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Osteoarthritis Health Center

Drinking Milk May Slow Knee Arthritis in Women

Same effect was not seen in men, and high cheese intake was tied to poorer knee health
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Marlo Mittler is a nutritionist at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, in New Hyde Park, N.Y. She said that "milk has long been known to play an important role in bone health. It contains the nutrients, such as phosphorus, calcium, protein and fortified with vitamin D, that are essential for daily life."

According to Mittler, "the actual component of milk that allows it to play a preventive role in osteoarthritis progression still needs to be explored. It is also important to note that it is not whole milk but the low-fat and fat-free milk that shows to be effective in the delay."

She said that estrogen's role in bone health may help explain why milk intake seems to help ward off arthritis in the knees of women but not men. Calcium may also affect bone health in women in a different way than it does for men, she added.

According to Mittler, the high fat content of cheese may explain why that food actually sped knee arthritis progression.

Santori added that drinking milk is not the only route to healthier knees.

"There are steps you can take to reduce symptoms," she said. "Most importantly, maintain a healthy weight not only to reduce pressure on the joints but also to reduce the inflammatory action of fat tissue. Consuming vitamin C for cartilage production as well as omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other anti-inflammatory agents may also be beneficial."

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