Milk May Delay Knee Arthritis in Women

<p>Milk consumption may delay the progression of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee in women, according to new research published in the journal Arthritis Care &amp; Research, which reiterates the importance of dairy in a healthy diet.</p>

BOSTON—Milk consumption may delay the progression of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee in women, according to new research published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, which reiterates the importance of dairy in a healthy diet.

To conduct the recent study on milk consumption and bone health, a team of researchers led by author Bing Lu, M.D., Ph.D., from Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, studied 2,148 participants (3,064 knees) with knee OA (recruited for the Osteoarthritis Initiative). At the start of the study, dietary data was collected and joint space width was measured by X-ray to evaluate OA progression. Subjects included 888 men and 1,260 women who had follow-up at 12, 24, 36 and 48 months. 

As the intake of milk increased from none to less than three, four to six, and more than seven (8 ounce) glasses per week, the joint space width in women also decreased by 0.38mm, 0.29mm, 0.29mm and 0.26mm, respectively. Results persisted even after adjusting for disease severity, body mass index (BMI) and dietary factors. No association between milk consumption and joint space width decrease was reported in men. 

“Our findings indicate that women who frequently drink milk may reduce the progression of OA," Lu said. “Further study of milk intake and delay in OA progression are needed." 

Results also show that women who ate cheese saw an increase in knee OA progression, while yogurt did not impact OA progression in men or women.

Milk is one the body's main vitamin D suppliers, and consumption of the nutrient plays a huge role in bone health. In the Food Product Design FoodTech Toolbox, the Slide Show Vitamin D: Illuminating the Sunshine Vitamin provides more information on this critical vitamin and how it can prevent/treat serious long-term health issues.

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