Is There a Link Between Milk and Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinsonís is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimerís. Each year in the United States, approximately 60,000 new cases are diagnosed, bringing the total number of current cases up to about a million, with tens of thousands of people dying from the disease every year.

The dietary component most often implicated is milk and contamination of milk by neurotoxins has been considered the ďonly possible explanation.Ē High levels of organochlorine pesticide residues have been found in milk, as well as in the most affected areas in the brains of Parkinsonís victims on autopsy. Pesticides in milk have been found around the world, so perhaps the dairy industry should require toxin screenings of milk. In fact, inexpensive, sensitive, portable tests are now available with no false positives and no false negatives, providing rapid detection of highly toxic pesticides in milk. Now, we just have to convince the dairy industry to actually do it.

Others are not as convinced of the pesticide link. ďDespite clear-cut associations between milk intake and PD [Parkinsonís disease] incidence, there is no rational explanation for milk being a risk factor for PD.Ē If it were the pesticides present in milk that could accumulate in the brain, we would assume that the pesticides would build up in the fat. However, the link between skimmed milk and Parkinsonís is just as strong. So, researchers have suggested reverse causation: The milk didnít cause Parkinsonís; the Parkinsonís caused the milk.

Parkinsonís makes some people depressed, they reasoned, and depressed people may drink more milk. As such, they suggested we shouldnít limit dairy intake for people with Parkinsonís, especially because they are so susceptible to hip fractures. But we now know that milk doesnít appear to protect against hip fractures after all and may actually increase the risk of both bone fractures and death. Ironically, this may offer a clue as to whatís going on in Parkinsonís, but first, letís look at this reverse causation argument: Did milk lead to Parkinsonís, or did Parkinsonís lead to milk?

What we need are prospective cohort studies in which milk consumption is measured first and people are followed over time, and such studies still found a significant increase in risk associated with dairy intake. The risk increased by 17 percent for every small glass of milk a day and 13 percent for every daily half slice of cheese. Again, the standard explanation is that the risk is from all the pesticides and other neurotoxins in dairy, but that doesnít explain why thereís more risk attached to some dairy products than others. Pesticide residues are found in all dairy products, so why should milk be associated with Parkinsonís more than cheese is? Besides the pesticides themselves, there are other neurotoxic contaminants in milk, like tetrahydroisoquinolines, found in the brains of people with Parkinsonís disease, but there are higher levels of these in cheese than in milk, though people may drink more milk than eat cheese.

The relationship between dairy and Huntingtonís disease appears similar. Huntingtonís is a horrible degenerative brain disease that runs in families and whose early onset may be doubled by dairy consumption, but again, this may be more milk consumption than cheese consumption, which brings us back to the clue in the more-milk-more-mortality study.

Anytime we hear disease risks associated with more milk than cheeseómore oxidative stress and inflammationówe should think galactose, the milk sugar rather than the milk fat, protein, or pesticides. Thatís why we think milk drinkers specifically appeared to have a higher risk of bone fractures and death, which may explain the neurodegeneration findings, too. Not only do rare individuals with an inability to detoxify the galactose found in milk suffer damage to their bones, but they also exhibit damage to their brains.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you havenít yet, you can subscribe to my free videos†here†and watch my live, year-in-review presentationsó2015:†Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet, and my latest, 2016:†How Not to Die: The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers.

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72 comments

hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN h4 days ago

tyfs

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Shirly Klassen
Shirly Klassen5 days ago

The love of my life for the last 17 years was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease nearly 4 years ago, at age 52. He had a stooped posture, tremors, muscle stiffness, horrible driving skills, and slow movement. He was placed on Sinemet 50/200 at night for 7 months and then Sifrol and rotigotine were introduced which replaced the Sinemet but he had to stop due to side effects. He started having hallucinations, lost touch with reality. Suspecting it was the medications I took him off the Siferol (with the doctor's knowledge) In March this year his primary physician suggested we started him on Natural Herbal Gardens Parkinson’s Herbal formula which eased his anxiety a bit, i’m happy to report this PD herbal treatment worked very effectively. His Parkinson’s is totally under control, he had a total decline in symptoms, the tremors, shaking, stiffness, slow movement and speech problems stopped. Visit Natural Herbal Gardens official web page ww w. naturalherbalgardens. c om. My family are amazed at the change and rapid improvement. PD is not a death Sentence, DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!!!

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Carole R
Carole R18 days ago

Oh dear ...more worries.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O19 days ago

Do people in dairy states and dairying countries get a disproportionate amount of Parkinsons or not?

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O19 days ago

does the galactose occur in almond or rice drinks?

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O19 days ago

you did not explain galactose and what it does and whether you can get milk without it.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O19 days ago

th

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Shirley Klassen
Shirley Klassen27 days ago

The love of my life for the last 17 years was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease nearly 4 years ago, at age 52. He had a stooped posture, tremors, muscle stiffness, sleeplessness, and slow movement. He was placed on Sinemet 50/200 at night for 7 months and then Sifrol and rotigotine were introduced which replaced the Sinemet but he had to stop due to side effects. He started having hallucinations, lost touch with reality. Suspecting it was the medications I took him off the Siferol (with the doctor's knowledge) In March this year his primary physician suggested we started him on Natural Herbal Gardens Parkinson’s Herbal formula which eased his anxiety a bit, i’m happy to report this PD herbal treatment worked very effectively. His Parkinson’s is totally under control, he had a total decline in symptoms, the tremors, shaking, stiffness, slow movement and speech problems stopped. Visit Natural Herbal Gardens official web page ww w. naturalherbalgardens. c om. My family are amazed at the change and rapid improvement. This herbal treatment is a breakthrough for all PD sufferers. SHARE WITH FRIENDS!!

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Danny T
Past Member 28 days ago

Final breakthrough for all suffering from Parkinson’s disease…My father is 73 and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about 2 years ago. He deals with a lot of anxiety, so much so that he doesn’t want to go out, doesn’t want to be with people. My brother has to beg him to be with family. I feel that natural supplements are so important, but he depends only on the drug levodopa, his meds for the a-fib, and anti depression medicine. Last three months my brother working in India purchased PD herbal remedy from Best Health Herbal Centre. My father only used the PD herbal remedy for 6 weeks without levodopa and all his symptoms was completely reversed. My father is now happily living Parkinson’s diseases free now ….I recommend this Parkinson’s herbal remedy for all Parkinson’s Patients. Visit besthealthherbalcentre. co m for more detail…Thanks…

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Tania N
Tania N28 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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