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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What's the Deal About Raw Milk?

The controversy over raw milk has provided fodder for a few recent conversations I have had lately. It is something I feel more passionate about each time I learn more, and I hope that at some point in the not too distant future, it is one health change my family can make. Cost and availability are the only two reasons holding us back at present. A few reasons I would like to make the switch: It tastes so much better!, it contains many more vitamins and health benefits (including for the immune system) than pasteurized milk, to get back to the natural state and avoid synthetic hormones, it is easier to digest and gentler on the bowels. One of my sisters has had a lot of problems with IBS, which began to turn into lactose intolerance. She tried several different changes within her diet until she hit upon the raw milk at her local health food store. The milk there is tested for impurities daily and if it's not safe, they don't sell it. Much to her joy and delight, my sister found that her system could tolerate the raw milk without any trouble. Obviously there is a big difference between pasteurized milk and raw milk and it's not in favor of the former--contrary to what government campaigns tell us. Do the research yourself and get the real facts! Below are quotes from leading authorities on the issue. Look up the websites below to read more facts about pasteurized vs. raw milk:

The Weston A. Price Foundation (see
Today's milk is accused of causing everything from allergies to heart disease to cancer, but when Americans could buy Real Milk, these diseases were rare. In fact, a supply of high-quality dairy products was considered vital to American security and the economic well being of the nation.
What's needed today is a return to humane, non-toxic, pasture-based dairying and small-scale traditional processing, in short . . . a campaign for Real Milk.

DANGERS OF PASTEURIZED MILK (see Many studies have linked consumption of pasteurized milk with lactose intolerance, allergies, asthma, frequent ear infections, gastro-Intestinal problems, diabetes, auto-Immune disease, attention deficit disorder and constipation. During a period of rapid population growth, the market for fluid pasteurized milk has declined at 1% per year for the past 20 years. Fewer and fewer consumers can tolerate pasteurized (and ultrapasteurized) milk (Don’t Drink Your Milk, Frank Oski, MD, 1983).
PASTEURIZATION HARMFUL: Many of these anti-microbial and immune-enhancing components are greatly reduced in effectiveness by pasteurization, and completely destroyed by ultra-pasteurization (Scientific American, December 1995; British J of Nutrition, 2000:84(Suppl. 1):S3-S10, S75-S80, S81-S89).

LACTOSE INTOLERANCE: In a survey of raw milk drinkers in the state of Michigan, over 80 percent of those advised by a healthcare professional that they were lactose intolerant were able to consume raw milk without problem. (LactoseIntoleranceSurvey.doc).

BENEFITS IN EARLY HUMAN STUDIES: In early studies involving humans, raw milk was shown to be superior to pasteurized in protecting against infection, diarrhea, rickets, tooth decay and TB; and children receiving had better growth than those receiving pasteurized milk (Real Milk PowerPoint--see 54-56, 58).

ASTHMA: Three recent studies in Europe found that drinking “farm” (raw) milk protected against asthma and allergies (Lancet. 2001 Oct 6;358(9288):1129-33; J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2006 Jun;117(6):1374-8; Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 2007 May; 35(5) 627-630).

PROTECTIVE COMPONENTS: Raw milk contains numerous components that assist in:
  • Killing pathogens in the milk (lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin, leukocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, antibodies, medium chain fatty acids, lysozyme, B12 binding protein, bifidus factor, beneficial bacteria);
  • Preventing pathogen absorption across the intestinal wall (polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, mucins, fibronectin, glycomacropeptides, bifidus factor, beneficial bacteria);
  • Strengthening the Immune System (lymphocytes, immunoglobulins, antibodies, hormones and growth factors) (Scientific American, December 1995; British J of Nutrition, 2000:84(Suppl. 1):S3-S10, S75-S80, S81-S89).
DANGERS EXAGGERATED: Although raw milk, like any food, can become contaminated and cause illness, the dangers of raw milk are greatly exaggerated. In an analysis of reports on 70 outbreaks attributed to raw milk, we found many examples of reporting bias, errors and poor analysis resulting in most outbreaks having either no valid positive milk sample or no valid statistical association (see
Also enlightening is Cheeslave's top 10 reasons to drink raw milk, complete with pics and more discussion on the economic and rural impact that the Raw Milk campaign can help bring about.
And for a dramatic visual demonstration of the results of the above differences, check out this site about a study conducted very recently with calves. (Note: It gets a bit graphic but is very interesting.)

1 comment:

Mom of lactose intolerant daughter said...

My daughter is lactose intolerant. She pretty much avoids drinking milk, which is not good for a young girl. I think I will get some raw milk for her and see if she can drink that.


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