Is milk and menopause a good combination?
After reading this you might want to reconsider those low-fat dairy products you have every morning. New research, published in the Journal of Nutrition, links your otherwise healthy habit to a delay in menopause – and that could be a problem. Later-onset menopause has been linked to a heightened risk for several life-threatening cancers.
Researchers from Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital tracked the health outcomes and menopause histories of more than 46 000 women.
Their findings suggest that women who consumed low-fat dairy products like skim milk on a daily basis reached menopause an average of 3,6 months later than women who did not consume dairy. For every one year increase in age before a woman reaches menopause, her risk for breast cancer jumps 2,5%, says study co-author Karin Michels, PhD, of Harvard Medical School. Later menopause has also been linked to an elevated risk for endometrial cancer.
Dr. Michels says cow’s milk contains a number of metabolites that appear to increase the amount of oestrogen and progesterone circulating in a woman’s body. Higher concentrations of these hormones could account for the delayed onset of menopause, she says. According to the study data, low-fat dairy products contain more of these metabolites, which may explain why women who consume full-fat dairy products like whole milk do not experience delayed menopause.