by Judith Cobb, MH, CI, NCP
This article is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. It is meant for educational purposes only. Judith Cobb, Cobblestone Health, and Nature’s Sunshine Products accept no responsibility for results you get, whether good or bad, from using this information. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.
One of the dietary directives I often give to clients is to eliminate cow’s milk from their diets. Several factors have influenced my feeling secure in giving this advice.
1. There is the fact that humans are the only animal that has been led to believe they need to consume the milk of another animal. Humans also continue to consume that foreign milk long after they have been weaned. Consuming cow’s milk, especially, causes the excess production of mucus and makes it more acidic. The increased acid in the body leads to inflammation and tissue breakdown. When you have a cold the doctor doesn’t say, “Go home and drink plenty of milk”; instead he says, “Go home and drink plenty of clear fluids,” because these fluids will help to break down mucus.
2. What about calcium? you ask. Once again, cow’s milk was not designed for the human system. One of the issues is casein, which binds up the calcium present in milk when the milk hits the stomach. The resulting calcium-caseinate complex is very difficult for humans to break down. Calcium that is bound up like this passes through the body and is excreted.
3. Another issue is the presence of a milk sugar named D-galactose. D-galactose has been linked to rapid aging in animals. A study in the British Medical Journal1 reports:
A subcutaneous dose of 100 mg/kg D-galactose accelerates senescence in mice.2 This is equivalent to 6-10 g in humans, corresponding to 1-2 glasses of milk. Based on a concentration of lactose in cow’s milk of approximately 5%, one glass of milk comprises about 5 g of D-galactose. The increase of oxidative stress with aging and chronic low grade inflammation is not only a pathogenetic mechanism of cardiovascular disease and cancer in humans3,4 but also a mechanism of age related bone loss and sarcopenia.4,5
What this means is milk contains a sugar that leads to rapid aging, and as little as 1–2 glasses of milk per day is enough to trigger this response.
4. This same study, which involved several thousand people in Sweden and their medical records over a span of about 20 years, also showed that women especially are at risk when they consume milk. Those who consumed less than one glass of fluid milk per day had the lowest rates of bone fractures, hip fractures, and death by cancer and cardiovascular disease. For each additional glass of milk consumed, the risk of bone fractures increased, in some cases dramatically. I encourage you to read the article1 and view the graphs it contains.
5. You may ask, what about cheese and yogurt? The study found that women who, instead of drinking fluid milk, ate cheese and fermented milk products had lower mortality and fracture rates than those who did not. The study did not say that cheese and fermented milk products enhanced bone density or overall health, only that these types of dairy products did not seem to hurt bone density. In these types of dairy products the D-galactose is digested by the bacteria that ferment the milk.
This large study indicates that fluid milk is not a good thing for women, supporting the claim that proponents of natural diet and/or natural health have made over the years. Data from other sources also supports the theory that fluid milk consumption6 and prevalence of hip fractures7 are connected8.
It would appear, then, that if you want to protect your bone density, milk belongs in the same category that coffee and tea are in: Don’t Do It!
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References contained in above study:
2Cui X, Zuo P, Zhang Q, Li X, Hu Y, Long J, et al. Chronic systemic D-galactose exposure induces memory loss, neurodegeneration, and oxidative damage in mice: protective effects of R-alpha-lipoic acid. J Neurosci Res2006; 83:1584-90.
3Reuter S, Gupta SC, Chaturvedi MM, Aggarwal BB. Oxidative stress, inflammation, and cancer: how are they linked? Free Radic Biol Med 2010; 49:1603-16
4Manolagas SC, Parfitt AM. What old means to bone. Trends Endocrinol Metab 2010; 21:369-74.
5Michaëlsson K, Wolk A, Byberg L, Ärnlöv J, Melhus H. Intake and serum concentrations of alpha-tocopherol in relation to fractures in elderly women and men: 2 cohort studies. Am J Clin Nutr 2014;99:107-14.
6 milk consumption chart is no longer available online
Copyright © 2015 by Judith Cobb, Cobblestone Health Ltd. All rights reserved. Please respect the time it takes to write and publish articles. If you will link to this article and give proper attribution, you are encouraged to quote sections (though not the entire article).