Milk and Bone Health

This is one of the most common topics being talked about among nutrition experts.  There are many different discussions that we could have about milk, but for this post, I am sticking to the relationship between pasteurized milk and the health of our bones.

The American people have been told for so long that milk is the best source of calcium, and that you have to have lots of calcium to maintain strong bones.  I have actually come in contact with quite a few people who truly believe that milk is the ONLY source of calcium, but of course, this is NOT true.  Here is a list of foods that contain calcium.

  • Sesame Seeds
  • Spinach
  • Collards
  • Almonds
  • Okra
  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Molasses
  • Broccoli Rabe
  • Kale
  • Soybeans (non-GMO)
  • Bok Choy

While calcium is an important vitamin for bone health, it is a myth that simply consuming a high about of calcium, especially from pasteurized milk, will guarantee good bones.  Your bones need some 20+ essential nutrients to grow strong and maintain their health.  In fact, some of those nutrients are needed just to absorb the benefits of calcium.  For example, without enough vitamin D, your body only absorbs about 10-15% of the calcium from your diet, but with ample vitamin D, the absorption rate increases to 30-40%.  Other critical nutrients for bone health are magnesium, vitamin k, potassium, and vitamin C.

In fact, recent studies point out that drinking pasteurized milk could actually be causing a loss of bone density.  Here is an excerpt from the article written by Marco Torres, research specialist and writer.

“Another fact most people are unaware of is the myth promoted by the dairy industry that consuming pasteurized dairy products such as milk or cheese increases calcium levels. This is totally false. The pasteurization process only creates calcium carbonate, which has absolutely no way of entering the cells without a chelating agent. So what the body does is pull the calcium from the bones and other tissues in order to buffer the calcium carbonate in the blood. This process actually causes osteoporosis. Milk definitively does not do a body good if it’s pasteurized.”

So, not only does pasteurized milk not provide the nutrient that we need for strong bones, but it also has many negative effects for most people.  Studies show that diary can contribute to health problems such as allergies, sinus problems, ear infections and irritable bowel syndrome.  The other side effect that can’t go without mentioning is weight gain.  Let’s put it this way.  Milk from a momma cow is fed to her calf so that the calf can gain 300 lbs in its first year of life.  I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like something I want.

“The only research that even begins to suggest that the consumption of dairy products might be helpful [in preventing osteoporosis] has been paid for by the National Dairy Council itself.”  - John Robbins, author and founder of Food Revolution

Is it possible that Americans have been duped by the dairy industry?  If milk really is the cure for bone health, shouldn’t the people of the United States, who consume more pasteurized milk than any other country, have the strongest bones and the fewest cases of osteoporosis in the world?  Then why do the fasts state the exact opposite?  It is clear that many different factors affect overall bone health.  Some of the major lifestyle choices that play a role in bone loss are poor nutrition, high levels of stress and anxiety, lack of exercise, high caffeine intake, and the use of certain prescription drugs.

If you are looking for additional information on natural bone health, osteopenia and osteoporosis, try

In love and health,

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