Milk for Your Bones: Yea or Nay?
Milk might not build stronger bones!
New results published from a 20-year study of US women
The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) involved 1490 women who were between the ages of 42 and 52 in 1996. The study went on for approximately 20 years. Researchers evaluated changes across the menopausal transition, one of which was bone health. Here are the results that were released in 2020…
➔Compared to not taking calcium supplements, women who reported taking calcium supplements at baseline experienced less loss of bone mineral density but no difference in bone fractures over the menopausal transition
➔Consumption of milk and dairy products (ranging from 0 servings to more than 2.5 servings per day) had no effect on bone mineral density or fracture risk
Does this mean that calcium is unnecessary for bone health?
But it does mean that preventing fractures after menopause is more complicated than just drinking more milk. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of nutrients involved in bone remodeling and strength:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
And then there are the influences of protein, exercise, heavy metal exposure, and hormone imbalances. So let’s talk about estrogen a bit.
Estrogen is the major hormone regulator for bone health in both women and men. How does it do that? Osteocytes are the cellular component of bone. Osteoblasts provide new bone growth. Osteoclasts are involved in bone resorption. There is a delicate balance going on between osteoblasts and osteoclasts and that involves calcium. Overseeing that balance is estrogen. With estrogen deficiency, you get increased osteoclast activity and bone is resorbed. The eventual result of that is decreased bone mass, loss of bone and finally osteoporosis.
Maintaining optimum estrogen levels improves osteoblast activity, formation of new bone and maintenance of bone mass. Bone loss and osteoporosis is preventable. I’ve had elderly women on safely administered and monitored estrogen who continued to be athletic, play tennis, ride motorcycles etc. well into their 9th decade of life.
For a preventable problem, osteoporosis is estimated to cause 3 million fractures yearly and generate $25 billion of health care costs by the year 2025. Estrogen can be individually formulated for you by a compounding pharmacist using plant based natural components and closely monitored to keep you safe. All you’ve heard is that estrogen will cause breast cancer. In 30 years of hormone management, I never had an estrogen replacement patient develop breast cancer. They were closely monitored and aged gracefully. And they didn’t get osteoporosis.
Of course, bone health is only one of the myriad of positive effects that estrogen can provide for your health. The positive effects of estrogen almost always outweigh the negatives.
If you are interested in plant based and natural estrogen and can’t find a doctor to work with you, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will connect you with the right doctor for your situation. It’s what I do and I’ve been doing it since 1987.
The bottom line on bones? We need to address them as a whole-health issue. Let me hear from you if you’re doctor won’t approach it from that angle.
Bailey RL, Zou P, Wallace TC et al. Calcium Supplement Use Is Associated With Less Bone Mineral Density Loss, But Does Not Lessen the Risk of Bone Fracture Across the Menopause Transition: Data From the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation.
JBMR Plus. 2020; 4.
Wallace TC, Jun S, Zou P et al. Dairy intake is not associated with improvements in bone mineral density or risk of fractures across the menopause transition: data from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation. Menopause. 2020; 27: 879-886. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32404792/
Price CT, Langford JR, Liporace FA. Essential Nutrients for Bone Health and a Review of their Availability in the Average North American Diet. Open Orthop J. 2012; 6:
Sundeep Khosla, Merry Jo Oursler, David G. Monroe. Estrogen and the Skeleton. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Nov; 23(11): 576–581. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3424385/