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Lactose Intolerance Offers Cancer Protection

Update Date: Nov 07, 2014 04:14 PM EST

Lactose Intolerance offers some protection against breast, lung and ovarian cancer, a new study claims.

According to researchers from Lund University in Sweden, people who cannot digest lactose, a sugar in milk and diary products, have a reduced risk of specific cancers when compared to the general population. These conclusions were made after risk examination of 22,788 individuals with lactose intolerance in Sweden, The Times of India reported. The individuals were selected from patient registers.

"The risks of lung cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer were significantly lower in people with lactose intolerance compared to people without lactose intolerance, irrespective of country of birth and gender," university's associate professor Jianguang Ji said in a press release

The study however pointed out that siblings and relatives of lactose intolerant people had risks similar to general population, which led researchers to conclude that the decreased risk was purely diet related and cannot be tied to other factors.

Studies in the past have tried to establish link between high consumption of diary products in North America, Nordic countries and West Europe, and high incidence of cancer. This study took a novel approach by examining cancer risks in people consuming small amounts of milk.

Though the present study arrived at conclusions when those in the past mostly remained inconclusive, researchers cautioned against generalizing their findings.

"We must interpret these results with caution because the association we found is insufficient to conclude a causative effect. Further studies are needed to identify factors that explain the study's results," Ji said, while adding that study does not say associate milk consumption to high cancer risk.

The findings of the study have been published in British Journal of Cancer. 

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