, followed for 19 years overall, had a total of more than 14,000 incident fractures and more than 3800 incident hip fractures. Specifically, the fractures were identified through a registry, so concern about reporting bias or recall bias was minimal. This study suggests that it's only the women who had the lowest intake of calcium, below about 750 mg a day, who had an increased risk for fracture, and then with increasing intake of calcium, evidence of further benefit for bone health and fracture reduction was very limited. A threshold factor or plateauing of benefit was suggested.

The women who had the highest intake of calcium (above 1100 mg a day) actually had a hint of increased risk for hip fracture. The bottom line of this study was that more moderate levels of calcium intake were best for bone health and that more was not better. We should be recommending more moderate intakes of calcium for our patients and not above the RDA of 1000-1200 mg a day total. Assuming that many women will get about 700 mg a day from dietary sources alone, many women may require no more than an additional 500-600 mg a day from calcium supplements. In contrast, many women are taking a very high dose of calcium, often 1200-1500 mg a day just from the supplements alone, and this could lead to very high total intake.

On the basis of the recent study in the British Medical Journal, as well as the overall totality of evidence, it seems that even for bone health, calcium in moderation is probably best. We may want to recommend that women try to get as much of their calcium as possible from dietary sources. Some of the best dietary sources are low-fat dairy products and leafy greens, fortified foods such as fortified fruit juices and cereals, and types of fish that have bones in them, such as sardines and canned salmon. It's probably best, wherever possible, to read the food labels that will help you understand the amount of calcium that's in the different food products and to recommend reading labels to our patients.

So bottom line, the recommendation is for calcium intake in moderation, being sure to add dietary calcium to the calcium from supplements, to ensure that the total calcium intake isn't too high. Evidence is increasing that more is not better when it comes to calcium intake.

culka's picture
culka
Posts: 158
Joined: Oct 2009

I opened that by accident, because my doctor want me to go for mammogram and I don't want to, naturally.
And even Dr. Oz talked last week about calcium (it was re-run, I guess). After 50 (I'm not, but after menopause for sure) only 1200mg Ca from all sources.

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