Issue 2.23.18 Milk Does Your Bones Good…OR…Does It? – Your Health Detective

We’ve been “sold” a bill-of-goods for many decades about the health benefits of milk, particularly when it comes to preventing deterioration of bones – namely osteoporosis.

            Scientific Perspective…

Science has once again finally shattered the myth that milk makes strong bones.  A new Swedish study links drinking milk to higher rates of bone fractures and even death!

The study tracked the eating habits of over 60,000 women for 20 years and over 45,000 men for 15 years. Researchers found that drinking more milk did NOT lead to lower risks of bone fracture.  In fact, women who drank three glasses of milk per day broke more bones.  Compared to women who drank less than one glass per day, heavy milk drinkers had a 60% greater risk of breaking a hip and a 16% higher risk of breaking any bone.  

But it gets worse.  People who drank more milk also had a higher risk of dying from any cause.  For every glass of milk they drank every day, women had a 15% higher risk of death and men had a 3% higher risk…CLICK to continue reading…

 Why does milk lead to more broken bones and higher death rates?

The following outlines the research findings regarding the health effects of drinking milk…

  • Milk drinkers had more biomarkers for oxidative stress and inflammation. Researchers suggested that high levels of two sugars in milk – lactose and galactose – were the cause.
  • In fact, they noted that low doses of D-galactose are often used in animal studies to induce signs of aging. Studies link D-galactose to a shortened life span, oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, neurodegeneration, decreased immune response, and gene transcriptional changes.  The dose used to obtain those results in animals is equivalent to a human drinking one to two glasses of milk per day.  
  • Milk may be high in calcium but too much calcium can break bones – not strengthen them.

SO, I’m sure you’re asking if milk doesn’t build strong bones, what does?  Below are 10 foods proven to be a better choice for reducing your fracture risk and keeping your bones strong.

  1. Yogurt – a Swedish study found that fermented milk had the opposite effect on your bones as drinking plain milk. For each serving of fermented milk products women reduced their hip fracture and death rates by 10 to 15%. Examples of fermented milk products include yogurt, kefir, and sour cream.  Fermented dairy was also linked to lower oxidative stress and inflammation.
  2. Cheese – the Swedish researchers also found eating cheese lowers fracture and death rates. Cheeses are also rich in vitamin K2 which is essential to strong bones. The best choices with the highest levels of vitamin K2 are Gouda, Brie, and Edam.  Other good cheeses for your bones include Cheddar, Colby, Swiss, and Gruyere.  Stick to traditionally made cheeses and AVOID processed varieties like Velveeta, soy cheese, and other modern processed “cheese products.”
  3. Natto – a traditionally fermented soy product popular in Asia, Natto is another food high in vitamin K2. In a study of 72 premenopausal women, researchers found that those who ate more Natto had better bone formation.  And a University of Tokyo study concluded that Natto consumption may contribute to the relatively lower fracture risk in Japanese women. NOTE: Natto is its pure form is awful in my opinion – t e taste and aroma I couldn’t tolerate. That said, I take a daily supplement made of Natto that is scientifically praised for heart health and inflammation and available over-the-counter in the U.S. and online as a supplement. I take it because Natto also has the ability to keep the blood naturally thin and I’ve had life-threatening blood clots from an accident and this replaces my need to toxic blood thinners.
  4. Green Tea – a Mediterranean Osteoporosis Study showed that drinking up to 3 cups of organic green tea per day was associated with a 30% reduction in the risk of hip fractures in women as well as men over 50 years of age.

And researchers from Texas Tech University showed that 500 mg of green tea polyphenols improves bone health after three months and muscle strength at six months. That’s about what you get in four to six cups of green tea.  The green tea compounds support osteoblast activity (bone building) and suppress osteoclasts activity (bone breakdown).

  1. Prunes – a Florida State University research project tested bone density in 100 menopausal women over 12 months. Half were told to eat about 10 dried plums a day. The other half ate dried apples.  Researchers found the prune eaters had significantly higher bone mineral density in the forearm and spine.  Other studies show dried plums slow bone loss.
  2. Pomegranates – these are known to relieve symptoms of menopause including bone loss. In a 2004 study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, rats who had their ovaries removed suffered accelerated bone loss, a typical symptom of menopause.  But when they were fed an extract of pomegranate juice and seeds for just 2 weeks, their bone mineral loss reverted to normal rates.
  3. Oranges – osteoporosis has been called “scurvy of the bones” because lack of vitamin C has been linked to brittle bones. In animal studies feeding rats orange pulp significantly improved bone strength. Other studies show bone mineral density is higher in women who supplement with vitamin C.  Eat fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C for bone health.  Choose oranges, strawberries, papaya, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwi fruits, and cauliflower.
  1. Black Seed (Nigella Sativa) – researchers in animal studies showed that nigella sativa can reverse osteoporosis when about 2 TB. are taken daily.
  2. Cumin – a study conducted in 2008 showed that cumin seeds inhibit loss of bone density and strength as effectively as estrogen. The amount recommended is 2 TB. daily.
  3. Chocolate – bone density is linked to magnesium intake. But magnesium levels in the bone decrease with age. Your body needs magnesium to convert vitamin D to its active form and absorb calcium. Only about 20% of Americans get the recommended daily amount of 420 mg of magnesium for men and 320 mg for women. Dark chocolate has a healthy 176 mg of magnesium in a 3.5-ounce bar. Look for chocolate that is organic, fair-trade, and as dark as possible with at least 70% cacao content.  The higher the cacao content, the lower the sugar content. NOTE: As a certified practitioner of hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA), I always recommend my patients have an annual HTMA because its not only about supplementation but about the ratios of one mineral to another. The most accurate scientific method of testing nutritional elements is an analysis via HTMA.

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