Scientists from Loma Linda University found that intake of dairy foods is linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer.
Dairy products or milk products are food products made from milk. The most common dairy animals are a cow, water buffalo, nanny goat, and ewe.
Dairy products include common grocery store items in the Western world such as yogurt, cheese, and butter.
The Dairy Group provides many nutrients including calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D (in products fortified with vitamin D), riboflavin, vitamin B12, protein, potassium, zinc, choline, magnesium, and selenium.
Prostate cancer is prevalent cancer in American men. Previous findings suggest causal links between dairy, or dietary calcium, and higher prostate cancer risk, but the evidence is limited.
In the current study, researchers aimed to evaluate these associations in a large group of men, including many with no (or very low) dairy intake and much calcium from nondairy foods.
They used data from 28,737 men in the United States and Canada. During an 8-year follow-up, 1254 (190 advanced) prostate cancer cases were found.
The team found that men who consumed most dairy foods had a higher prostate cancer risk than men who consumed least dairy foods.
Similar findings were demonstrated for advanced prostate cancers and nonadvanced cases.
The team found there was no evidence that a higher intake of nondairy calcium was linked to a higher prostate cancer risk.
These findings suggest that men with a higher intake of dairy foods, but not nondairy calcium, had a higher risk of prostate cancer compared with men having lower intakes.
The results also showed the greatest increases in risk at relatively low doses.
One possible reason why dairy foods are linked to prostate cancer is that dairy foods, or some closely associated unknown risk factors, are causally related to the risk of prostate cancer.
The team said the possible reasons for these associations between prostate cancer and dairy milk might be the sex hormone content of dairy milk.
Up to 75% of lactating dairy cows are pregnant, and prostate cancer is hormone-responsive cancer.
The research is published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was conducted by Gary E Fraser et al.
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