Low-Fat Dairy Linked to Increased Parkinson’s Risk
Consumption of low-fat dairy products, such as skim and low-fat milk and frozen yogurt, is associated with an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease (PD), new research suggests.
Compared with people who consumed less than 1 serving of low-fat dairy per day, those who ate at least 3 servings of low-fat dairy per day were about 30% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, the researchers report in a paper published online June 8 in Neurology.
“It’s a fairly modest effect. It’s not like doubling the risk — it’s a 30% increase in risk. Also, it is never clear with epidemiology why some people are drinking more low-fat products. Is there a weight problem?”
Dr Shannon, who is a spokesperson for the American Academy of Neurology, also noted that the mechanistic link between dairy and PD is not clear.
“Some people have suggested it might have to do with uric acid levels, but even the relationship of uric acid levels and Parkinson risk is not entirely worked out yet,” she said.
The power of the study lies in the size of its population and the fact that data on dairy intake were collected prospectively, Dr Shannon said.
“Still, I don’t think the results should be taken to change the way people approach their diet,” she said.
The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Defense. Dr Hughes, Dr Beck, and Dr Shannon have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Neurology. Published online June 8, 2017. Abstract