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Got Milk? Dairy protein provides bone-forming boost

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11:01am, June 2, 2004

Calcium isn't the only thing in milk that's good for bones, a new study suggests. A protein present in cow's milk, as well as in human breast milk, stimulates bone-forming cells in lab dishes and induces bone growth when injected into mice, researchers have found.

The molecule, an iron-binding protein called lactoferrin, could form the basis of a new treatment for osteoporosis, says study leader Jillian Cornish of the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

When asked by the New Zealand dairy industry to search for novel substances in milk that might influence bone growth, Cornish was initially skeptical about finding anything new in what she considered to be such a thoroughly studied substance.

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