“Got Milk?” If so, now might be the time to ditch it.
According to researchers from Shiga University of Medical Science in Japan, contaminants found in cow’s milk may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
As TIME Magazine reports, lead researcher Robert Abbott and his team of colleagues took advantage of an environmental scandal in Hawaii in the 1980s to investigate the connection between milk consumption and Parkinson’s.
Around the same time, there was also a study of heart disease among Japanese-American men being conducted. Over 8,000 men were involved, and they were followed from mid-life to death in the study.
The participants provided detailed information about what they ate, including how much milk they drank. Some even agreed to donate their brains for research upon death.
Abbott and his team studied 449 of the brains and recorded the density of neurons in specific areas of the brain known to be affected by Parkinson’s. What they found is that men who reported drinking more than two glasses of milk a day (16 oz) showed signs of compromised nerve function, while the brains of men who drank little or no milk did not.
The researchers believe contamination by pesticides and insecticides in milk is to blame.
While the team did not have access to the milk the men drank and, therefore, cannot confirm the contaminated milk was the source of the pesticides they found, it’s a reasonable explanation.
“We don’t have all the data yet, but we are close to finding the smoking gun here. It’s not complete, but it’s very suspicious.”
According to the researchers, this doesn’t mean dairy milk should be condemned. What the findings mean is that diet and lifestyle risk factors should be considered more deeply.
“This adds to the literature that diet may indeed play a role in Parkinson’s,” says Abbott. “But it also tells us that there is more to food than just its nutritional value. There’s contamination, and what’s on that food.”
This isn’t the first study concluding dairy products to be detrimental to human health. Last year, The Telegraph reported on a link between milk consumption and lower life expectancy. Those who consumed three glasses of milk or more each day were twice as likely to die early than those who drank no milk.
2015 by Amanda Froelich