A new look at lactose-intolerant people reveals that there may be some link between milk and cancer risks. Researchers from Lund University and Region Skåne in Sweden examined a possible link between milk and cancer using a new approach. Jianguang Ji, an associate professor at Lund University and a researcher at the Center for Primary Care Research in Malmö, said that for the study they considered that lactose-intolerant people would be less likely to drink milk, regardless of any genetic or ethnic differences, simply because they are lactose-intolerant. The study was published in the journal Nature.
According to Medical News Today, the researchers examined whether low milk and dairy consumption by lactose-intolerant people protects them from lung, breast, and ovarian cancers. With the data in, it seems that it does. The researchers noted that the results don’t actually prove cause and effect. They can’t say whether milk causes breast, lung, and ovarian cancers, but they did find that lactose-intolerant people had significantly lower rates of these three cancers.
“We must interpret these results with caution because the association we found is insufficient to conclude a causative effect,” Jianguang Ji cautioned. “Further studies are needed to identify factors that explain the study’s results.”
However Medical News Today stated that the findings were at least hinting at the idea that milk might cause these three cancers.
“In other words, the team found that lactose-intolerant people – who consume low amounts of milk and dairy products – have a reduced risk of lung, breast and ovarian cancers,” the article from MNT explained. “Because the cancer risk was not reduced in relatives of people with lactose intolerance, the results suggest that this protection against cancer is related to diet.”
The data set from the study was enormous. The researchers identified over 22 thousand people from Swedish registries who were lactose-intolerant.
“The risks of lung cancer (standardised incidence ratio [SIR] = 0.55),breast cancer (SIR = 0.79) and ovarian cancer (SIR = 0.55) were significantly lower in people with lactose intolerance compared to people without lactose intolerance, irrespective of country of birth and gender,” Jianguang Ji explained. “By contrast, the risks in their siblings and parents were the same as in the general population. This suggests that the lower cancer risk in people with lactose intolerance may be due to their diet.”
Even still, a previous study, also from Lund University, found that drinking milk might protect against colon cancer. The researchers involved with that study pinpointed a milk protein that reduces the growth rate of cancer cells within the colon and helps repair DNA.
Just over a weeks ago, Inquisitr reported that women who drank three or more glasses of milk each day actually had heightened risks for bone fractures. Both men and women who drank three or more glasses of milk a day also had a greater risk of death.
We already know that milk does not do the body of a lactose-intolerant person good, but only more research will tell us if milk actually does more harm than good, in general.