Could Lactose Explain the Milk & Parkinson’s Disease Link?

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. This image has been modified.

Why Some Dairy Products Are More Closely Linked to Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. Each year in the United States, approximately 60,000 new cases are diagnosed, bringing the total number of current cases up to about a million, with tens of thousands of people dying from the disease every year. The dietary component most often implicated is milk, as I discuss in my video Could Lactose Explain the Milk and Parkinson’s Disease Link?, and contamination of milk by neurotoxins has been considered the “only possible explanation.” High levels of organochlorine pesticide residues have been found in milk, as well as in the most affected areas in the brains of Parkinson’s victims on autopsy. Pesticides in milk have been found around the world, so perhaps the dairy industry should require toxin screenings of milk. In fact, inexpensive, sensitive, portable tests are now available with no false positives and no false negatives, providing rapid detection of highly toxic pesticides in milk. Now, we just have to convince the dairy industry to actually do it.

Others are not as convinced of the pesticide link. “Despite clear-cut associations between milk intake and PD [Parkinson’s disease] incidence, there is no rational explanation for milk being a risk factor for PD.” If it were the pesticides present in milk that could accumulate in the brain, we would assume that the pesticides would build up in the fat. However, the link between skimmed milk and Parkinson’s is just as strong. So, researchers have suggested reverse causation: The milk didn’t cause Parkinson’s; the Parkinson’s caused the milk. Parkinson’s makes some people depressed, they reasoned, and depressed people may drink more milk. As such, they suggested we shouldn’t limit dairy intake for people with Parkinson’s, especially because they are so susceptible to hip fractures. But we now know that milk doesn’t appear to protect against hip fractures after all and may actually increase the risk of both bone fractures and death. (For more on this, see my video Is Milk Good for Our Bones?.) Ironically, this may offer a clue as to what’s going on in Parkinson’s, but first, let’s look at this reverse causation argument: Did milk lead to Parkinson’s, or did Parkinson’s lead to milk?

What are needed are prospective cohort studies in which milk consumption is measured first and people are followed over time, and such studies still found a significant increase in risk associated with dairy intake. The risk increased by 17 percent for every small glass of milk a day and 13 percent for every daily half slice of cheese. Again, the standard explanation is that the risk is from all the pesticides and other neurotoxins in dairy, but that doesn’t explain why there’s more risk attached to some dairy products than others. Pesticide residues are found in all dairy products, so why should milk be associated with Parkinson’s more than cheese is? Besides the pesticides themselves, there are other neurotoxic contaminants in milk, like tetrahydroisoquinolines, found in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease, but there are higher levels of these in cheese than in milk, though people may drink more milk than eat cheese.

The relationship between dairy and Huntington’s disease appears similar. Huntington’s is a horrible degenerative brain disease that runs in families and whose early onset may be doubled by dairy consumption, but again, this may be more milk consumption than cheese consumption, which brings us back to the clue in the more-milk-more-mortality study.

Anytime we hear disease risks associated with more milk than cheese—more oxidative stress and inflammation—we should think galactose, the milk sugar rather than the milk fat, protein, or pesticides. That’s why we think milk drinkers specifically appeared to have a higher risk of bone fractures and death, which may explain the neurodegeneration findings, too. Not only do rare individuals with an inability to detoxify the galactose found in milk suffer damage to their bones, but they also exhibit damage to their brains.


Other than avoiding dairy products, what can we do to reduce our risk of Parkinson’s? See Is Something in Tobacco Protective Against Parkinson’s Disease? and Peppers and Parkinson’s: The Benefits of Smoking Without the Risks?.

You may also be interested in my videos Treating Parkinson’s Disease with Diet and Parkinson’s Disease and the Uric Acid Sweet Spot.

For the effect of foods on another neurodegenerative disease that affects our ability to move normally, see ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease): Fishing for Answers and Diet and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


68 responses to “Why Some Dairy Products Are More Closely Linked to Parkinson’s Disease

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  1. Chronic disease is seldom the effect of only one cause, but rather the combination of various causes.

    None of those causes are found in a diet of whole plants.

  2. My grandmother had Parkinson’s well before there were pesticides in milk. They ate plenty of local farm fresh dairy products though, if that was related to the cause of her Parkinson’s I’d be interested to know.

    1. Read about mycobacterium paratuberculosis in sheep and cattle. This bug causes crohns disease in humans. Crohns and Parkinson’s is genetically linked. Some people are saying schizophrenia is auto immune. Is Parkinson’s too? Most probably

  3. Dr. Greger, with regard to milk, it would be very interesting if you scrutinized the Casein A1 Versus Casein A2 differences.

  4. What about the positive dairy studies?

    Dairy for Lowering Blood Pressure: A randomized clinical trial from the Netherlands suggests that consuming quantities of dairy products can actually help overweight middle-aged adults lower their blood pressure. In this crossover study, 52 volunteers consumed a low dairy diet, with less than one serving per day, or a contrasting diet with 5 to 6 servings of dairy products daily. Each diet trial period lasted six weeks, and there was a four-week washout period between them. The scientists measured their volunteers’ blood pressure at the beginning and end of each experimental diet period. While people were consuming multiple dairy products daily, their blood pressure dropped by about 5 points systolic. In addition, they saw a reduction of 3 points in diastolic pressure.
    https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqz116/5522768?searchresult=1
    Does drinking cow’s milk help children grow taller? Yep – https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/milk-children-height-1.4149832
    Consuming milk at breakfast lowers blood glucose throughout the day – https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180820085243.htm

    Higher intake of total dairy (including full fat) was associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death from all causes – https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31812-9/fulltext?_ke=eyJrbF9lbWFpbCI6ICJncmF5Z0BibGFja2hhd2ttZ210LmNvbSIsICJrbF9jb21wYW55X2lkIjogIm15NzV5NiJ9

    Cheese and Yogurt May Help to Prevent Hip Fractures — a review of the scientific literature found 18 articles following 363,557 participants for 3 to 23 years showing that yogurt and cheese are associated with decreased risk for hip fractures (BMC Public Health, February 02, 2018). People who ate a lot of yogurt or cheese had a 25 to 32 percent lower risk of hip fractures than those who ate little or no cheese or yogurt. This new research shows that eating cheese or yogurt is associated with reduced risk for hip fractures.

