PanamaTimes

Friday, Apr 19, 2024

Drinking more milk could help ageing brains stay healthy, study says

Drinking more milk could help ageing brains stay healthy, study says

As a society, we tend to think of milk as a drink that’s best enjoyed by kids.

And that’s not technically wrong: cow’s milk has the best nutritional benefits for growing children and, once kids grow into adults, they pretty much lose the capacity to digest the dairy drink properly.

There’s also a particular social awkwardness linked to drinking milk as adults instead of, say, a cup of tea, coffee or even a can of Coke.

But older adults might have more to gain from drinking milk than we think, according to a new study published by the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

The research, conducted by a team of scientists at the University of Kansas (KU) Medical Center in the US, found that older adults who drink three cups of dairy milk every day have higher levels of a powerful antioxidant which can protect the brain from ageing and ageing-related diseases.

This antioxidant, called glutathione, or GSH, has the power to prevent our brain from being “corroded” by free radicals and other oxidants which are normally released when our brain converts nutrients into energy.

Even though it sounds horrifying, this is a natural process which the KU scientists describe as similar to “an old car that rusts” and which experts have linked to many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

As we age, levels of GHS in our brain decrease, and we gradually lose this ally protecting our brain.


What did the study find?


The scientists analysed 73 adults aged between 60 and 89 who typically consumed less than 1.5 servings of dairy per day and split them into two groups: one, whose milk intake did not change, and another who was asked to increase their milk consumption to three cups a day (of low-fat 1 per cent milk, specifically) for three months.

At the end of the experiment, scientists found that the group who drank three cups of dairy milk a day had experienced an average 5 per cent increase in GSH levels in their brains, and a 7 per cent increase of the antioxidant in the parietal region of their brains, while the group who had kept drinking less milk had experienced no change at all.

“It's exciting that something as simple as drinking milk can increase GSH because it’s not a drug, it’s just a simple food,” said Dr Debra Sullivan, professor and chair of the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition in the School of Health Professions at KU Medical Center and one of the authors on the study.

“And three cups a day is actually what is recommended by the US Dietary Guidelines”.


How much milk do we normally consume?


Three cups a day sounds like an awful lot of milk - even for the US, a country which has traditionally made drinking milk part of American life.

But consumption of milk, which peaked in 1945 in the US, has actually been declining in the country since the 1970s, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture, and the countries which consume the most dairy milk are now, in fact, in Europe.

According to World Population Review, the countries which consume the most milk in the world are Finland (430.76 kg/capita), Montenegro (349.21 kg/capita), the Netherlands (341.47 kg/capita), Sweden (341.23 kg/capita), Switzerland (318.69 kg/capita), Albania (303.72 kg/capita), Lithuania (295.46 kg/capita), Ireland (291.86 kg/capita), Kazakhstan (288.12 kg/capita) and Estonia (284.65 kg/capita).

It’s not by chance that there are so many consumers of milk in Europe: the dairy sector is the second-largest agricultural sector in the European Union.


Should we all start drinking more milk?


It’s important to note, at this point, that the KU study received funding by the US National Dairy Council, although researchers said they were not given any input or direction in their study.

In fact, the researchers said they were actually quite surprised by the study’s results.

“I was thinking fruits and vegetables would be highly correlated with antioxidants in the brain,” said study’s author In-Young Choi.

“But instead it was dairy, and among the dairy foods, it was milk. That was really surprising”.

So should we all start drinking more milk? The answer might be a bit more complicated than the American study would initially seem to suggest.

Dairy is often recommended to older people, as the high content of calcium in cow’s milk and other products is said to fortify bones and keep them healthy.

But studies have also found an increased risk of heart-related diseases in people consuming dairy against those sticking to a vegan diet and even an increased risk of bone fractures and mortality in relation to excessive milk consumption.

While plant-based alternatives can’t normally give you the same nutrients dairy milk can, you can easily find those in other vegan food, or reach for fortified plant-based milk on the supermarket’s shelf.

KU researchers said that more research is needed to figure out why exactly milk consumption was found to increase GSH levels in the brain, whether this improves brain functions and whether the level of fat in milk makes a difference at all.

Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
×