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October 12, 2007 at 6:23 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Nutrients In Milk May Lower Diabetes Risk

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Diabetes type 2 and pre-diabetes (insulin resistance) affects an astounding 75 million Americans, and death rates due to diabetes have climbed by 45% over the last 20 years. These alarming figures have pressured scientists to find new ways to treat and prevent this major health problem, and the latest development against diabetes is probably already in your refrigerator-milk. You know that milk does a body good-and now it does the body even better. Nutrients in milk like calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium are building an excellent defense against diabetes; recent findings suggest that drinking more milk could decrease your risk of diabetes type 2 by nearly 15 percent.

Calcium and Vitamin D

The research found that people with chronic vitamin D deficiencies had up to a 46% greater risk of developing diabetes. However, vitamin D alone did not improve their odds; rather, a combination of vitamin D and calcium seemed to have the highest potential of decreasing the risk, especially in those who are already at high risk. Though more research is needed, scientists speculate that calcium and vitamin D may have a positive effect on the way the body produces and uses insulin. As those with diabetes know well, insulin is the hormone that processes blood sugar and is quite impaired in diabetes patients.


Milk is also the primary source of magnesium in our diet, and magnesium has also been found to possibly reduce the risk of diabetes type 2. The research concluded that for every 100mg increase of magnesium up to the recommended daily diet intake, the risk for developing type 2 diabetes is reduced by 15 percent.

Low-Fat Milk

Studies on low-fat milk have also shown the same correlation. There may be a potential role of other nutrients in the milk, like caseins and whey proteins, that reduce the risk of diabetes in middle-age and older women. The risk for hypertension may also be lowered. More research is needed, but scientists in this study suspect that the fats in whole milk may outweigh the beneficial effects of the milk proteins. Low-fat milk may also be a worthy solution because of the prominent role obesity plays in diabetes risk.

Breast Feeding

Somewhat related are the benefits of breastfeeding to both mother and child. For each year that a mother breast feeds, her risk of developing type 2 diabetes is decreased by 15%. Research has shown that breastfeeding changes the mother's metabolic requirements and improves insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. In addition, breastfeeding burns 500 calories daily, which can have a very positive impact on obesity.

Recommended Intake

To successfully decrease your risk of diabetes, 3-5 servings a day are recommended. (1) (2) (3)

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