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Is Bone-Building Milk also Good for Joints? Harvard Study Says “Yes!”

Bones Need Protein!

Milk contains bone building protein and minerals and has been previously shown to slow the process of osteoporosis, a bone-thinning process that renders us prone to fractures and loss of height as we age. Now there is reason to believe it also helps our joints.

Daily Milk Drinkers Found to Have the Healthiest Joints (Widest joint spaces)

The Harvard group studied the diet and supplement history of over 2000 men and women between 45 and 79 years old over a 4 year period while also taking X-Rays of their knee joints and measuring the amount of cartilage, which is a reflection of joint health. More cartilage, as reflected in a wider joint space on XRay, means healthier joints. During the 4 year study everyone’s joints deteriorated, as measured by a narrowing joint space (and therefore loss of cartilage). milk consumption slow arthritis.pdf

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Lauren Smith

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I would like to thank you for literally saving my life. Back in February, I had to be hospitalized while on vacation in Phoenix with an A1C of 11% and had to start taking 2 types of insulin and 2 other meds. I read the Fatburn Fix in April, and followed the program to a tee, and I’m down by 15 pounds, 6.8 A1C, and only one once weekly diabetes medicine. 

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The study authors note that for women, benefits were graded whereas for men no benefits were seen until they drank 7 or more glasses per week (Table 3). My thoughts on the reason for this difference include the fact that women had lower calcium intake in general and so every additional input of calcium from milk made an impact. Men, on the other hand, had significantly better calcium intake and only by drinking 7 plus glasses per week did the additional nutrients from milk seem to protect their joint spaces. Also, women typically consume less protein than men, and so the same line of reasoning likely applies.

Cheese and yogurt had lesser effects, or no effect. Supposedly.

As is common in nutrition research these days it seems (sadly), part of the study makes no sense.  “Inconsistent with milk consumption, 7 servings/week of cheese consumption was associated with worsening arthritis, compared to no cheese intake in women, while combined dairy products and yogurt consumption were not associated with benefit or harm after ad justing for milk consumption and other covariates.” I think the apparent conflict lies in the methods by which they “adjusted” for the other co-variates, which  they do not disclose.

In my experience failure to disclose often means they are hiding something in order to cloud the issue. Clouding the issue prevents doctors from feeling confident about making a recommendation. Consistent with that idea that the journal wants to put a negative spin on the findings, the accompanying editorial warns, “Don’t advise more milk intake yet.”

When there is no evidence of harm, as is the case in this study, the failure to move forward with recommendations based on the evidence at hand is to me a red flag that something other than scientific integrity is driving the conversation. I suspect the journal editors want to do everything they can to keep open the door for doctors to recommend prescription drugs, since pharmaceutical funding supports a majority of the journals in circulation today.

Bottom line? Milk does a body good.

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Full text of the article available here:

Harvard Study on Milk and Joint Health 

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Healthline suggest that people with Oesteoarthritis should avoid salt. In Fatburn Fix, Dr Cate recommends that we should be mindful to get enough salt. For OA (specifically Lower Spinal OA), what foods and supplements would you recommend?

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