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Drinking Milk Linked to Arthritis ReliefApril 15, 2014
A large study has found evidence that milk consumption may slow the progression of knee arthritis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, osteoarthritis, a chronic joint disease, affects 14 percent of people over 25 and 34 percent of those over 65.
In this study, researchers collected detailed health, diet and behavioral data on 2,148 men and women with knee osteoarthritis. They performed annual knee X-rays for the next four years, measuring the narrowing space between bones in the knee joint to gauge disease progression.
They found that increasing milk consumption was associated with slower progression of the disease in women. In men, only those who consumed the most milk — seven or more glasses a week — saw the effect. More than 90 percent of the people in the study drank fat-free or low-fat milk, and the study did not find the effect with cheese and other dairy products.
The authors acknowledge that this observational study, published online in Arthritis Care & Research, does not prove a causal connection. Still, they controlled for most known risk factors that are plausibly associated with osteoarthritis, including smoking, weight and alcohol consumption.
Should people with osteoarthritis increase their milk intake? The lead author, Dr. Bing Lu, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard, had a simple answer: “Yes,” he said. “Low-fat or fat-free milk.”