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Milk intake across adulthood and muscle strength decline from mid- to late life: the MRC National Survey of Health and Development

Granic, Antoneta, Cooper, Rachel ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3370-5720, Dodds, Richard M, Hillman, Susan J, Sayer, Avan A and Robinson, Sian M (2022) Milk intake across adulthood and muscle strength decline from mid- to late life: the MRC National Survey of Health and Development. The British Journal of Nutrition: an international journal of nutritional science. ISSN 0007-1145

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Abstract

Milk is a source of several nutrients which may be beneficial for skeletal muscle. Evidence that links lower milk intake with declines in muscle strength from midlife to old age is lacking. We used data from the MRC NSHD to test sex-specific associations between milk consumption from age 36 to 60-64 years, low grip strength (GS) or probable sarcopenia, and GS decline from age 53 to 69 years. We included 1340 men and 1383 women with at least one measure of both milk intake and GS. Milk intake was recorded in 5-day food diaries (ages 36, 43, 53 and 60-64), and grand mean of total, reduced-fat and full-fat milk each categorised in thirds (T1 (lowest) to T3 (highest), g/day). GS was assessed at ages 53, 60-64, and 69, and probable sarcopenia classified at age 69. We employed logistic regression to examine the odds of probable sarcopenia, and multilevel models to investigate decline in GS in relation to milk intake thirds. Compared with T1, only T2 (58.7-145.2g/day) of reduced-fat milk was associated with lower odds of sex-specific low GS at age 69 (OR (95% CI): 0.59 (0.37, 0.94), p=0.03). In multilevel models, only T3 of total milk (≥237.5g/day) was associated with stronger GS in midlife in men (β (95% CI) = 1.82 (0.18, 3.45)kg, p=0.03) compared with T1 (≤152.0g/day), but not with GS decline over time. A higher milk intake across adulthood may promote muscle strength in midlife in men. Its role in muscle health in late life needs further examination.

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