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Low-fat Dairy Linked to Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

A recent study suggests that consuming three servings or more per day of low-fat dairy may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease, when compared with consuming less than one serving. The same study found no association between full-fat dairy and Parkinson’s disease.


Participants in the study included 80,736 women who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study and 48,610 men who took part in the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study. In both studies, participants completed health questionnaires every two years and dietary questionnaires every four years. During the study period, 1,036 people developed Parkinson’s disease.


After examining the data — including what types of dairy the participants consumed — the researchers determined that consuming at least three servings of low-fat dairy per day was associated with a 34% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, when compared with consuming one or fewer servings daily.


Additionally, consuming more than one serving per day of skim or low-fat dairy was associated with a 39% higher risk of developing Parkinson’s compared to consuming less than one serving per week. There was also a moderately increased risk for people who consumed sherbet or frozen yogurt. No association was found between the risk of Parkinson’s disease and consuming full-fat dairy.


The researchers did note that the overall risk of Parkinson’s disease was still very low. Only 1% of the participants who consumed at least three servings per day of low-fat dairy developed the disease. For those who consumed less than one serving per day of low-fat dairy, only 0.6% developed Parkinson’s.


Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 8, 2017, in Neurology.


 

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