Does Drinking Milk Really Improve Bone Strength?

Does Drinking Milk Really Improve Bone Strength?

Most people hear from a very young age to drink plenty of milk for strong teeth and bones. But does science back up these claims?

Dr. Edward R. Dupay, Jr., has spent over 30 years practicing orthopedic medicine. His passion and commitment to the field and his patients keep him up-to-date with the latest advances in osteopathic medicine. That’s why you can depend on the latest comprehensive and up-to-date orthopedic care available at his Fort Myers practice, Orthopedic Associates of Southwest Florida.

If you want to keep your bones strong and reduce your risk of osteoporosis and fractures, Dr. Dupay says there’s more to it than milk alone. 

The truth about milk

Milk itself doesn’t make for strong bones. Instead, it’s the calcium it contains.

Calcium is a critical mineral that your body needs to function, including building and maintaining strong bones. It’s also the most abundant mineral in your body and gets stored in your teeth and bones. In fact, calcium gives them their hardness and structure.

Milk and other dairy products are considered calcium-rich foods, but they aren’t the only sources of this mineral. Other great sources of calcium include:

You can also find calcium in many fortified beverages, including plant-based milks. However, you need more than calcium to have — and maintain — strong bones. 

The key to strong bones

Calcium is one piece of the puzzle in the quest for strong, healthy bones. You also need vitamin D. This essential vitamin helps your body absorb calcium. It also keeps proper levels of calcium and phosphate in your system, which ensures normal bone mineralization. 

More simply put, without enough vitamin D, you can’t form new bone tissue, and your existing bones weaken, becoming thin and brittle. 

As a result, Dr. Dupay could recommend having a blood test to see if your vitamin D levels are putting you at risk of osteoporosis.

So… should I drink milk for strong bones?

A cup of milk packs 300 milligrams of calcium, which makes it a good source. Along those same lines, some studies show that consuming milk and dairy can also help reduce your chances of certain chronic diseases, including:

However, other research also shows that too much dairy could increase your chances of fracture and early mortality. To further complicate matters, the amount of calcium you need varies depending on your age and whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

At the end of the day, Dr. Dupay says you can still enjoy a cold glass of milk. However, you should consume dairy products in moderation, and you shouldn’t think of it as the only way to strengthen your bones. Instead, eat a variety of calcium-rich foods and don’t forget to get enough vitamin D. 

Your best bet to ensure you get the nutrition you need is to schedule a consultation with your doctor, who can help offer personalized guidance based on your age, health, and diet. They can also perform additional tests to check your bone density and look for nutritional deficiencies. 

Ready to learn more about protecting your bones and preventing fractures? Contact Orthopedic Associates of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers to schedule a consultation with Dr. Dupay by calling 239-768-2272 today. 

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