Drinking milk can keep your brain healthy by warding off oxidative stress known to be associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, according to a new study.
The study conducted at the University of Kansas Medical Center found a correlation between milk consumption and the levels of a naturally-occurring antioxidant called glutathione in the brain in older, healthy adults.
“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,” said Debra Sullivan, professor and chair of dietetics and nutrition.
Sullivan and In-Young Choi, an associate professor of neurology, asked the 60 participants in the study about their diets in the days leading up to brain scans, which they used to monitor levels of glutathione - a powerful antioxidant - in the brain.
The researchers found that participants who had indicated they had drunk milk recently had higher levels of glutathione in their brains.
This is important, the researchers said, because glutathione could help stave off oxidative 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 a number of different diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and many other conditions, said Choi.
A randomised, 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.
The research was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.