I was driving home today and heard over the radio that there was news that a certain Dr. Karl Michaelsson in Sweden conducted a very large observational study to try to get the definitive answer on whether drinking milk does help make bones stronger or not. After looking at the carefully tabulated data of more than 100,000 subjects who took careful notes of their life over time, it seems that drinking more milk over a 20 year time span does NOT make the bones less likely to fracture.
This would seem to be going against what we were taught as little kids. The idea was that drinking milk was supposed to make young children taller and make the bones stronger. So far, we have proven that the correlation between young kids drinking milk and them ending up taller as adult is extremely weak. Now it seems that the claim that milk should make the bones stronger has also been sort of disproven.
Refer to the article written a month ago http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/11193329/Three-glasses-of-milk-a-day-can-lead-to-early-death-warn-scientists.html
From what I could get out of the radio, drinking 3 glasses of milk a day doesn’t decrease the chances of fracture, and may in fact cause the person to die earlier. For women, the risk of fracture actually increases.
The theory proposed by Dr. Michaelsson on why this is is the following – The two types of sugar in milk, glucose and lactose, seem to cause the human body to go through even more oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is supposed to be one of the main causes for the human body to go through aging/senescence.
It turns out that when we were babies first coming out of our mothers, the first source of food was our mother’s breast milk. That breast milk had a lot of lactose in it. However, the new born baby as the lactase enzyme in the body to break down that lactose sugar. Over time, as the human develops and grows older, the level of lactase in their bodies seem to drop at a dramatic rate. In some countries like Asia, the level of the lactase enzyme is so low that people develop the condition “lactose intolerance”. The just don’t have enough of the enzyme in their body that is specifically used to break down the lactosse sugar found in milk and other dairy products.
What was shown was that instead of milk, hard cheese seemed to be able to decrease fractures. The difference between why hard cheese is effective and milk is not seems to come down to the fact that hard cheese has less levels and concentrations of lactose.
The first thing to realize is that drinking more than average milk does NOT decrease fracture incidences. In fact, it might have the opposite effect. This point is further validated by the PubMed Study “Milk, dietary calcium, and bone fractures in women: a 12-year prospective study.”
What has been traditionally believed is that calcium is something that is desired for a developing children who is still growing taller. In the medical textbook that I have been reading, it seems that to have a developing child to be growing at their optimum level, they should be adding around 0.5 grams of extra calcium into their body everyday, and most especially during the puberty years, when they get their huge growth spurts, which should be around 1 gram of extra calcium each day
The reason milk doesn’t work in strengthening the bone is guessed by the researchers to be the negation of the effects of the calcium by the fat content in the milk.
Based on what I do know, it would still not be a good idea to stop giving the developing human child milk. Getting a reasonable amount of milk into a child is still somewhat important.
It might be that bovine derived milk is not completely compatible with the human stomach bacterial ecosystem. However, it does have some type of negligible effect.
Final TIp: Based on our research for the last two years, I am happy to tell the person who is worried about or suffers from low bone mineral density that they should instead look into a much better BMD(Bone Mineral Density) stimulant. – Sclerostin Inhibitors (Refer to study “Sclerostin inhibition for osteoporosis–a new approach.”)