Milk & Osteoporosis: Is Milk Good for Your Bones or Is It Just a Myth?

Milk & osteoporosis

What if you discovered that something you’ve been taught since childhood was completely wrong? What if more than 5 billion people on earth could prove it? Humankind has been a huge fan of milk and dairy products for thousands of years. Of course, the caveman wasn’t milking cows, but when animal domestication came about, so did dairy. Milk and osteoporosis have a relationship that is way more complicated than what we knew. learn more about milk and it’s history in A 10,000-Year History of Milk.

Milk is a wonder we are all taught about. Want strong bones? Drink milk. Want a great source of protein? Drink milk. Want something to dip your cookies in? use milk. Besides, how can you dispel the advice from people like Martha Stewart, Heidi Klum, Austin Powers, Bart, and Lisa Simpson, and hundreds of other real and fake celebrities who wore milk mustaches?

Bilk Miles says until about three years ago, she wore a nice, thick milk mustache, too. She said as an on-again-off-again vegetarian since the age of 14, she relied heavily on dairy for her protein and, of course, calcium. But for her, dairy was more than just nutrition, it was a full sensory experience: the creamy, mouthful of whole milk on a bowl of crunchy corn flakes. But one day she, vowed that she would never eat dairy again. The question here is, will she develop osteoporosis because she stopped using milk? 

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones which causes them to be more likely to break. It is brittle bones or lack of calcium in the bones. Do you know anyone with osteoporosis? Most likely yes. It’s not uncommon. And osteoporosis often occurs in people who have been consuming milk all their lives. So how do people who have been using milk almost all their lives get osteoporosis? How do people get a lack of calcium if they were having milk their whole lives?

Osteoporosis is brittle bones

In this case, calcium intake deficiency is unheard of. We are getting a lack of calcium because of two reasons. One is lack of vitamin D and, the other reason is acidic foods. Our body is alkaline when we consume acidic foods. We leach calcium out of the bones to neutralize the acid and make our bones osteoporotic. 

Now, What Are the Acidic Sins?

Tea, coffee, colas, sugar, salt, vinegar, and animal proteins, or all high protein foods, are acidic; because proteins break down into amino acids which, are acidic in our body. Animal proteins are a little more acidic because of methionine. But all the high protein foods are acidic so, what do we need to cut down on animal protein?

Milk and Osteoporosis

Dairy is an animal protein, right. So even though milk contains calcium, milk depletes more calcium than it gives to the body and, that’s why the countries with the highest incidence of osteoporosis are also countries with the highest consumption of dairy. We’ve been brainwashed by the dairy industry all these years to believe that we need milk for calcium. 

Let us just give you an example. When a child is born, she has no teeth and no bones, only cartilage. And bones develop just thanks to mother’s milk. Mother’s milk doesn’t have as much calcium as cows’ milk. Mother’s milk has as much calcium as fruit juice yet, it is enough to build strong, healthy teeth. 

It is a habit for most people to drink dairy.

That means we could build strong teeth and bone just on fruits. But most of us are having much more calcium through other means like green leafy vegetables, beans and seeds. So, we have more than enough calcium.

And we don’t have any problem with getting the calcium. Our problem is that we are depleting it through addictive substances like tea, coffee, colas, and animal products. Switch to a whole plan-based organic diet and, osteoporosis will heal as long as your vitamin D is checked, and supplemented.  

Highest Osteoporosis Rate VS Highest Milk Consumption Rate

Everybody thinks that milk builds strong bones. There are good reasons for that because the dairy industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over a very long time convincing us that it’s true. But actually, dairy doesn’t build strong bones and, we have several studies showing that the more milk you drink, the more fractures you get. The more dairy products you consume, it doesn’t matter if you consume it in the form of milk or cheese or butter or whatever you’re eating, it still leads to fracture risk.

And in countries where dairy products aren’t consumed, and calcium intake is significantly lower, you see a much lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures. So that sounds counter-intuitive but, many things build strong bones. 

Exercise is one of them. Having a good functioning gastrointestinal tract helps that, too. This way, you’re absorbing nutrients from food. Also, getting enough sunlight causes your body to produce vitamin D. These are examples of things that contribute to strong bones. But none of them puts any demands on your body and maintains your blood PH in a safe range. 

building strong bones

So when people eat, what we call a high acidic load of food -like eggs and meat and dairy- is consumed, and your body has to work very hard to make sure that your blood PH doesn’t drop below 7.35. Because if you stay there for very long, you won’t be alive anymore. What the body will do is to borrow buffering chemicals of substances. It will go for calcium in bones (calcium is a known buffer). This way, to stay alive, you will begin to demineralize your bones.

The Best Thing to Do If You Want Strong Bones

The best thing to do if you want strong bones is not to eat dairy. It is to eat optimally. Eating a low-fat, plant-based diet, getting out in the sunshine, and finally doing regular exercise are wise things to do.  

Drinking Milk as an Adult Might Not Help Bones, But What About in Adolescence? 

Harvard researchers decided to put it to the test. Studies have shown that greater milk consumption during childhood and adolescence contributes to higher bone mass. It is expected to help avoid osteoporosis and bone fractures in later life.

But that’s not what they found about milk and osteoporosis. Milk consumption during teenage years was not associated with a lower risk of hip fracture. If anything, milk consumption was associated with a borderline; increase in fracture risk in men. It appears that the extra boost in total body bone mineral density you get from getting extra calcium is lost within a few years. Even if you keep the calcium supplementation up, this suggests a partial explanation for the long-standing enigma that hip fracture rates are highest in populations with the highest milk consumption. But why would they be higher? 

One to two glasses of milk a day is just the equivalent of galactose intake

A Swedish research team was puzzled by this enigma. Another study had found that a higher intake of milk was associated with a higher risk of fracture. They found that galactose in milk doesn’t just hurt bones. Galactose is what scientists use to prematurely age lab animals. A little galactose can shorten their lifespan, cause oxidative stress, inflammation, and brain degeneration.

One to two glasses of milk a day is just the equivalent of galactose intake. Given the high amount of galactose in milk, recommendations to increase milk intake to prevent fractures could be a conceivable contradiction. So, they decided to put it into test by looking at milk intake, and mortality as well as fracture risk in volunteers. A hundred thousand men and women subjects were followed for up to 20 years.

What Did Scientists Find?

Milk-drinking women had higher rates of death and more heart disease. Significantly, more cases of cancer were scored against each glass of milk. Three glasses a day was associated with nearly twice the risk of death. And they had significantly more bone and hip fractures, too. 

studies have shown regular milk consumers of both gender face high mortality rate.

In a separate study, milk consumption was also associated with a higher mortality rate among men. At least their fracture rates weren’t higher. In other words, milk intake was associated with a dose-dependent higher rate of both mortality and fracture in women and a higher mortality rate in men, but sour milk and yogurt was associated with the opposite. This is consistent with the galactose theory, since bacteria can ferment some of the lactose. Nevertheless, we need a randomized controlled trial to examine the effect of milk consumption on mortality and fractures. Considering the increase in milk consumption around the globe, we should find this out soon.


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