by Ingri Cassel
Pasteurized, homogenized cow's milk has been promoted as the perfect food for humans, especially for our children. This multi-generational advertising campaign has been so successful that the industry has a $multi-million advertising budget and a legislative lobbying influence in congress so powerful that every child in a public school receives a pint of milk each day -- whether he or she can pay for it or not.
In 1999 the Department of Agriculture donated $200 million to America's dairy farmers despite the fact that the wholesale price for milk had reached the highest levels in history.
Most people have been so conditioned to believe that the healthy growth of their children's bones is dependent upon receiving calcium from processed cow's milk that they view milk commercials as more of a public service announcement than an attempt by businessmen to sell a product.
Several well-footnoted books and countless articles on the subject show that processed cow's milk is not healthy for humans and, to the contrary, has been linked to a wide range of physiological complications. The list of problems that have been associated with the consumption of milk and dairy products includes iron deficiency anemia, allergies, diarrhea, heart disease, colic, cramps, gastrointestinal bleeding, sinusitis, skin rashes, acne, arthritis, diabetes, ear infections, osteoporosis, asthma, autoimmune diseases and possibly even lung cancer, multiple sclerosis and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Milk and dairy products are acid-forming and mucus-producing substances that provide the ideal bodily environment for many children and adults to experience increased frequency of colds and flues.
The milk of mammals is species-specific and cow's milk is a species-specific food for calves. Dr. Frank Oski explains in his book Don't Drink Your Milk!, ?The milk of each species appears to have been specifically designed to protect the young of that species.....Heating, sterilization, or modification of the milk in any way destroys the protection.?
There is a tremendous difference between human babies and baby calves and a corresponding difference between the milk intended to nourish human babies and baby calves. It takes about 180 days for a human infant to double its birth weight, and human milk is five to seven percent protein. It takes only 45 days for a calf to double its birth weight and cow's milk is 15 percent protein. This protein in cow's milk is of a different composition than that of human milk and is poorly assimilated in the human body. The primary type of protein in cow's milk is casein. According to Dr. John R. Christopher, N.D., M.H., there is up to 20 times more casein in cow's milk than human milk which makes the nutrients in cow's milk difficult (if not impossible) for humans to assimilate.
Lost in the process
Pasteurizing milk destroys enzymes and reduces the vitamin content by over 50 percent. Raw milk contains beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus acidolphilus which holds the putrefactive bacteria in check. This is why raw milk will eventually curdle and sour if allowed to sit at room temperature. Pasteurized milk, not having any beneficial bacteria or enzymes, eventually rots.
The irony of pasteurization is that it destroys the germicidal properties of milk. Experimental animals deteriorate rapidly on pasteurized milk. For instance, calves fed pasteurized milk die within 60 days, as shown by numerous experiments. So why do we pasteurize milk? 1) It extends the shelf life of milk from five days to several weeks and 2) It enables the farmer to have lower standards of cleanliness. The standards for certified dairy herds and milk handlers of raw milk are considerably higher than for herds whose milk is to be pasteurized. Homogenizing milk has been linked to the rise in arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart disease. The culprit is an enzyme in milk called xanthine oxidase (XO) which partly survives pasteurization (40 percent). When the cream in milk is in it's natural state, the fat globules are too large to go through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.
Homogenization changes that by straining the fat through tiny pores under great pressure. XO attaches to the fat molecules (now reduced in size but increased in amount a hundred times) which are now small enough to get into the bloodstream and do its damage.
Scientists have discovered that a significant amount of XO is present in areas of hardened and blocked arteries. XO is not present in human milk. In clean, raw cow's milk. XO is not absorbed by the intestines.
Your bones are a mineral bank for your body storing 99 percent calcium, 85 percent phosphorus and 60 percent magnesium. When mineral levels are low in the blood, osteoclasts break down bone to free up these minerals and deposit them in the blood. Excessive animal protein intake increases the need for calcium to neutralize the acid formed from digesting animal protein. This indicates that the drinking of processed milk destroys bone in the process of digestion -- the opposite of what the Dairy Farmer's Association of America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration has been telling the American public for generations.
Conditioning the American public to believe that processed cow's milk is beneficial, if not critical to growing healthy bodies is not unlike conditioning the American public to believe that fluoride prevents tooth decay.
Jethro Kloss, author of the internationally recognized and revered herbalist resource guide ?Back to Eden? stated in 1939 that, ?Cow's milk is unfit for human consumption? and causes the symptoms of ?intestinal auto-intoxication.?
The Monsanto connection
In 1994 the FDA approved the use of recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST -- better known as bovine growth hormone -- BGH), a genetically-engineered hormone manufactured by Monsanto that increases milk production in cows by 10 percent to 25 percent. The milk from cows treated with BGH contains elevated levels insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), one of the most powerful growth factors ever identified. While IGF-1 doesn't cause cancer, it definitely stimulates its growth. Recent studies have found a seven-fold increase in the risk of breast cancer in women with the highest IGF-1 levels, and a four-fold increase in prostate cancer in men with the highest levels of IGF-1.
BGH is banned in both Canada and Europe. BGH-treated cows are also more likely to contract mastitis, a persistent infection of the cows' udders. These cows are then treated with a myriad of antibiotics and sulfa drugs. Trace amounts of these drugs as well as pus and bacteria from the infected udders are also found in their milk. Many of these antibiotics, even in trace amounts, can cause allergic reactions -- from mild reactions such as hives to anaphylactic shock.
The role of Monsanto, one of the world's largest chemical corporations and developer of the terminator gene for seed crops, in the willful adulteration and contamination of milk must be considered. Monsanto, also one of the world's most prolific polluters, intends to control the world's food supply by making sure that farmers must come back and purchase its seed year after year because terminator gene-containing plants will not produce viable seed. Monsanto also developed the FDA-approved bovine growth hormone that increases production at the expense of the cow and the health of the adults and children who drink the milk.
Kloss' statement, which cannot be interpreted as ?vague? or confusing, was published long before Monsanto was able to further contaminate milk with bovine growth hormone. If cow's milk was ?unfit for human consumption? in 1939, has Monsanto and the FDA, with the introduction and approval of BGH, made it more or less fit than it was before WWII?
Dietary alternatives to cow calcium
Our nutritional education in school (funded in part by the dairy industry) taught us that dairy products are one of the four basic food groups we ALL need for proper nutrition. Largely as a result of this K-12 conditioning, the average American consumes 375 pounds of dairy products a year. One out of every seven dollars spent on groceries in the U.S. goes to buy dairy products.
There is no question that cow's milk contains calcium. What is in question is how much of that calcium is made available to the body through the digestive process.
We have been told all of our lives to drink plenty of milk in order to build strong teeth and bones. Curiously, the U.S. as a whole records the highest consumption of dairy products in the world and also boasts the highest incidence of bone fractures and osteoporosis in the world. In the January 1988 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, scientists reported that calcium excretion and bone loss increase in proportion to the amount of animal protein ingested. Animal proteins, due to their high sulfur content, alter the kidney's reabsorption of calcium, so that more calcium is excreted on a diet based upon meats, eggs and dairy products. People on high protein diets excrete between 90 to 100 mg. of calcium a day.
The difference in health between consumers of milk and those who choose to abstain are astounding. Dr. John R. Christopher tells the story of a woman who came to his office with her three grown daughters. All three daughters were encouraged by their mother to drink lots of milk but one of the daughters had rebelled. The two daughters who dutifully drank their milk and lots of it wore false teeth whereas the third daughter who abstained still had all her teeth intact.
Being a former La Leche League leader, I have heard numerous stories told by mothers of the trials and tribulations of raising children. The most frequent success stories I have heard about resolving chronic ear infections and frequent trips to the doctor's office is the elimination of dairy products. Over and over again these women relate how surprised they were to have healthy kids at last. Others have found that milk, being quite addictive, was more difficult to eliminate totally. These families would go on a dairy binge periodically. The following week they would pay for it with a flare up of symptoms from the build up of mucus.
Dr. J.Dan Baggert, a pediatrician in Alabama, describes his experience after recommending that ALL his patient's eliminate cow's milk from their diets:
In Don't Drink Your Milk, Dr. Baggert was quoted as stating, ?During the years from 1963 through 1967, I referred an average of four appendectomy cases per year. During the past five and a half years, I have referred only two patients for appendectomy, the last one being three years ago. Both of these children were professed milk guzzlers.... I do not have a single case of asthma. In fact, I have nearly forgotten how to prescribe for them....
?Perhaps the most significant thing I have learned is that Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus germ will not, under ordinary circumstances, establish an infection in a child kept on an absolutely no-milk-protein dietary regimen. I have been aware of this for the past two and a half years and, so far, there have been no exceptions. Anytime a patient of mine is found to have streptococcal pharyngitis or pyoderma, we can establish by history that he ingested milk protein within five days prior to onset of symptoms or signs bringing him to the office....
?I now admit an average of 12-14 patients per year to the hospital. Their average hospital stay is three days. Between 1963 and 1967, I admitted an average of 100+ patients to the hospital per year. Their average stay was five days.?
Considering all this evidence, it would be difficult to still buy into the media hype that cow's milk is the perfect food and natural for humans to consume. So what do you drink instead? Distilled water, herbal teas and fresh-extracted fruit and vegetable juices. And if you are a newborn infant, there are two obvious alternatives -- the right and left breast of your healthy mother.
To increase dietary calcium, consider increasing your consumption of green leafy vegetables such as collards, kale and spinach. Adding these greens to soups, stews and even chili is a more appetizing way to incorporate them into your diet. Carrots and their juice are also an excellent source of highly assimilable calcium.
From the February 2000 Idaho Observer:
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
The article states the case quite nicely for avoiding milk. However, the author is not a physician and does not realize that one also needs vitamin D for calcium absorption. Vitamin D is added to nearly all milk and is a highly important nutrient to supplement if you live in a climate (most of us) that does not allow you access to regular sun exposure in the winter. I advise 400 units from October to April for anyone in this situation. Toddlers likely require half that amount I would also advise seeking a natural, not synthetic vitamin D.