Milk Linked to Greater Risk of Parkinson’s, Swedish Study Shows

Milk Linked to Greater Risk of Parkinson’s, Swedish Study Shows

Consumption of more than 40 milliliters (1.3 ounces) of milk per day is associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Still, dietary intake of yogurts or soured milk does not pose a risk, results from a large-scale Swedish study show.

The study “Milk, Yogurt, and Soured Milk Consumption and Risk of Parkinson’s Disease,” will be presented Erik Olsson, PhD, an associate professor at Uppsala University, during the 14th International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases and related neurological disorders, March 26-31, in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dairy products are widely consumed worldwide and could be important contributors for the development of human disease.

Previous studies have suggested consuming dairy products could be linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, particularly among men.

More recently, a study has shown that total dairy intake was not associated with a significant risk of Parkinson’s. However, daily consumption of low-fat or skim milk instead of full-fat milk was linked to a 39% higher chance of Parkinson’s disease.

To further explore this issue, Swedish researchers reviewed the incidence of Parkinson’s disease in 81,889 adults during a mean follow-up period of 13.9 years. None of the participants had Parkinson’s when the study started in 1997, and they all answered a questionnaire about dietary regimens and food intake frequency.

A total of 1,251 cases of Parkinson’s disease were reported among this population, according to information from the Swedish National Patient and Cause of Death Registers.

Analysis of the dietary patterns of this population revealed that people who consumed 40 milliliters (ml) or more of milk per day had increased risk of having Parkinson’s disease.

In particular, individuals who drank 40 to 159 ml per day of milk had a 30% higher risk of developing Parkinson’s, compared to people who had low daily milk intake (less than 40 ml per day). The risk increased similarly for people who consumed even higher amounts of milk, with 25%, 33%, and 33% higher risk for 160-200 ml, 201-400 ml, or more than 400 ml per day of milk.

In contrast, researchers did not find any significant association between intake of yogurt or soured milk and long-term risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

These risk estimates did not change when the team analyzed the data according to participants’ gender, with no differences found between men and women.

“Findings from this cohort study indicate that consumption of milk, but not soured milk and yogurt, is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease,” researchers concluded.

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  1. Lesa Moore says:

    Please clarify, In the study, were you using organic or non-organic milk? Does it make a difference if drinking Organic vs non-organic?

  2. Nathan Thies says:

    I’ve been a massive consumer of milk for many years, fat-free, reduced fat and whole milk. I was dignosed with Parkinson’s last year. Now that I have Parkinson’s, will continued consumption of milk exacerbate the symptoms or speed the progress of the disease?

    • Daniel says:

      I personally Nathan would veer on the side of caution and abstain not only from all dairy products but animal products as well – it won’t do any harm and it may well help reduce or reverse the progress of the disease.

      There are of course many plant based alternatives to dairy: plant milks such as soya, almond, oat; Non dairy spreads that taste almost identical to milk based ones as well as cheeses and yogurts.

      There are also plenty of mock meats as well and even mock fish some of which are very tasty.

      I’ve never actually heard of a vegan with Alzheimer’s. There may well be but people who eat a plant based diet appear to be at much less risk of developing dementia.

      It depends on how much you value your own health, how resistant you are to change and how much faith you have in modern medicine. Considering around a million people in the US are living with Parkinson’s I’m not sure I’d put too much faith in the competency of the medical profession in this field.

      You might find this interesting:

      Good luck.

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