    ** Cheese and yogurt (with no added sugar) lower high blood sugar and insulin and are not associated with increased risk for heart attacks or diabetes (Nutr Rev, 2015;73(5):259-275) or gaining weight (BMC Med, 2014;12:215).

    ** Studies showed that cheese is associated with reduced risk for becoming diabetic (Nutr Rev, 2015;73(S1):15-22) and eating cheese and yogurt lowers risk for type II diabetes by 25 percent (Am J Clin Nutr, April 2015).

    ** Among more than 6500 overweight people who ate a healthful diet with fish, those who also ate lots of fermented dairy products (cheese and plain yogurt) had lower markers of diabetes, such as low good HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides (Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, May 21, 2018).

    New Study: Saturated fats in dairy do NOT increase the risk of heart disease.

    Saturated fats in yoghurt, cheese and butter do NOT increase the risk of heart disease – and may actually prevent a stroke.

    •Eating full-fat dairy actually reduces the risk of dying from stroke by 42% •Low or no fat often contain high amounts of sugar, which drives heart disease

    This comes after research released earlier this month suggested saturated fats found in yoghurt, cheese, butter and milk do not increase the risk of heart disease,.
    Eating full-fat dairy actually reduces the risk of dying from stroke by 42 percent, a study found.

    Lead author Dr Marcia Otto, from the University of Texas, Houston, said: ‘Our findings not only support, but also significantly strengthen, the growing body of evidence which suggests that dairy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase risk of heart disease or overall mortality in older adults.

    ‘In addition to not contributing to death, the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke.’

    Dr Otto said: ‘Consistent with previous findings, our results highlight the need to revisit current dietary guidance on whole-fat dairy foods, which are rich sources of nutrients such as calcium and potassium.

    ‘These are essential for health not only during childhood but throughout life, particularly also in later years when undernourishment and conditions like osteoporosis are more common

    ‘Consumers have been exposed to so much different and conflicting information about diet, particularly in relation to fats.

    ‘It’s therefore important to have robust studies, so people can make more balanced and informed choices based on scientific fact rather than hearsay.’

    https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ajcn/nqy117/5052139

    1. Hey greg! Is Earth flat? ~About 483,000,000 results (in 0.42 seconds)~

      I guess it must be then. I really like your way of deciding what is true and what is not.

    2. On account of the article you linked that was in the Lancet meta-analysis, I am currently having about 2 cups of whole yogurt daily. However, I recall from text in the Lancet meta-analysis, they mentioned a study in which butter did in fact increase mortality. So I don’t think it’s appropriate to exonerate saturated fat in dairy quite yet. My hunch is that a molecule called menaquinone, or vitamin K2, which is present in whole dairy is protective against cardiovascular disease, overcompensating for the health drawback of the saturated fat.

      This is related to an anticoagulant medication called warfarin, which inhibits vitamin K metabolism that is necessary for blood clotting. Although warfarin can protect a patient with atrial fibrillation from dying from acute events such as pulmonary embolism, I think it has long-term drawbacks of osteoporosis and artery calcification.

      If my hunch is true, then people opposed to consuming whole dairy ought to consume natto, provided they can find it and tolerate it. As for me, I can’t buy natto at my local grocery store so I am currently eating like a lactovegetarian.

      1. I am currently having about 2 cups of whole yogurt daily
        ——————————————————————————–
        I just last week have started consuming a lite blueberry yogurt cup a day… mainly ’cause during hot weather I need something to cool me off inside during the day. I also bought some 0 fat yogurt to spread on a layer of frozen blueberrys in gelled gelatin, then pour a second layer over the yogurt and add frozen cherries into that layer. Like I say, I need something cool to lower the temp in my insides during hot weather.
        _________________________________________
        This is related to an anticoagulant medication called warfarin, which inhibits vitamin K metabolism that is necessary for blood clotting. Although warfarin can protect a patient with atrial fibrillation from dying from acute events such as pulmonary embolism, I think it has long-term drawbacks of osteoporosis and artery calcification.
        —————————————————————————-
        This is interesting because I eat a lot of cinnamon and other than Ceylon cinnamon, all others mimic Warfarin. I don’t take Vitamin K as a supplement but I do take White Willow Bark supplements once, twice, or even three times a day. Like aspirin (a synthetic version of white willow bark) it contains salicylic acid but it does keep a damper on the platelet response which should also help keep down the buildup of platelet aggregation in the arteries due to insults to the endothelials within.

        In my case, my labs show my platelets within range and still when I have a break in my skin, the bleeding is short lived and the skin tear clots over quickly, meaning my platelet response appears optimal.

        1. Your referenced article, Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association, appears legit. I reckon Circulation is a reputable scientific journal. This article suggests that omitting dairy fat in favor of unsaturated fat or whole grains will significantly reduce my risk of cardiovascular disease.

          The article I mentioned reading, Association of dairy intake with cardiovascular disease and
          mortality in 21 countries from five continents (PURE):
          a prospective cohort study, suggested that consuming >2 servings of whole dairy is associated with a relative risk of 68% compared to no dairy at all. I thought the Lancet was likewise a reputable journal.

          These conclusions of these two articles seem to be pretty much in direct opposition to each other. Which is frustrating for people like me. I suppose I’ll see how all this dairy fat has served me when I get my next series of labs (lipid panel, A1C, etc.), then discontinue the dairy and recheck 6 months later.

          1. The Lancet article is an epidemiogical study and therefore subject to confounding eg the people who eat the most dairy are people in wealthy countries (and wealthy people in poor countries) who have access to the best healthcare, clean water etc. It’s litle wonder that they have have a mortality advantage. The problem with the Lancet paper is not the data – it is the spin put on that data by the authors. This article by Dr David Katz of Yale summarise the problems with the various PURE study papers published by the McMaster University -led team
            https://www.huffpost.com/entry/diet-and-health-puzzling-past-paradox-to-pure-understanding_b_59a81d10e4b02498834a8f27

            The American Heart Association paper is based on both epidemiological and experimental evidence. The latter is regarded as a stronger form of evidence.

            What is more, there is also mechanistic evidence that saturated fat (very high in dairy foods) is unhealthful eg

            ‘Studies conducted on many cell lines have indicated that saturated fatty acids can cause cell death involving the “endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER stress),” a cellular process known to be involved in the development of many diseases. A new paper, “Saturated fatty acids induce endoplasmic reticulum stress in primary cardiomyocytes,” just published in open access in “Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress in Diseases” by De Gruyter Open shows that there are striking differences in the accumulation of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in cardiac muscle cells, and that saturated fatty acids induce the death of these cells through the ER stress.’
            https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150427101527.htm

            Saturated fat also damages the endothelium (the lining of blood vessels
            https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/01.atv.0000163185.28245.a1
            https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109706013386

            There are other problems too
            https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150903131408.htm

    3. Impressive Greg, but…I don´t trust you. You know, a type of pre-knowledge said before you sat down to write

    4. The Mente team’s articles regarding the results of the PURE study, which you quote, are widely recognised as biased apologia by saturated fat and sodium defenders which are contradicted by analyses by virtually all other assessments . McMaster University has of couse long been known for its links to the Canadian dairy industry.

      As for the article by the Mozaffarian team, Barnard commented

      ‘we would value clarication as to the absence of disclosure of a provisional patent application listing Dr. Mozaffarian as a co-inventor to the US Patent and Trademark Office for use of dairy-derived trans-palmitoleic acid to prevent and treat insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and related conditions, and of prior support from the International Life Sciences Institute, a food-industry organization including major dairy companies, both of which were disclosed elsewhere (2)’
      https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330886026_Serial_measures_of_circulating_biomarkers_of_dairy_fat_something_is_missing

      As Harvard notes:

      ‘For dairy lovers, the good news is that various foods including full-fat dairy milk, yogurt, butter, cheeses, and cream were not found to increase heart disease risk (compared to a background diet that typically contains high amounts of refined carbohydrates and sugars). However, it is important to note that these foods were not found to decrease risk either.

      What did predict risk of cardiovascular disease was “fat swapping.” When dairy fat was replaced with the same number of calories from vegetable fat or polyunsaturated fat, the risk of cardiovascular disease dropped by 10% and 24%, respectively. Furthermore, replacing the same number of calories from dairy fat with healthful carbohydrates from whole grains was associated with a 28% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.”
      https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2016/10/25/dairy-fat-cardiovascular-disease-risk/

      So yes, compared to the refined carbohydrates, transfats, junk food and red meat common in Western diets, dairy probably is less harmful. However, that doesn’t mean that they are actually healthy.

      I think the 28% lower CVD risk with healthful carbohydrates in place of dairy fat, tells us dairy probably isn’t a good choice.

      1. Maybe not such a great choice, but occasional dips into a bucket of ice cream can’t be too bad, huh Fumbles? Seems to me you ‘fessed up a while back. :-)

        As of late (thanks to you), I’ve been doing just that myself. :-) As a change of pace from the same old 78% dark chocolate every bloody night for dessert, I’ve been scarfing down 1/4 cup or less of Turkey Hill Natural ice cream. (“Natural” doesn’t contain a lot of additives like so many other brands –even their own brand, unless it’s called Natural.) I cotton to the half vanilla bean-half chocolate.

        Hey, we we gotta give ourselves a break once in a while!

        1. Well, no. I do it but I accept that it’s not good for me

          We could use that same argument for having a good cigar, single malt whisky, bottle of red wine or line of coke. Or whatever.

          Occasional dips are less bad than regular dips though.

            1. “What the mind believes, the body achieves.”

              Yes, do let us know when you are 21 again, win the lottery and get your next supermodel gig.

              Nobody doubts that the brain/mind affects the body and vice versa but the statement What the mind believes, the body achieves.” is clearly a ridiculous exaggeration. Otherwise the USA would be full of billionaires, rock stars, football legends and supermodels and nobody would be sick, poor or ever die.

              Gregg Braden has a fabulous talent for turning bs into $.

              1. You seem to have a hangup about money, Fumbles.

                We have no way of knowing how much $ Gregg Braden donates to charity, just as we have no way of knowing how much Dr. G. does same. (He says most of his $ goes to charity, but I’ll bet he’s a pretty rich fella nevertheless.)

                Both men are on a mission: one to spread what he considers important bits of information about spirituality, the other to spread what he considers nutritional facts. Holistically speaking, both topics are important.

                I think those who are drawn to watch the video will do so. Simple pimple! :-)

      2. “So yes, compared to the refined carbohydrates, transfats, junk food and red meat common in Western diets, dairy probably is less harmful. However, that doesn’t mean that they are actually healthy.

        I think the 28% lower CVD risk with healthful carbohydrates in place of dairy fat, tells us dairy probably isn’t a good choice.”

        Yes, transfats, refined carbs, junk food, processed food.

        Makes everything else look so good.

    5. I admire your resolve, Greg.

      I can say that I didn’t get rid of my horizontal nail ridges and other Diabetes symptoms until I got rid of dairy. Particularly, cheese.

      Can someone do it some other way? Perhaps, but this is about Parkinson’s and my grandmother, on my father’s side may well have had Parkinson’s. I wasn’t sure, but I just saw all the symptoms and she had the postural changes, too, and had involuntary movement and a few other things. She didn’t speak English and nobody on that side of the family communicates all that well, but I do know that she did love dairy products.

      Anyway, this is one time where, unless you have an example of people having less Parkinson’s drinking milk and eating cheese, then I think your argument doesn’t fit this topic.

    6. Funny you should write that, Greg, on the very day that this study was published
      In people with type 2 diabetes
      “monounsaturated fatty acids of animal, but not plant, origin were associated with a higher total mortality. In models that examined the theoretical effects of substituting PUFAs for other fats, isocalorically replacing 2% of energy from saturated fatty acids with total PUFAs or linoleic acid was associated with 13% (hazard ratio 0.87, 0.77 to 0.99) or 15% (0.85, 0.73 to 0.99) lower cardiovascular disease mortality, respectively. A 2% replacement of energy from saturated fatty acids with total PUFAs was associated with 12% (hazard ratio 0.88, 0.83 to 0.94) lower total mortality ,,,,,

      ………….. MUFAs from animal sources (mainly red meats and high fat dairy products) were positively associated with total mortality (hazard ratio comparing the highest versus lowest quarters 1.23, 1.04 to 1.45; P for trend<0.001;……………."
      https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l4009

    1. What about organic dairy?
      —————————————-
      Good question. That should solve the pesticide side of things.

    2. Hello Cindy,

      That’s a great question. While organic dairy would lead to lower pesticide consumption, there is still the issue of galactose, which is thought to be one of the major dairy contributors to Parkinson’s disease. The healthiest options would be to avoid dairy and choose whole plant foods instead.

      I hope this helps,
      Dr. Matt

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/could-lactose-explain-the-milk-and-parkinsons-disease-link/

      1. If the grass the cattle are eating is coated with VOCs from traffic, that’s the same as pesticides. But the cattle are still organic. Most beef cattle in the east are exposed to VOCs, organic or not. So that shows up in the meat and the milk. Long story about the meat.

  5. I look forward to the time when a Guru Dr. will see the associations such as the ones Dr. Greger sees… and works on solutions by doing studies that accepts that something like dairy is settled nourishment and looks for solutions that allows for that consumption but adding some other nutrient to the diet that neutralizes the bad component.

      1. but for the animals involved it is horror and death.
        ——————————————————————
        Someday when a milk cow/human interface is invented we will know if your statement is true.

        1. I already worked in farming long enough to see the truth for myself AND plenty of video evidence and statistics out there now which show the true facts of the abuse of animals.

  6. Is organic milk ok to drink to not increase the risk for Parkinson’s? Same question about organic plain yogurt. (And does it matter if it’s full fat or not?) My understanding is that plain yogurt – organic or not – is alkalinizing for the body and therefore healthy.

    1. Hello Susan,

      Organic milk will cause less pesticide exposure; however, you would still be consuming the milk sugar lactose, which gets broken down into galactose, which is thought to contribute to Parkinson’s. Unfortunately, organic dairy will not safeguard you against this. As for yogurt being alkalinizing, I am not aware of any research stating that. Yogurt may actually have some negative health effects as well, which can be seen in the video I have linked below. Ultimately, it would be ideal to avoid these foods for healthier options, which would be whole plant foods.

      I hope this helps,
      Dr. Matt

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/benefits-of-blueberries-for-blood-pressure-may-be-blocked-by-yogurt/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/could-lactose-explain-the-milk-and-parkinsons-disease-link/

  7. Hi Dr. Greger!
    I’m posting this note here because it is applicable to the dairy issue. I hope you can comment on the following papers (links below). The research paper is referenced in a recent report by the Cornucopia Institute, an organization I normally trust. But they were founded by, and their board is predominantly dairy farmers, and they have an obvious bias and blind spot when it comes to plant-based milks. The paper suggests benefits from milk and no impacts on cardiovascular health, cancer, or bone health. Here’s the research paper link:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5122229/pdf/FNR-60-32527.pdf

    The Cornucopia Institute’s report on plant based milks–where I saw the above research link–is totally biased, a classic example of a marketing scheme hidden inside a supposedly fact based report. The ostensible purpose of the report is to help consumers choose the healthiest plant based milk, but the real purpose is to convince health conscious consumers that milk is the best beverage. I think we need to organize a response, hoping you can weigh in.

    The link to the report is:
    https://www.cornucopia.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/PlantBasedBeverageReport.pdf

    1. Vivian,

      They are using industry studies and are trying to save the milk industry, which has been impacted by plant milk.

      I don’t know how Dr. Greger does it because I am already sick of the concept of trying to mess up what the Whole Food Plant-Based doctors are doing by trying to bring in opposing logic.

      I don’t mind it when the Keto group (for instance) does Keto logic and it would frustrate them so much if I kept going over there talking about the benefits of sweet potatoes. There are benefits to sweet potatoes, but if you are doing Keto, sweet potatoes would likely not be a benefit to you.

      If you are trying to reverse Diabetes by healing the pancreas, you need to follow the logic and mechanisms that the doctors who accomplished it did. Arguing with Dr. Barnard that cheese lowers the risk of Diabetes, when he can get rid of your Diabetes, but only if you get rid of the cheese, doesn’t benefit anybody.

      If you have to hold onto the cheese, you need to go over to the Keto group and not heal the Pancreas, but let go of things like sweet potatoes and then not ever make a mistake on Keto because it isn’t healing you and it is making you more insulin resistant so you will be even worse if you ever eat a piece of birthday cake.

      No matter what, those two groups can’t follow the same mechanisms or same logic. Whole Food Plant Based technically is better because healing the Pancreas is better, but people who are using Keto logic don’t believe in Whole Food Plant Based and have never heard of Dr. Barnard’s study and get suspicious when they hear it, so they won’t give an inch on their “Keto is better” stance.

      I didn’t reverse anything until I gave up dairy and for me, it was dairy I had to give up. I already had given up junk food and sugar and soda and I didn’t have health benefits without going off the saturated fats.

      From that moment forward, I can’t use the logic to go back.

  8. Vivian

    Your first linked aricle’s conclusions are completely predictable given that

    “Conflicts of interest and funding
    ……… Anne Raben is recipient of research funding
    from the Dairy Research Institute, Rosemont, IL, USA
    and the Danish Agriculture & Food Council.Tine
    Tholstrup is recipient of research grants from the Danish
    Dairy Research Foundation and the Dairy Research
    Institute, Rosemont, IL.”

    while the second article is published by an organisation which promotes organic farming – including organic dairy.

    Neither document would seem to be free of conflicts of interest.

  9. The link between dairy and Parkinson’s may well be due to pesticides in dairy but as JK pointed out Parkinsons existed before dairy. However, dairy borne pesticides is not just a link. When you examine what the chemicals in pesticides used do to people, I’d say it’s a no brainer.

    But to answer JK’s observation, those same pesticide ingredients can occur in many other places.

    Today we are used to thinking about handling toxins with legislated regulations. That was far from the case in the 70s and earlier I can tell you from personal experience. Those chemicals were everywhere and they were transported in cardboard barrels. My very first actual job was as a pest control assistant for Metro Exterminators. I was 14 at the time. The owner and I travelled around in a van full of barrels of insecticides that were casually covered.

    Applications were done by hand. When we sprayed for cockroaches, silverfish, bedbugs, ants and so on, human safety was never discussed or thought about. I did this job for about two weeks. Already involved in the Tropical Fish industry, I’d read accounts by Dr. Herbert Axelrod about the impacts of chemicals on fish in his various hobbyist publications. My thinking was this: here I am, a tiny little kid in a van full of barrels of poison. How much poison did it take to kill the bugs. How much was right here in this van? How much of this stuff am I inhaling?

    You don’t think thoughts like that that have never been thought or suggested to you before. Conclusions aren’t arrived at in a lightning flash. But over that two week period of watching what happened to every type of pest from mould to raccoons and everything in between, I didn’t need a second opinion for my survival instincts to kick in.

    We sprayed grocery stores, houses and other buildings with cavity walls – walls with air between the two sides and that included bedrooms for all ages of people. I remember spraying cockroaches while they ran in circles around a bathtub with the child still sitting in it. No one thought anything of it as the bugs dropped dead.

    Pesticides in milk is an entirely different prospect though. That’s because the mild itself is an ideal carrier for the chemicals. They can go into solution and toxicity can either maintain itself or evolve into something substantially different while maintaining its lethality.

    I looked up an online study titled: “A national survey of persistent bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) pollutants in the United States milk supply”; May 13. 2003, https://www.nature.com/articles/7500269

    The chemicals as present in milk by season listed in Figure 3 were those shown below so I looked them up:
    Acenaphthylene: HUMAN EXPOSURE AND TOXICITY: Blood polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) levels in children, including acenaphthylene, significantly correlated with oxidative stress and altered antioxidant status. Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health:
    NIOSH considers coal tar pitch volatiles to be potential occupational carcinogens. /Coal tar pitch volatiles/; TOXNET, Toxicology Data Network; Sept. 6, 2013

    Anthracene, This chemical is on the Special Health Hazard Substance List.

    Flourene, Derivatives of fluorene show activity as herbicides and growth regulators. It is used as a chemical intermediate. Fluorene occurs ubiquitously in products of incomplete combustion; it also occurs in fossil fuels. HUMAN EXPOSURE AND TOXICITY: The agent is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans; National Library of Medicines; US

    Naphthalene: In humans, naphthalene is broken down to alpha-naphthol, which is linked to the development of hemolytic anemia. Kidney and liver damage may also occur. (National Pesticide Information US); Exposure for long periods of time can affect the peripheral nervous system, kidneys and the liver. Ingestion of naphthalene can result in abdominal pain, nausea vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, blood in the urine, haemolytic anaemia, jaundice and in extreme cases convulsions and coma. Dermal contact with naphthalene can skin irritation and dermatitis. Contact with the eyes can cause irritation and can damage the cornea. Exposure for long periods of time can lead to the development of cataracts. (Scottish Environment Protection Agency)

    Phenantherne, Phenanthrene is used in manufacturing dyestuffs and explosives and in biological research. Sources of phenanthrene include diesel fuel exhaust, coal tar pitch and tobacco smoke. Phenanthrene has been found in particle emissions from natural gas combustion and municipal incinerator waste, and in the particulates present in ambient air pollution near high vehicular traffic and industrial or urban areas (ATSDR, 1995; Fang et al., 2006; Rehwagen et al., 2005). IARC determined that phenanthrene was not classifiable with respect to human carcinogenicity. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention; Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Overview; https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Phenanthrene_BiomonitoringSummary.html

    Pyrene: an ingredient in DDT; In insects, DDT opens sodium ion channels in neurons, causing them to fire spontaneously, which leads to spasms and eventual death; Wikipedia – used for absorption – a transdermal agent; Percutaneous absorption of [14C]DDT and [14C]benzo[a]pyrene from soil; Oct. 15,1990; US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2258015;

    The important thing to take from the work-ups on these chemicals is that none of the studies focused on or included any work on neural damage. These chemicals do cause neural damage.

    All of these chemicals come from the BENZENE family of chemicals which are all toxic – some so much so there is no safe level of exposure permitted to ascertain safe levels. They are not safe at any level. That seems to be the case with some of these.

    The source of these chemicals appears to be the practice of grazing cows near roadways where the exhaust fumes from vehicular traffic blows onto and coats the grass. From there the chemicals, all of which are also transdermal easily migrate through the animals.Not just cows of course; everything.

    These are chemicals we know as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

    What the studies I examined do not touch on is their ability to change DNA. Since they are continuously applied to the environment, the VOC levels of contaminants is slowly bioaccumulating.

    Air is a universal common denominator in the movement of VOCs. Every internal combustion engine exhausts VOCs. Aircraft are the worst because as giant pesticide applicators they are literally coating and re-coating the entire planet with chemicals that are essentially anti-life.

    While biologists are searching for “cures” for the fungal pathogens killing honey bees and frogs world wide, the cause of the entire situation goes back to the removal of lead from gasoline in the mid 70s. What replaced lead was VOCs. In the late 80s my neighbour who was a chemical engineer at Texaco in Trinidad was the man who formulated the new mixture to be added to J8 jet fuel. Texaco was the last refinery to add VOCs to J8. About 5 years later the tiny moths that used to form comet tails under street lights were all gone, frogs started dying. Then the bees, then the mayflies, then various species of birds.

    All of a sudden Autism became an epidemic.

    Our entire food supply is contaminated with VOCs.

    Toxicity studies on J8 are out there and easy to find. But they are inaccessible unless you can pay for them and they are not cheap. So the aviation industry is hiding the evidence of what they are doing to the planet, which is that they are killing life on earth or at the very least, altering life as we know it.

    When you are as old as I am, the changes to planet earth are stark if you look at earth before VOCs and after VOCs were introduced. We had VOCs before J8 and the impacts were noticeable. But at the tie no one knew what they were. We do now. Hindsight is 20/20.

    2005 in Ontario Canada was when all the airborne bugs in southern Ontario disappeared. Completely. Our forests are still dioramas. No bugs. At least not compared to what there once was.

    You know that if you live in a temperate zone in North America because you can no longer buy bug sponges for cleaning the bugs off you windshields. You don’t need bug screens anymore. There are no bugs to kill. Vast swaths of Canada are no sprayed to eliminate the clouds of black flies and mosquitos that make much of Canada uninhabitable. If that stuff kills bugs, it kills us too, just more slowly.

    But wait a minute! Bugs are making a comeback. They didn’t all die! Just most of them. Bugs are now making a comeback. They are overcoming VOCs. My windshield is killing bugs this year (I do a lot of long, long distance hauls) like I haven’t seen since the 90s.

    That means all the pestilent bugs like mosquitos and black flies are going to make a comeback. Then more powerful insecticides will be needed. That will be a health disaster for us that will be unprecedented. We’ll have super Parkinson’s. Those sprays kill the frogs too. There are no frogs left in and around most of Toronto.

    So I looked up VOCs found in foods:

    Volatile Organic Compounds in Foods: a Five Year Study; M.E.Fleming-Jones, R.E. Smith; Dec. 2, 2013; https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/jf0303159

    A purge and trap procedure was used with gas chromatography−mass spectrometry determination to analyze 70 foods for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The results from analyses over a 5 year period (1996−2000) are reported.

    VOCs were found in at least one sample of all foods tested, although no single compound was found in each of the foods. The total amount of VOCs found in a single food item over the 5 year period ranged from 24 to 5328 ppb, with creamed corn (canned) the lowest and cheddar cheese the highest.

    Benzene was found in all foods except American cheese and vanilla ice cream. Benzene levels ranged from 1 to 190 ppb, with the highest level found in fully cooked ground beef. Benzene was found in 12 samples of cooked ground beef, with an average of 40 ppb. Benzene levels above 100 ppb were also seen in at least one sample each of a cola (138 ppb), raw bananas (132 ppb), and cole slaw (102 ppb). This compares to a maximum contaminant level of 5 ppb set by the U.S. EPA for drinking water.

    Benzene is one of the most lethal chemicals ever created by man. There is no safe level of toxicity. It’s too toxic to test. While the above says benzene wasn’t found in everything, that does not mean one or more of the hundreds of thousands of derivative chemical formulations were not found. Most of them are just as lethal as benzene.

    So if you are wondering whether it’s still a good idea to drink milk? My question to you would be are you suicidal?

    1. “My question to you would be are you suicidal?”
      – – – – –

      It might not be a bad way to go, if you are. A few months ago one of the tenants in my complex jumped out a window of her 10th-floor apartment. She was very depressed about her terminal cancer diagnosis, and probably though enough was enough. (Her little dog was able to find a loving home.)

      1. Suicide by VOCs is not pretty. Or painless. On the other hand, it’s generally slow enough that you do have a chance to take matters into your own hands. I don’t think jumping would be it for me. Too long to think about my last stop.

        Once the bugs come back in force here in Canada, it won’t be only people committing suicide. The animals will be attempting it too. Black flies are really tiny but the chunks they take out of you when they bite are huge. And they travel in limitless black clouds. There is no escape. They blanket all of the landscape. An open body of water is the only refuge. If they come back Canadians will be migrating south in droves passing Americans on their way north.

        1. That was a powerful video, Deb. My takeaway was, when somebody looks like they’re in distress, go up to them, look them in the eye, and say, “Are you okay?” Words can be so powerful.

          One of the reasons he was meant to live was to tell his story.

          1. Yeah, “Are you okay?” is the exact sentence.

            People are afraid to say it because they are afraid the whole burden of everything will be thrown on them.

