Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common degenerative joint disease that causes pain and swelling of joints in the hand, hips or knee.
It is becoming more prevalent and severe in women with evidence pointing to obesity, joint injury and repetitive strain from some sports as risk factors.
“Milk consumption plays an important role in bone health,” explains lead author Bing Lu, from Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass.
“Our study is the largest study to investigate the impact of dairy intake in the progression of knee OA.”
A group of 2,148 people with knee OA were studied and the researchers found that as their intake of milk increase from none to three, then four, then more than seven glasses a week, the joint space width in their knees decreased.
The results were only noted in women. No association between milk consumption and joint space width decrease was reported in men.
“Our findings indicate that women who frequently drink milk may reduce the progression of OA,” concludes Dr. Lu.
“Further study of milk intake and delay in OA progression are needed.”
The study is published in Arthritis Care and Research – the journal of the American College of Rheumatology.