Consuming calcium through milk is associated with more and not less bone fractures.
By Dawn Flemming
Studies have recently shown that despite the calcium content of milk, there is no association between drinking milk and the risk of hip fracture.
Others have argued that the benefits are only present during teenage development, but again, studies have shown that the opposite is true: drinking milk is associated with a potential increase in hip fracture, especially in males.
This does cause somewhat of a confusion. Milk contains calcium, calcium is supposed to strengthen bones, but drinking milk may potentially do the opposite? What observations suggest is that although milk contains calcium, the calcium that is consumed is eventually lost. But there is more.
The issue seems to be galactose in milk which is derived from the lactose derived from milk and yogurt (the lactose is digested into galactose and glucose in the body). Unfortunately, galactose seems to hurt the bones through calcium loss from the bones. But the bones aren’t the only things in our bodies harmed by galactose. In animal lab experiments, it has shown to shorten lifespan, inflammation, brain degeneration.
In another large study, over a hundred thousand men and women were followed for almost two decades. It was found that women who drank milk were at higher risk of death, heart disease and cancer. Drinking three glasses of milk a day was associated with twice the risk of death and more bone and hip fractures.
There are plenty of other sources of calcium other than milk and there are plenty of other ways to increase bone density. From a dietary point of view, vitamin D and beans are important ingredients for bone health. From an activity point of view, exercise, especially weight lifting, helps with increase in bone mass.
If you are a senior and at risk of osteoporosis, you may want to consult with your doctor and see if you can reduce your intake of milk and see what kind of diets and exercise may be helpful to you.
Dawn Flemming is Director of Business Services at Geriatric In-Home Care in Fresno, California.