The Benefits of Calcium-D-Glucarate

Can it help defend against cancer?

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Calcium-D-glucarate is a substance made by combining calcium and glucaric acid, a chemical compound found naturally in the body and in foods like oranges, grapefruit, apples, and broccoli.

Reasons to Use It

Calcium D-glucarate is sometimes touted as a natural solution for the prevention of certain types of cancer. Because calcium D-glucarate is thought to decrease the body's levels of the hormone estrogen, proponents claim that taking calcium D-glucarate can strengthen your defense against hormone-dependent cancers (such as cancer of the breast and prostate).

In addition, calcium-D-glucarate is said to aid in detoxification.

Can Calcium D-Glucarate Prevent Cancer?

So far, most of the findings on the health effects of calcium-D-glucarate come from laboratory research and animal-based studies. 

In a 2002 report published in Alternative Medicine Review, for instance, investigators analyzed the available research on calcium-D-glucarate and found that it may inhibit beta-glucuronidase (an enzyme associated with increased risk for various hormone-dependent cancers when it occurs at elevated levels).

In addition, a 2007 study published in Oncology Letters determined that calcium D-glucarate may help fight lung cancer. In tests on mice, researchers found that calcium D-glucarate helped inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors in the lungs by curbing inflammation and inducing apoptosis (a type of programmed cell death essential for stopping the proliferation of cancer cells).

There's also some evidence that calcium D-glucarate may protect against skin cancer. For example, a 2007 study published in the Journal of Environmental Pathology, Toxicology, and Oncology found that treating mice with calcium D-glucarate helped suppress the development of skin cancer by inducing apoptosis.

Although calcium-D-glucarate shows promise as an anti-cancer agent, there is currently a lack of clinical trials testing the use of it in the treatment of any health condition.

Food Sources

You can increase your intake of glucaric acid by including certain foods in your diet. For instance, glucaric acid is available in the following foods:

  • Apples
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Grapefruit
  • Kale
  • Oranges
  • Squash

According to a 2003 report published in Integrative Cancer Therapies, consuming fruits and vegetables naturally rich in glucaric acid "offers a promising cancer prevention approach." The report's authors note that glucaric acid may help protect against cancer by inhibiting beta-glucuronidase.

What to Know Before Trying It

  • Where To Find It: Widely available for purchase online, calcium-D-glucarate is sold in supplement form in many natural-foods stores, drugstores, and stores specializing in dietary supplements.
  • Possible Side Effects: Although little is known about the safety of long-term use of calcium-D-glucarate, there's some concern that taking calcium-D-glucarate in combination with certain medications (that are subject to glucuronidation) may reduce the medications' effectiveness. Some of these medications include atorvastatin (Lipitor®), lorazepam (Ativan®), and acetaminophen (Tylenol®). It may also temporarily reduce the levels of other steroid hormones in the body, such as testosterone.

The Takeaway

Although reading about the studies may lead you to believe that it might be helpful to take calcium-D-glucarate supplements to mitigate your cancer risk, the research is limited and studies have used very high doses of calcium-D-glucarate.

Given the lack of clinical studies and information about the safety of doses that high, it may not be prudent to take it for prevention, and it's also too soon to recommend it as a treatment for any condition. If you're considering using it, make sure to discuss it with your healthcare provider first.

To reduce your cancer risk, talk with your healthcare provider about following a balanced diet high in antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruit, exercising regularly, and keeping your weight in check. There's also some evidence that people who drink green tea and maintain optimal levels of vitamin D may have a lower risk of some types of cancer.

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Article Sources

  • "Calcium-D-glucarate." Altern Med Rev. 2002 Aug;7(4):336-9.
  • Hanausek M, Walaszek Z, Slaga TJ. "Detoxifying cancer causing agents to prevent cancer." Integr Cancer Ther. 2003 Jun;2(2):139-44.
  • Singh J, Gupta KP. "Induction of apoptosis by calcium D-glucarate in 7,12-dimethyl benz [a] anthracene-exposed mouse skin." J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2007;26(1):63-73.
  • Walaszek Z, Szemraj J, Narog M, et al. "Metabolism, uptake, and excretion of a D-glucaric acid salt and its potential use in cancer prevention." Cancer Detect Prev. 1997;21(2):178-90.
  • Zoltaszek R, Kowalczyk P, Kowalczyk MC, et al. "Dietary D-glucarate effects on the biomarkers of inflammation during early post-initiation stages of benzo[a]pyrene-induced lung tumorigenesis in A/J mice." Oncol Lett. 2011 Jan;2(1):145-154.