Recovery from a broken leg can take months, but England rugby player, Joe Marler, managed a return to training after three and a half weeks. It was thanks, he says, to drinking two pints of full fat milk every day.

Marler, a 26-year-old prop, claimed that milk played a key part in repairing his broken leg. “I drank two pints of milk a day,” he said. "It’s something I’ll keep doing because it’s really tasty. I always thought green top was good for you because it’s reduced fat but they gave me licence to have blue top and the odd day I’d have gold top — the one with about 1000 calories. Maybe I won’t carry on with that but blue top, it’s been really good for me.”

Asked why he thought it had provided such incredible healing powers, he said: “It’s a historical thing. There’s lots of calcium in milk, so that helps with the bones. And teeth. It’s not a new thing, it’s been around for years.”

Certainly milk is held in high regard by sports nutritionists as a recovery aid from intense training, thanks to the fluid and natural sugars it provides. Several studies have shown it can be as effective as commercially available sports drinks for that purpose. But could it really be key to healing broken bones?

“Milk is a nutritious food and contains nutrients which aid muscle recovery and hydration after exercising,” says Dr Anne Mullen, a nutritionist and spokesperson for the Dairy Council. “It provides an array of nutrients such as protein, calcium, iodine, B vitamins and phosphorus – all of which are important for a healthy balanced diet. Plus protein helps and calcium is essential in the maintenance of healthy muscles and bones.”


This article was first published in Athletics Weekly. For more of the latest running and athletics news, plus performance features and much more, grab a copy of the magazine or check out