Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Proverbial Grains of Salt

"Our results may question the validity of recommendations to consume high amounts of milk to prevent fragility fractures. A higher consumption of milk in women and men is not accompanied by a lower risk of fracture and instead may be associated with a higher rate of death."
Prof. Karl Michaelsson, Uppsala University, Sweden

"There may be another factor causing the increased mortality and fracture rate in women. Milk is a convenient source of calcium as well as many other vitamins and minerals. One such study is insufficient to base public health decisions on."
Gaynor Bussell, British public health nutritionist
Current dietary recommendations about milk consumption are unchanged
"The authors advise caution in interpreting the results and are not recommending that anyone stops drinking milk or eating dairy products."
Dr. Louis Levy, Public Health England

The controversy here is whether milk consumption should be considered an aid to building healthy bones in adults, or whether it controversially presents as yet another health risk. Popular health wisdom has it that drinking and eating dairy products with their high calcium content help to maintain healthy bone structure. Of course, it isn't just a consumption matter, but a lifestyle matter as well, in maintaining a robust, healthy body.

glass of milk
A study claims that an intake of three or more glasses of milk a day could perhaps do more harm than good.

Exercise from an early age onward into maturity and continuing the types of exercise appropriate for advancing age with a daily regimen is also a useful assist in maintaining health. Those who lead sedentary lifestyles lose their stamina, flexibility and enduring strength as their physiques languish due to under-use. That old adage of 'use it or lose it' is never so true as when connected to the mechanics of physical lubrication and muscular usage.

The new research referred to above, was published in the British Medical Journal, reflecting the results of a study undertaken by lead author Prof. Michaelsson and his colleagues in Sweden. Theirs was a study tracking 61,000 women and 45,000 men for a twenty-year period. During the course of the study the subjects' milk-consumption habits were tracked, the end result being that the conclusion was that there was no benefit to drinking milk.

The study's authors found no reduction in broken bones for those who consumed milk the most frequently. Instead, for women milk was associated with an increased opportunity of suffering a fracture. Women who drank three or more glasses of milk daily (680 ml) were found to be twice as likely to die at an earlier age than those who consumed less than one glass of milk on a daily basis.

Researchers arrived at the belief that the fat in milk cancels out the positive effects of calcium. Instead of helping to build healthy bones and keep them that way, they feel that milk consumption triggers inflammation, increasing the risk of heart attacks, because of the fat content. Low-fat dairy products, on the other hand; cheese and yogurt for example, produced a beneficial effect in reduction of early death and promoting bone health.

British experts, examining the study and its results, feel that something may have been overlooked, or not adequately factored in when the researchers compiled and examined their data. They feel the conclusions arrived at through the research should be viewed with caution since Sweden fortifies its milk with vitamin A, which might conceivably have tilted toward the result.

Just incidentally, citing a Cochrane Review, the Mayo Clinic in the United States reached a conclusion of their own in acknowledging that the ingestion of too much beta-carotene or Vitamin A may be injurious to peoples' health:
The same review found large doses of vitamin A supplements were also associated with an increased risk of dying prematurely. Supplementation with beta-carotene, a compound that's converted to vitamin A by the body, was also shown to increase risk of death, especially for smokers or former smokers. Since vitamin A deficiency is rare in the U.S., it's probably not worth the potential risk to take this supplement.

And then there are growing cautions against trusting everything one reads even in respected scientific journals. The editor of the British Medical Journal, Richard Smith, spoke of problems with peer review, a process of pre-publication where papers to be published are circulated among scientists with knowledge of the topic at hand who may verify or query some of the assertions concluding a research project.

He found the peer review process to be inconsistent; two reviewers of the same paper can arrive at astonishingly opposite conclusions. Sometimes the process can result in dishonesty (when on a rare occasion a reviewer appropriates parts of a paper to use it in his own work, while rejecting the original). But review of this nature, he said, rarely catches fraud. Peer review, he felt (the standard scientific 'guarantee' of trustworthiness in scientific paper publishing) was "little better than tossing a coin".

Which makes it all the more important that when a research project is concluded and the findings arrived at don't appear to reflect prevailing scientific opinion and recommendations based on a wide range of other research supporting the opposite of a random conclusion, others in the field speak up to express their doubts in the presumed accuracy of the conclusion.
Medical News Today
Milk contains 18 out of 22 essential nutrients. The relationship between the dynamic duo of calcium and vitamin D in milk and their importance in maintaining bone health has long been promoted in nutritional education, especially in terms of child development.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommend a daily dose of 3 cups of dairy to support good health and improve bone mass. An intake of three or four glasses of milk a day has been suggested to save at least 20% of health care costs related to osteoporosis.
Milk is also presented to have many other benefits, including:

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet