Three glasses of milk every day ‘helps prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s’
Scientists have discovered that milk helps stave off damage to brain cells that could cause degenerative diseases in later life
Drinking three glasses of milk prevents Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, new research suggests.
Those who guzzled the white stuff were more likely to have healthy brains because of an natural antioxidant which protects the brain from damage. Researchers found a correlation between milk consumption and higher levels of a naturally-occurring antioxidant called glutathione in healthy older people.
The antioxidant is believed to help stave off oxidation stress and the resulting damage caused by reactive chemical compounds produced during the normal metabolic process in the brain.
Oxidative stress is known to be associated with diseases and conditions including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and many other conditions.
Professor of dietetics and nutrition Debra Sullivan of the University of Kansas Medical Centre said: “We have long thought of milk as being very important for your bones and very important for your muscles.
“This study suggests that it could be important for your brain as well.”
The study involved asking 60 volunteers about their dietary habits before scanning their brains to study levels of glutathione. Those who had drunk milk more recently were found to have higher levels of the antioxidant.
The discovery is relevant because of the protective properties of the glutathione which prevents damage to the brain.
Ms Sullivan said: “You can basically think of this damage like the buildup of rust on your car.
“If left alone for a long time, the buildup increases and it can cause damaging effects.”
The closer people came to the recommended three portions of dairy a day, the higher the levels of glutathione.
Professor In-Young Choi, co-producer of the study, said: “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.
“Antioxidants are a built-in defense system for our body to fight against this damage, and the levels of antioxidants in our brain can be regulated by various factors such as diseases and lifestyle choices.”
A randomized, controlled trial that seeks to determine the precise effect of milk consumption on the brain is still needed and is a logical next step to this study, the researchers said.