WASHINGTON, D.C.—People who drink cow’s milk have an increased risk of hip fracture, compared to those who do not drink milk, according to a new scientific review published in Journal of Nutrition Science. The review, based on 13 prior studies including 486,950 adults and 15,320 fractures overall, found that milk intake was directly and significantly associated with risk of hip fracture.
Drinking 200 grams of milk per day (about .83 cup) was associated with a 7% higher risk of hip fracture when compared to drinking no milk, while drinking 400 grams per day (about 1.65 cups) was associated with a 15% higher risk.
“This research presents a serious challenge to the commercial claim that milk protects against fractures and shows that drinking milk may do the opposite,” says Neal Barnard, MD, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, who provided input on the study. “Calcium from plants and vitamin D from supplementation or sunlight are just a few of the ways you can help to protect your bones without the dangers of dairy milk.”
The authors say that the mechanisms behind potentially higher risk of hip fracture with milk intake are not entirely clear, but d-galactose, a breakdown product of lactose, has been linked to oxidative stress and inflammation, potentially increasing the risk of fracture and mortality.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.