Tuesday 22 August 2017

Low-fat dairy products increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease

The Nurses’ Health Study continues to be a rich source of results from studies. From an analysis of data from 120,000 people, it was found that the consumption of low-fat dairy products is related to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. So, is full-fat milk good for you?


A large-scale study recently published in the professional journal Neurology has revealed that low-fat dairy products increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease. The researchers themselves say that this study is the largest into this subject to date.


For the study, data was used collated over a period of 25 years from approximately 80,000 women (Nurses’ Health Study) and 50,000 men (Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study). Every two years, the participants completed questionnaires about their health and every five years about their diet.


Low-fat milk: 39 percent greater risk

The consumption of various types of dairy products was examined, including milk, cream, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, butter and margarine. The researchers then examined whether there was a link between full-fat milk and the risk of Parkinson’s disease. This was not found to be the case. It was found that anyone who consumed at least three portions of low-fat dairy products each week had a 34 percent greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than anyone who consumed less than one portion a day.


The researchers also found that more than one portion of low-fat milk a day resulted in a 39% greater risk of Parkinson’s disease in comparison to consuming one portion a week. Frozen yoghurt was also associated with a greater risk.


So, is full-fat milk good for you?

The researchers also performed a meta-analysis of various studies that had been conducted in the past into the effect of dairy products on Parkinson’s disease. This revealed that the total consumption of dairy products is also related to an increased risk, including the consumption of full-fat milk.


“From these studies, we can conclude that regular consumption of dairy products reveals a moderate link with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease in both men and women”, say the researchers. It has not yet been clarified why milk increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease.



Hughes KC, Gao X, Kim IY, Wang M, Weisskopf MG, Schwarzschild MA, Ascherio A., Intake of dairy foods and risk of Parkinson disease, Neurology. 2017 Jun 8.