In this brief article, we will answer the question, “does milk make you strong?”. We will also tell you about the effects of milk on the body and will let you in on some interesting facts about milk consumption and overall health.
Does Milk Make You Stronger?
Yes, milk does make you strong in the sense that it provides an array of nutrients for the body to grow and function optimally.
Moreover, milk and milk products also promote muscle repair, enhance overall strength, and reduce muscle soreness. These merits are of particular importance to athletes.
How Can Milk Make You Stronger?
Milk makes you stronger because diets including milk and its products have a higher nutritional value. Here are a few examples of how drinking milk every day can enhance your overall strength and make you stronger. Being the first food for mammals and provides all the necessary energy and nutrients to ensure proper growth and development, being crucial in respect to bone mass formation (2).
Strengthens Bones and Muscles
Milk and milk products help develop and maintain bone and muscle mass. This is particularly important in the early years of development and adolescence, during which bone mass is built. A diet rich in milk products is promoted to reduce the likelihood of osteoporotic fractures. Milk contains 18 of 22 essential nutrients, including of especial importance for the skeleton (3).
Diets including three cups or the equivalent of milk products every day have been shown to improve bone mass. Milk consumption has been previously associated with a higher bone density, which is protective. This is due not only to calcium, but also with other nutrients that are thought to influence production and maintenance of bone matrix such as high biological value protein, vitamins C, D, and K, as well as minerals like copper, manganese, and zinc (2).
Moreover, drinking milk after resistance exercise enhances gains in lean muscle mass, promotes losses in body fat, and improves overall body composition. It is also an excellent post-exercise rehydration and replenishing aid.
Also, consuming milk after exercise promotes gains in muscle protein which is essential for repairing exercise-induced damage.
Contains Essential Minerals and Vitamins
Milk and milk products are primary sources of the mineral calcium, which is widely known to play a vital role in building strong bones and teeth. Milk and yogurt are also rich sources of potassium which helps maintain blood pressure. A study demonstrated that dairy nutrients, most notably calcium, potassium and magnesium, have been shown to have a blood pressure lowering effect. Calcium intake increases intracellular calcium concentrations, causing calcium influx into vascular smooth muscle cells, resulting in greater vascular resistance (1).
Milk and milk products fortified with vitamin D help maintain adequate levels of phosphorus and calcium in the body, which as mentioned, are involved in building and maintaining bones.
Milk also contains vitamin A, which is important for optimal eye health and immune system functioning.
Promotes Heart Health
The two main proteins present in milk are whey and casein which have been shown to help reduce blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure, the two main risk factors for heart diseases. There is a protective influence of milk consumption in cardiovascular diseases. Despite the saturated fat content, there is no strong evidence demonstrating hazards from whole milk consumption due to specific and diverse metabolic effects of saturated fatty acids found in milk (2).
Moreover, low-fat or fat-free milk and products contain no or little fat, which limits the amounts of saturated fats or ‘bad’ cholesterol that you consume. This significantly reduces the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular complications.
Will Consuming More Milk Make You More Strong?
Increasing the amount of milk in your diet won’t necessarily enhance bone and overall strength. As long as you eat a balanced diet and obtain calcium and vitamin D from other sources as well, less is fine. However, the proteins found in milk are of unique high-quality and biological value, and several bioactive peptides resulting from their enzymatic hydrolysis have shown multiple biological roles that could exert a protective action in human health. These main biological actions include antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant, antihypertensive, antimicrobial, antithrombotic, opioid, and immunomodulatory roles, in addition to improving absorption of other nutrients (2).
How Much Milk Should You Consume Every Day?
Limiting the amount of milk and dairy foods to one to two servings a day is sufficient to reap their benefits.
According to the US Dietary Guidelines, three servings of dairy per day is enough to maintain bone health, and reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Studies regarding the effect of milk to blood pressure management recommend 3 to 5 servings per day, associated with a low-fat diet (1).
Are There Any Side-Effects of Drinking Too Much Milk?
Yes; milk is a healthy beverage, but must be consumed in moderation to prevent it from causing more harm than good.
According to a Swedish study, consuming too much daily – three or more glasses per day – was associated with increased mortality and risk of fractures. For women, having more than three glasses of milk per day nearly doubled the risk of death (3). However, more recent studies concluded that higher long-term milk consumption in older adults was associated with a lower risk of hip fracture. Many factors can be associated with these controversial results, such as diversity in the body mass index of patients (4).
Some other signs and symptoms of drinking too much milk include:
- Gastric Problems: drinking too much milk results in a ‘leaky’ gut, which causes lethargy and fatigue. This is because of the protein casein in milk, which produces inflammatory effects on the intestinal lining, which in turn increases the permeability of the gut lining (6).
Milk can also cause bloating, especially among lactose intolerant individuals; too much dairy also results in abdominal cramping and diarrhea.
- Skin Problems: surprisingly, increased intake of full-fat dairy products such as whole milk can cause moderate to severe acne (5).
Excessive milk consumption can increase prostate and ovarian cancers due to calcium and lactose intake, respectively. Whole-milk consumption also can increase risk for breast and prostate cancers due to the influence of fat in androgens and estrogens, as well as to the increased energy availability, which would facilitate carcinogenesis process (2).
In this brief article, we answered the question, “does milk make you strong?”. We also told you about the effects of milk on the body as well as some interesting facts about milk consumption and overall health.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.
- Kris-Etherton PM,et al. Milk products, dietary patterns and blood pressure management. J Am Coll Nutr. 2009, 1:103S-19S.
- Pereira, Paula C. Milk nutritional composition and its role in human health. Nutrition, 2014, 30, 619-627.
- Michaëlsson, Karl, et al. Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. Bmj, 2014, 349.
- Feskanich, Diane, et al. Milk and other dairy foods and risk of hip fracture in men and women. Osteopor Int, 2018, 29, 385-396.
- Bowe, Whitney P., Smita S. Joshi, and Alan R. Shalita. Diet and acne. J Am Acad Dermatol, 2010, 63, 124-141.
- Brooke-Taylor, Simon, et al. Systematic review of the gastrointestinal effects of A1 compared with A2 β-casein. Adv nutr, 2017, 8, 739-748.