Smoking, Milk and Strong Bones: Could Milk Go the Way of Cigarettes?
By guest blogger Irma Jennings
“Sit back and light up a cigarette – it does a body good.”
As shocking as that sounds today, there was a time when it was widely accepted.
My early memories are filled with smokers. In the 50’s my parents would light a cigarette whenever they wanted to relax: during and after family meals, cocktail hour, canasta gatherings, or in solitude as a reflective tool.
My childhood career was “find mommy’s cigarettes.”
It took decades, unfortunately lifetimes, to bust the myth that cigarettes were harmless, even beneficial. Smoking has been clearly linked to lung cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
There is even evidence that smoking may be linked to osteoporosis and slower bone growth. Nonsmokers form one centimeter of new bone in 69.6 days on average, compared with 89.4 days for smokers. (1)
Is milk the next tobacco? Dairy’s lobbyists and advertisers have us believing that drinking milk is good for our bones.
Milk equals fractures
The truth is that milk weakens our bones. The largest milk drinking nations suffer the most osteoporosis according to Amy J. Landou PhD. co-author of ‘Building Bones Vitality – A Revolutionary Diet Plan to Prevent Bone Loss and Reverse Osteoporosis.”.
Referencing four studies conducted by four different groups of investigators over 21 years on two continents, Landou concludes that “countries that consume the most milk, dairy and calcium suffer the most hip fractures.”
In fact, women who drink 2 glasses of milk per day have an almost 50% increased risk of breaking a hip as those who drink 1 glass or less a day.
Vitamin A reduces bone growth
One reason is that milk is high in vitamin A in the form of retinol. In two vitamin A bone studies, high levels of retinol were associated with doubling the risk of fractures. Researchers believe that even moderate levels of retinol reduce bone growth and interfere with vitamin D’s ability to help the body use calcium. That’s not true for the beta carotene form of vitamin A we get from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Acidic foods leach bone calcium
Another reason may be milk’s acidic nature. Your body’s ideal pH level is 7.35 to 7.45 but milk’s level is 6.5 to 6.7. Milk shifts your blood pH levels to an acid state. Your body’s natural response is to find an alkaline substance to re-balance itself. By robbing your bones of calcium (which is alkaline), the blood achieves balance, but the bones suffer.
Not convinced yet?
Let’s turn to nature and the big boned animals: elephants, giraffes, gorillas, cows, horses. What do they eat? Leaves, grass, vegetables.
They don’t drink milk.
After weaning from our mother’s breast we, like the large boned animals, don’t need milk to build strong bones.
Calcium is not enough
We’ve been led to believe that calcium is the whole story when it comes to strong bones but bones, according to Susan Brown, Phd, also need between 18-20 additional vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, zinc and boron to maintain strength and flexibility (2).
Here’s a great dairy-free breakfast recipe that provides many of the vital minerals and will have your bones smiling; calcium (a), magnesium (b), manganese(c), zinc (d)and boron (e)
Bone Healthy Oatmeal
Makes 4 servings
1 cup Organic Steel cut oats (soaked overnight fully immersed) (a), (b), (d)
1 ½ cups water
¼ tsp cinnamon
dash of sea salt
¼ cup of raisins (c), (e)
1 TB black sesame seeds (a), (b), (d)
¼ cup Almond milk (a), (b)
1 cup fresh or frozen organic blueberries (c)
¼ cup walnuts (b), (c)
Rinse oats. Bring fresh water, soaked oats, cinnamon, salt and raisins to a boil.
Reduce flame to low and cover.
Cook for about 20 minutes.
Top with almond milk, walnuts, fresh berries and seeds.
Irma Jennings, CHC, Holistic Bone Coach, was diagnosed with osteopenia in 2005. This diagnosis catapulted her into a journey of deep transformation into the marrow of her bones through food, which led her to her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. To learn more and to access Irma’s bone webinars, visit: www.foodforhealthybones.com
(1) Joseph Martino, MD and Angelo Galante, M.D. http://www.hughston.com/hha/a.smoke.htm
(2) Better Bones, Better Body by Susan E. Brown, PhD
Share Your Comments: