Health issues

Drinking cows’ milk during adolescence increases prostate cancer risk

Consuming cows’ milk daily in adolescence increases the risk of advanced prostate cancer later in life, according to an Icelandic study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

While the majority of prostate cancer is slow growing, it appears that drinking too much milk in your formative years can lead to greater risks of advanced prostate cancer later in life.

The study (1) found that men having high intake and consumed milk daily in adolescence were 3 times as likely as those who only drank infrequently to develop advanced prostate cancer.

Two groups of males were followed over 40 years – the group with higher milk consumption were 29 percent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate, and among men born before 1920, those living in rural areas (with higher milk consumption) were 64 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

Worse, drinking milk everyday in adolescence, compared to less frequently than daily, was correlated with a 3.2 fold risk of developing advanced prostate cancer. But drinking milk in midlife or currently did not seem to increase the risk.

Drinking cows’ milk has never played a large part in the colourful Mediterranean Diet – the Rainbow Diet. A little goats’ milk, or sheep’s milk  is far more normal. Both of the latter appear to contain a higher mineral content. Protein levels are the same.



  1.  American Journal of Epidemiology; Jan 2012.

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