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Milk Consumption Protects Aging Brains

Update Date: Mar 25, 2015 06:08 PM EDT
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Drinking milk is good for the brain, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center have linked milk consumption to higher levels of an antioxidant called glutathione in the brain in older, healthy adults.

Researchers said the latest study, which involved 60 participants, suggests a new way that milk boosts health.

"We have long thought of milk as being very important for your bones and very important for your muscles," researcher Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., professor and chair of dietetics and nutrition at KU Medical Center, said in a news release. "This study suggests that it could be important for your brain as well."

Brain scans revealed that participants who reported recent milk consumption had higher levels of glutathione in their brains.

The findings suggest that milk consumption could help stall brain aging as glutathione has been linked to lower levels of oxidative stress and damage caused by reactive chemical compounds. Previous studies have linked oxidative stress to neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

"You can basically think of this damage like the buildup of rust on your car," Sullivan said. "If left alone for a long time, the buildup increases and it can cause damaging effects."

"If we can find a way to fight this by instituting lifestyle changes including diet and exercise, it could have major implications for brain health," Choi explained.

The findings are published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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