Milk, Does Your Bones Good?

For years we’ve been told that milk ‘does a body good’, but now there are stories saying that milk isn’t as good as we once thought. Is this true?

If you’re to believe the news, you might think you should cut out milk entirely. But the truth is not so black and white.

Much of the focus in the milk debate is around the issue of whether or not milk prevents fractures. One paper in particular is being cited in news stories and summed up as follows: Drinking milk has long been promoted as positive for building stronger bones.  But it seems drinking milk as a teenager does not reduce the risk of hip fractures later in life and can even increase the risk for men.

That’s kind of a generalization. First of all, this research is specific to tall, teenage boys. If you have a teenage son you know how much milk and every other food they devour! The root of the research is that drinking extra milk in childhood doesn’t protect against fractures later in life.

That’s because too much calcium actually increases the risk of fractures – something most people don’t know.

Milk is always touted for its calcium and vitamin D.  And in supplements for bone health, these two ingredients together, and no others, have been marketed as the winning solution for bone care. So it’s easy to understand why most people do not know that too much calcium increases the risk of fractures, even though doctors have known for years.

The recommended daily amount of calcium is 1200 mg.  More than 2,000 mg increases the risk of fracture because bones become brittle. Brittle bones are very susceptible to fracture from even the slightest impact.

Calcium is in a whole range of foods besides milk - spinach, broccoli, oatmeal, sesame seeds, almonds, salmon and other foods. Most Americans don’t get enough calcium from the foods they eat because the average American diet is not very nutritious. For a lot of people, milk has been used as an add-on, almost like supplements, to get more calcium.

You might ask yourself why you can’t get all your required calcium from supplements? That would be easier, right? The problem is that supplements with 1200 mg or more of calcium pose a health risk.  The body can only absorb 500 mg of calcium at one time.  Also, more than 500 mg of supplemental calcium is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks.

These concerns are precisely why Silical 1 contains exactly 500 mg of calcium.  This makes up for most people’s deficiency without putting them at risk.  It can be taken in addition to two servings of dairy per day as well as a healthy diet that includes non-dairy sources of calcium.

Calcium is the major mineral that makes bone hard.  But bones also need magnesium for flexibility. The ratio of magnesium to calcium is important. There is some magnesium in cow’s milk, but not enough, and many bone health supplements use magnesium oxide - which is poorly absorbed. Silical System uses magnesium citrate becomes it absorbs 15 times better.

And let’s not forget about other nutrients for bone health.  Healthy collagen protects and supports bones, and reduces the risk of fractures. If it weren’t for the cost, Vitamin K2 would probably be in most multivitamins because it makes bone tough (different from bone hardness) and activates Vitamin D. Studies have shown that fracture risk decreases with Vitamin K supplementation even when bone density does not improve. Bone density doesn’t tell you anything about the health of the bone collagen. Silicon is very important for production and strengthening of collagen – for bones, hair, skin and nails.

So, more milk doesn’t help because you only need a certain amount of calcium and too much could actually be harmful. Nothing has really changed except the headlines are now emphasizing too much compared to the older headlines emphasizing too little.

What’s needed is the right amount of calcium combined with the right amount of other nutrients that are important for bone health.

It’s still helpful to get two servings of dairy per day, but lactose intolerance increases with age so many adults start avoiding milk. Yogurt and cheeses have a lot less lactose than milk and high quality yogurts also have enzymes that help digest the milk proteins after it’s in your body. Even frozen yogurt has some enzymes that can help digest the milk proteins. Also, recent studies show that organic milk has more Omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk.

Dairy products are still good for you in moderation but too much of a good thing is almost always not a good thing and that’s what scientists seem to discover over and over again.

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