The milk debate: is milk intended for human consumption?

The last few years milk has been accused of multiple adverse reactions. More and more, nutritionists and physicians report their patients being allergic or intolerant to dairy. Eczema, asthma, migraines, constipation, allergic rhinitis, arthritis, stomach cramps, heart disease and testicular cancer are some of the diseases that are linked to high dairy consumption. 

Let’s take asthma as an example. After about seven years old, humans lack the enzyme to break down milk protein completely. As a result, the undigested milk protein can trigger an immune response that can damage the mucous membranes of the lungs and the digestive system, leading to or aggravating asthma attacks.

Is it true that cow’s milk is suitable only for cow’s, as we would never give our children dog’s milk? The truth is that the proportion of nutrients in cow’s milk is not suitable for the needs of the human body. Cow’s milk has three times as much protein and four times as much calcium as human milk. Cow’s milk has as much protein and calcium needed by a calf, that will eventually grow three to four times bigger than a human. Contrarily, human babies need more carbohydrates in the early stages than a calf. That’s why human milk has twice as many carbohydrates as cow’s milk. In the contrary, calfs need more salt than human newborns and that’s why cow’s milk has three times more salt that human milk. 

After weaning, humans do not look for milk anymore. Many studies have shown that if a human baby that has been breastfed for 14-18 months had to choose between different foods, three out of four babies would not choose breastmilk. Babies who are fed cow’s milk, look “swollen” and flaccid. Infants that have difficulty digesting milk, often suffer from colics, bloating, crying because of the pain and disturbed sleep. Many suffer from tonsillitis, otitis, respiratory distress, nasal discharge, excess salivation and sleep apnoea.

Except for being unable to break down milk protein completely, dairy can also cause problems in terms of:

Leaving a slightly acidic residue in the body, which may trigger an inflammatory response. Inflammation can translate in redness, rashes, acne and complexion unevenness. 

Difficulties digesting lactose (the sugar present in milk) and casein (one of the proteins in dairy) have been liked to skin complaints, including rashes and pimples. 

Lactose is a common allergen that can disrupt blood sugar levels, leading to further inflammation. Even though milk has a low glycemic index overall, it still raises insulin a lot. 

Dairy contains high levels of hormones - regardless of whether it is organic or not - which can disrupt your own hormonal imbalance, leading to illnesses, such as acne, certain cancers and male reproductive disorders. Milk consumption has also been associated with an increased risk of early puberty in girls and endometrial cancer in postmenopausal women, but hormonal levels in food could be particularly dangerous in the case of vulnerable populations, such as young children or pregnant women. To this critical population, even a small hormonal intake could lead to major changes in the metabolism. Because children’s level of sex steroids are very low, caution should be taken to avoid unnecessary exposure of fetuses and children to exogenous sex steroids.

Milk consumption increases serum concentrations of insulin-like growth factor 1, which is linked to prostate and other cancers. In addition, modern industrial methods maintain dairy cows in active milk production throughout their pregnancies, resulting in a milk supply with high levels of reproductive hormones. Pregnant cows excrete significantly higher levels of sex steroids into their milk than non-pregnant cows. The subsequent consumption of such dairy products from pregnancy results in additional consumer exposure.

Consult your nutritionist or physician for healthy milk alternatives and dairy substitutes. If you still want to consume milk be sure to always buy organic, and preferably A2 milk. Raw goat’s or sheep’s milk from a safe source is an even better option. 

Nutritionist Resource is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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London NW1 & W1G
Written by Olianna Gourli
London NW1 & W1G

Olianna Gourli is a qualified naturopath and nutritional therapist with a background in science and research. She has great expertise in gastrointestinal issues, such as IBS, hormonal imbalances and women's health, stress and anxiety. She sees clients in her clinics in Central and Northwest London and through Skype.

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