Milk Makes for Increased Joint Health

Post by Author of Deep Nutrition, nutritional consultant to the Los Angeles Lakers and Physician, Dr Cate Shanahan

Milk contains bone building protein and minerals and has been previously shown to slow the process of osteoporosis, a bone-thinning process that renders us prone to fractures and loss of height as we age. Now there is reason to believe it also helps our joints.

Daily Milk Drinkers Found to Have the Healthiest Joints (Widest joint spaces)

The Harvard group studied the diet and supplement history of over 2000 men and women between 45 and 79 years old over a 4 year period while also taking X-Rays of their knee joints and measuring the amount of cartilage, which is a reflection of joint health. More cartilage, as reflected in a wider joint space on XRay, means healthier joints. During the 4 year study everyone’s joints deteriorated, as measured by a narrowing joint space (and therefore loss of cartilage).


The study authors note that for women, benefits were graded whereas for men no benefits were seen until they drank 7 or more glasses per week (Table 3). My thoughts on the reason for this difference include the fact that women had lower calcium intake in general and so every additional input of calcium from milk made an impact. Men, on the other hand, had significantly better calcium intake and only by drinking 7 plus glasses per week did the additional nutrients from milk seem to protect their joint spaces. Also, women typically consume less protein than men, and so the same line of reasoning likely applies. Full article