            When I lived in California, there was a homosexual drug addict prostitute and what I remember was that the man who picked him up asked, “Are you okay?” and they called me and I gave a ride to a shelter which helped addicts.

            I didn’t have to solve everything.

            Neither did the man who called me.

            We just had to actually care and we both only had one thing to do to save a life.

            I had another night where there was a young woman whose parents both had died and she had made up human beings to pretend to have a support system and she was suicidal and hearing voices like that man and again, my whole part was a ride.

            I also had one worker at our shop in a different town who used to go to bridges and think about jumping off. Coming from the employer end, our part was to have compassion. Not fire him. Ask if there is anything we can do. Give him days off when he needed it.

            It was still just a small list of small things.

            1. There have been times I thought I was in over my head.

              I remember one teenager who was a cutter who had run away from home, dropping out of school gotten on a train with a one-way ticket to my town to meet some fake person on the internet.

              I went out to lunch with her – thinking, “What do you do with a problem like Maria?”

              But, mid-way through lunch, we talked about support systems and she thought of someone. Her mother. We made a phone call and gave a ride.

              Within a half hour she was on her way home and knew what she wanted to be when she grew up and could just go back to school because she hadn’t missed much.

              Usually the answers are

              Make a call.
              Give a ride
              Give a hug.
              Bring to a hospital.

    2. Laughing.

      Yes, John, thank you for the glimpse into insanity.

      It was very helpful.

      I think,for the people trying to hold onto dairy, yes, if you are going to do it, you should go organic, but there are also milk viruses and saturated fat issues and casein affecting cancer growth, and the fact that cows are kept pregnant all of the time meaning cow hormones, etc.

      1. Right so we are agreed that when we see someone drinking cows’ milk we call the guys in the white coats with the huge nets.

        Organic makes no difference. In fact organic mean’s the cow likely spent quality time munching road side grass while farting and burping excess VOCs.

  10. There are certain islands in the Caribbean and areas in Mexico (and perhaps other places) where no screens are needed because there are no bugs. And yet there are abundant flowers, fruit and other crops. I also did not see any bees. I often wonder as to how this could be. How are the flowers and various crops pollinated? Wasn’t aware of VOCs and would like to know how and if they factor into this question. Anyone know? Thanks.

    1. The Caribbean Islands are continually over-flown by commercial jets. But they are windy too. Even so, there are times of the day that are nearly windless. VOCs are neutralized instantly in water so any that land in the water have little impact. So we think But the reality is that the chemistry of water around the world is becoming more acidic and VOCs are acidic. So it’s not just the insects there. It’s everything. If the insect population is down, other populations are suffering too because everything higher up the food chain has to eat. Insects are nature’s first and best vitamin pills for all higher forms of life.

      I noticed the lack of insects at the Trinidad zoo in 2008 while in the monkey exhibit. It was mid-afternoon, about 80, full sun, no wind and no flies. The monkey exhibit was clean but not that clean. There should have been some. I was with one of Trinidad’s foremost biologists, Victor Quesnel at the time and up to then he’d thought the then new telephone towers were to blame. There are no telephone towers in the Canadian bush. Lots of areal spraying of pesticides though.

      I never wore insect repellant, never saw a mosquito.

    1. Hello Messina,

      Lactose free milk will prevent exposure to galactose, but may not improve pesticide exposure. Healthier options that do not carry a link to Parkinson’s may be soy, oat, or almond milk.

      I hope this helps,
      Dr. Matt

      1. Raw milk…. https://nutritionfacts.org/questions/raw-milk-versus-pasteurized-milk/ Can’t think of anything more grosse! The whole idea of drinking mammary secretions from another animal is just bizarre.
        ———————————————————————————————–
        Heh, Bark… I was raised on the stuff. Even helped with the milking. Mother would use a cup towel to strain the milk into a jar before putting it in the “icebox” (fridge). That insured there wouldn’t be any “green” material from the cow’s tail in the milk (well, maybe in microscopic amounts ‘-)

        I’m learning that now-a-days people take fecal pills in order to re-establish a gut micro-biome. Maybe we were getting the cows gut micro-biome in minuscule amounts… and even a very small serving of greens in our milk-with-every-meal.

        Maybe that’s why I’ve never had a major sickness… other than an occasional cold or bout with the flu. I don’t drink raw milk and haven’t in decades. Only rarely eat or drink anything dairy, although I’ve recently re-introduced yogurt (sprinkled with a small amount of inulin to assist in its digestion.)

        I think I am fortunate to have had the upbringing I had, although there are some changes I would make knowing what I know now, much of what has been learned here.

        I’m guessing you grew up in a city. I think I would die if forced to live in a city. To me they are Carbon Monoxide gas chambers.

        1. Heh, Bark
          ————————–
          (face palm) Sorry Barb, those two letters are two keys away from one another on a Dvorak keyboard so I don’t know how that happened.

          I really, really, really wish there was a preview function on this training wheels level discussion site.

        2. Actually, no, I have a ranching background. Horses and cows. I did herd health. I used to buy butter from the woman down the road who churned it by hand. You could see the salt ‘chunks’ in it ( sea salt size). The bacteria in the milk continues to grow, refrigerated or not. There was a lot of ‘good’ in how we were raised Lonie, … fresh fruit, veggies, clean lake trout, working long hours outside all year round, but too much saturated fat (raspberry pies come to mind) :)

  11. I have crohns disease. Crohns and Parkinson have a genetic link. Read wikipedia about crohns disease. There is strong consensus that crohns is caused by (Map) mycobacterim PA rather culls is. This bug causes Johnes disease in sheep and cattle. Its mainly in dairy cattle and is passed on to humans through milk. Genetically susceptible people than acquire crohns disease. I am currently been treated with AMAT therapy by my specialist

