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Milk Can Slow Down the Progression of Arthritis

Update Date: Apr 10, 2014 09:33 AM EDT

People suffering from arthritis have to deal with chronic pain in their joints. Even though painkillers are effective, not every one likes to take medications everyday. According to a new study, there might be an easy way to help relieve some of the symptoms of arthritis. The researchers of this large study found that drinking milk can slow down the progression of knee osteoarthritis.

"Our findings indicate that women who frequently drink milk may reduce the progression of osteoarthritis. Further study of milk intake and delay in osteoarthritis progression are needed," lead investigator of the study, Dr. Bing Lu from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston said according to WebMD.

For this study, the team examined the medical data on 2,148 men and women suffering from knee osteoarthritis. The data included health, diet and behavioral details. The participants had annul knee X-rays for four straight years. The X-rays measured the space between the bones in the knee joint, which helps doctors determine the speed of the progression of osteoarthritis.

The researchers found that people who drank milk had slower progression of the disease. For men, the beneficial effects only showed up in those who drank seven or more glasses per week. For women, the effects of milk were seen in those who drank milk in general. Within the study, more than 90 percent of the people had consumed fat-free or low-fat milk. The researchers did not find any positive effects in other diary consumption, such as cheese or yogurt. Cheese, in particular, however, appeared to speed up the progression of knee osteoarthritis. The researchers acknowledged the fact that the study is purely observational and that no cause and effect relationship was found.

The study, "Milk consumption and progression of medial tibiofemoral knee osteoarthritis: Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative," was funded by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and was published in Arthritis Care & Research.

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