(HealthDay News) — Men with higher intake of dairy foods, but not nondairy calcium, may have a higher risk for prostate cancer versus men with lower intakes, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Michael J. Orlich, MD, PhD, from Loma Linda University in California, and colleagues evaluated the association between dairy (dietary calcium) and prostate cancer. The analysis included data from 28,737 Seventh-day Adventist men (6389 were Black) followed for an average of 7.8 years; of these men, 275 provided repeated 24-hour dietary recalls.

The researchers found that men at the 90th percentile of dairy intake (430 g/day) versus those at the 10th percentile (20.2 g/day) had higher prostate cancer risk. Results were similar for advanced prostate cancers and for nonadvanced cases. Results trended in a similar direction for Black participants. The association was stronger when comparing 90th percentile intake to zero intake. The effect did not remain for higher (905 mg/day) versus lower (349 mg/day) intakes of nondairy calcium.

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“In summary, these data from a population with a wide range of dairy and calcium exposure do not clearly support a connection between calcium intake and prostate cancer,” the authors write. “However, they do suggest that risk of prostate cancer is causally associated either with higher intake of dairy products, or some unknown causal factor that is strongly associated with dairy intake.”

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