  12. Thank you Dr. Greger, as always, for your extraordinary work. I would like to add some additional information about the dangers of milk and cheese consumption as it relates to the misfolded proteins of Parkinson’s Disease (PD):

    1. Milk may contain radon, a radioactive gas [Mansourbahmani M, et al. Study of Existing Radon In Milk and Its Effect on Body Organs. International Journal of Advanced Biological and Biomedical Research, 2013; Volume 1, Issue 8; p. 802-812.];

    2. Milk may contain a bacteria, Mycobacterium paratuberculosis. It can survive the pasteurization process. [Nauta MJ, van der Giessen JW. Human exposure to Mycobacterium paratuberculosis via pasteurised milk: a modelling approach. Vet Rec., 1998;143(11); p.293-296.] It causes inflammation of the gut and contributes to Crohn’s Disease; it may also trigger PD [Dow CD. M. Paratuberculosis and Parkinson’s Disease – Is this a Trigger. Medical Hypotheses, 2014. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2014.09.025%5D ;

    3. Milk consumption fosters the growth of an extremely unhealthy gut organism, bilophila wadsworthia. It causes increased intestinal permeability (a “leaky gut”). [Turnbaugh PJ. Microbiology: fat, bile and gut microbes. Nature, 012;487(7405); p.47-48.] It is also one of the most common bacteria implicated in appendicitis. [Baron EJ. Bilophila wadsworthia: a unique Gram-negative anaerobic rod. Anaerobe. 1997; 3(2-3); p.83-86.] It is estimated that 70% of appendicitis cases are related to a low-fiber diet and constipation. [Adamidis D, et al. Fiber intake and childhood appendicitis. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2000; Vol. 51, No. 3; p. 153-157.] The appendix in humans has traditionally been considered to be a useless body part. However, it is now believed that it serves as a storehouse for healthy gut bacteria; the appendix is part of the immunity system of the intestines.[Bollinger RR, et al. Biofilms in the large bowel suggest an apparent function of the human vermiform appendix. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 2007; Volume 249, Issue 4; p. 826–831.] The appendix also has high levels of alpha-synuclein. [Gray MT, et al. Alpha-synuclein in the appendiceal mucosa of neurologically intact subjects. Movement Disorders, 2014; Volume 29, Issue 8; p. 991–998.] In summary, there may be a link between an unhealthy diet that includes milk, bilophila wadsworthia, an unhealthy appendix, increased intestinal permeability, and the spread of alpha-synuclein in the gut;

    4. Milk contains high levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF). This substance developed over the generations of evolutionary history to aid in infant growth. However, once we outgrow the breast-feeding stage, milk ingestion can trigger the growth of other types of cells, such as fat cells. IGF is a strong trigger of the mTOR pathway. [Melnik BC, John SM, Schmitz G. Milk is not just food but most likely a genetic transfection system activating mTORC1 signaling for postnatal growth. Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:103.] This is detrimental to our cells, as mTOR inhibits autophagy [Jung CH, et al. mTOR regulation of autophagy. FEBS Lett. 2010;584(7); p.1287-1295.];

    5. Processed cheese is high in aluminum, a neurotoxin. [Yokel RA, Hicks CL, Florence RL. Aluminum bioavailability from basic sodium aluminum phosphate, an approved food additive emulsifying agent, incorporated in cheese. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(6); p.2261-2266.] Cheese is made with the use of potassium alum, to bleach milk, [Yokel RA. Aluminum in Food – The Nature and Contribution of Food Additives. In: Food Additive, edited by Yehia El-Samragy, ISBN 978-953-51-0067-6, 268 pages, Publisher: InTech.DOI: 10.5772/1521] and aluminum phosphate, an emulsifying agent. Frozen pizza has especially high levels of aluminum;[Saiyed SM, Yokel RA. Aluminium content of some foods and food products in the USA, with aluminium food additives. Food Additives & Contaminants, 2005; Volume 22, Issue 3; DOI:10.1080/02652030500073584]

    6. Many cheeses are high in Advanced Glycation End-products.[Münch G, Westcott B, Menini T, Gugliucci A. Advanced glycation endproducts and their pathogenic roles in neurological disorders. Amino Acids, 2012;42(4); p.1221-1236.] Advanced Glycation End-products, aptly abbreviated “AGEs,” are compounds that are formed during the heating of sugars and proteins. Excessive levels of AGEs are associated with aging and many diseases, including PD.[Münch G, Westcott B, Menini T, Gugliucci A. Advanced glycation endproducts and their pathogenic roles in neurological disorders. Amino Acids, 2012;42(4); p.1221-1236.] The misfolding of alpha-synuclein can be induced by AGEs.[Lee D, Park CW, Paik SR, Choi KY. The modification of alpha-synuclein by dicarbonyl compounds inhibits its fibril-forming process. Biochim Biophys Acta., 2009;1794(3); p.421-430.] Moreover, AGEs lower levels of a powerful antioxidant, glutathione. [Ankrah NA, Appiah-Opong R. Methylgloxal depletes glutathione. Toxicology Letters, 1999; Volume 109, Issues 1–2; p. 61–67.] They are also inflammatory [Tikellis C, et al. Cardiac inflammation associated with a Western diet is mediated via activation of RAGE by AGEs. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 2008; 295; p. E323–E330.] and can trigger neuroinflammation in neurons.[Fang F, et al. RAGE-dependent signaling in microglia contributes to neuroinflammation, Abeta accumulation, and impaired learning/memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. FASEB J. 2010;24(4); p.1043-1055.] High levels of AGEs are found in pizza and cheeses.[Uribarri J, et al. Advanced Glycation End Products in Foods and a Practical Guide to Their Reduction in the Diet. J Am Diet Assoc., 2010; 110(6); p.911–916.]

    Sincerely
    Dr. Ben Weinstock

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