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Question: Which supplements help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer?
Answer: There is good evidence that getting adequate folate and fiber from foods and supplements can reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer. (Listen to ConsumerLab.com's Fiber Supplements Webinar for more on fiber and colon health).
In people with low blood levels of selenium, selenium supplements have been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer, and in people who smoke, taking curcumin can reduce early changes in the colon that can lead to cancer.
Maintaining higher levels of vitamin D in the body -- which can be achieved through exposure to sunlight or obtained from foods and supplements -- is associated with a reduced risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Although preliminary research had suggested that calcium supplements might reduce the risk of colon polyps or colon cancer, large clinical trials failed to show a benefit with high doses.
Observational studies have also found an association between higher olive oil intake and a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.
Green tea extract has been shown to reduce the recurrence of polyps, which can sometimes turn into colon cancer.
Although a high dietary intake of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) from high-fat dairy foods has been associated with a reduction of colorectal cancer by up to 39% in women, it is not known if taking CLA supplements has this potential benefit.
For more information about each of these supplements, use the links above. Also see the Cancer Prevention article in our Natural Products Encyclopedia.