Is Your Calcium Supplement Helping or Hurting You?

A new study shows that a deficiency in your calcium to magnesium ratio—two key minerals essential for bone health—could result in the risk of cancerous growths in your colon.

The Calcium Polyp Prevention Study examined 930 men during a four-year period to determine whether calcium supplementation affects the rate of colorectal adenomas—or polyps in your colon that have the potential to become cancerous.

The findings show that calcium supplementation, balanced with magnesium for optimum absorption, reduced the risk by 32 percent. The researchers indicated this shows that maybe calcium alone isn’t enough to help prevent abnormal cell growth.

“These results mean that designing a personalized diet/supplementation regimen that takes the ratio of both nutrients into account may be better than supplementing with only one or the other,” said Qi Dai, M.D., of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

The results were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s 7th Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research in Washington, D.C.

Others risks associated with a deficiency in calcium and magnesium include:

  • Brittle bones
  • More frequent bone fractures
  • Muscle pains and cramps
  • Weakened immune system

But not all supplements are effective at helping you build bones of steel.