Importance of milk and other dairy products are long known to everyone. They are one of the richest sources of Calcium and contain Vitamin D which together plays an imperative role in strengthening human bones and teeth, thus, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures. Milk also contains many other essential nutrients. However, a recent study challenges the health benefits of milk intake and on the contrary, links high milk consumption with higher risk of fractures and early mortality.
The U.S. Department of agriculture has recommended a day at least 3 glasses of milk per day for adults, but the team of researchers from Sweden carrying the study emphasized that this may not have a positive result for certain individuals. They explain that the milk contains high levels of lactose and galactose, which is found to enhance body’s oxidative stress and chronic inflammation in various animal studies. This in turn is associated with higher risk of bone fractures and deaths.
Higher milk intakes do not cut the risk of fractures
For two decades, the research team pooled data from a questionnaire about 96 food items, including milk, cheese and yogurt, filled up by 61,000 females and 45,000 males. Other information such as lifestyle, height and weight along with education level and marital status were also considered. To keep the tracks of mortality and fractures, a national register was maintained.
During 20 years of span, 15,541 females died, 17,252 suffered a fracture out of which 4,259 were hip fracture. This data suggested that higher milk intake did not cut the risk of fractures for females. Moreover, females whose daily milk intake was more than three glasses of milk per day had an increase risk of early death than females consuming less than a glass of milk per day.
The study tracked men for 11 years, during which 10,112 men died, while 1,166 suffered hip fracture out of 5,066 fractures suffered by males in total. Even males with high milk intake had higher chances of death, but this was less evident than for females.
Oxidative stress and inflammation
The study also showed a positive relation between milk consumption and biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation. However, consumption of more fermented milk products as yogurt and cheese that have low lactose content were found to be linked with well being by lowering the chances of fracture and mortality, significantly in women.
Researchers suggest that high milk intake in females and males may be not helpful in keeping fractures at bay, rather it may increase the chances of mortality. This risk may be associated with the levels of lactose and galactose in the milk, though causality needs further investigation as the study does not have enough evidence to support a cause-effect relationship.
Nevertheless, based on just one study, the nutritionists and health bodies may not be changing guidelines as other health benefits from milk as protection against heart ailments, stroke and diabetes prevention cannot be overruled. A balanced diet is the key for keeping mind and body healthier, as it is often said excess of anything is bad, even its something as good as milk.
Source: The Telegraph