fracture site

Can Too Much Milk Increase Fracture Risk?

Drinking a large amount in milk is associated with a heightened rate of fracture and mortality, despite previous data suggesting the opposite, according to a new study.

“Because of the high content of lactose in milk, we hypothesized that high consumption of milk may increase oxidative stress, which in turn affects the risk of mortality and fracture,” said the study’s authors.

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“We therefore assessed the relation between high milk intake with risk of death and fractures in women and men,” they said.

For the study, researchers evaluated the food questionnaires which included 96 common foods (eg, milk, cheese, and yogurt) for a group of 61,433 women (ages 39 to 74 years) and 45,3339 men (ages 45 to 79 years).

Investigators collected the height and weight of participants, lifestyle information, educational level, and marital status, and used national resisters to monitor fracture and death rates.

The study showed that women who drank over 3 glasses of milk (mean 680 ml) daily had an increased risk of mortality compared to those who drank less than 1 glass a day (mean 60 ml). Further, there was no decrease in fracture risk for women consuming greater amounts of milk.

According to researchers, the men were followed for a mean of 11 years. During that time, researchers found that men had a higher risk of mortality with increased milk intake (though, it was less than women) with 10,112 participant deaths, 5,066 fractures (1,166 cases were hip fractures)

The analysis further showed a link between milk consumption and biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress. However, reduced death rates and fracture (particularly in women) were associated with high consumption of fermented, low lactose milk products such as yogurt and cheese.

Investigators noted that the randomized trial evidence is lacking a clear pattern of risk between dairy and milk consumption and mortality and fractures, thus further causality needs to be tested.

The complete study is published in the October issue of the British Medical Journal.

-Michelle Canales


Michaelsson K, Wolk A, Langenskiold S, et al. Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. BMJ. 2014 October [epub ahead of print] doi: