ANTIBIOTICS & HORMONES
For the past 20 years, much of our nation’s milk has come from cows injected with a genetically engineered growth hormone. The hormone was introduced into our dairy in 1994 has two interchangeable names: recombinant bovine somatropine (rBST) and recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH).
RBGH has dominated the milk market almost since the FDA approved it in 1993. It was the first genetically engineered product ever brought to market.
So what is rBGH anyway? Although the product is made in a lab, it’s designed to mimic a hormone that’s naturally produced in a cow’s pituitary glands. It’s injected into cows every two weeks to boost their hormonal activity, causing them to produce an additional 10 to 15 percent more milk, or about one extra gallon each day.
If all you knew about rBGH and this hormone was that it increased milk production, you might think it was a good thing. Why shouldn’t we use every means at our disposal to boost the supply of such a nutritious food?
Well, besides increasing milk production, rBGH apparently does a few other things, too.
First of all, the product seems to be hazardous to the cows. The package itself warns of such bovine problems as “increases in cystic ovaries and disorders of the uterus,” “decreases in gestation length and birth weight of calves,” and “increased risk of clinical mastitis.” Mastitis is a painful type of udder infection that causes cows to pump out bacteria and pus along with milk, requiring treatment with antibiotics and other meds that can end up in the milk.
80% of antibiotics are now used on our livestock here in the U.S. And overexposure to antibiotics tends to kill off the friendly bacteria in our intestines—bacteria that we need for our digestion and immune system. Many doctors believe that too many antibiotics at too early an age is part of the reason that kids are more likely to be allergic: their immune systems aren’t being given the “microbial environment” that they require. Wonder how many “extra” antibiotics our kids are getting in their milk, cheese, and yogurt? Maybe it’s not just about those hand sanitizers.
And then on top of that, allergies are the body’s response to proteins that it considers “toxic invaders,” and that genetically engineered proteins may spark new allergies. According to CNN and a recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Immunology, milk allergy is now the most common food allergy in the U.S., having risen to the number-one position in the last 10 years. It’s even starting to affect the sale of milk in schools. Might rBGH be a factor in that increase?
Health concerns include possible link to cancer
As early as 1998, an article in the Lancet, the prestigious British medical journal, reported that women with even relatively small increases of a hormone known as Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) were up to seven times more likely to develop premenopausal breast cancer.
And guess what? According to a January 1996 report in the International Journal of Health Services, rBGH milk has up to 10 times the IGF-1 levels of natural milk. More recent studies have put the figure even higher, at something like 20-fold.
Now stop and think about that for a minute, while correlation is not causation, breast cancer used to be something that women got later in life. Premenopausal breast cancer was so rare that when young women presented their physicians with breast cancer symptoms, the doctors often failed to diagnose it, simply because it was so unlikely that an “older women’s disease” would be found among young women.
But according to the Young Survival Coalition, one in 229 women between the ages of 30 and 39 will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the next ten years. Why are all these young women now getting breast cancer? And what about the effects of IGF-1-laden milk on older women, who are already at greater risk for breast cancer?
In case you think that the rising cancer rates have something to do with genetics, stop and think again. According to the Breast Cancer Fund, 1 in 8 women now have breast cancer. But only 10 percent of those cases can be linked to genetics. In other words, 90 percent of breast cancers being diagnosed today are being triggered by factors in our environment.
Lactose is not well tolerated by most people. Even if it’s seemingly unnoticeable, removing lactose from the diet can make a good difference. In fact, our pancreas produces lactase, the lactose digestive enzyme, up until the age of two to cover the period where we are really supposed to drink the stuff.
Another problem with dairy is the high amount of carbs in it and the fact that it’s highly insulin promoting. This can exacerbate problems related to weight and insulin control.
Since dairy is growth promoting because of a multitude of growth factors like IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor 1), undesirable things like acne can become a problem and some people argue that cancer cells could also develop much faster with dairy.
Whey or milk serum is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained.
“Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey….curds is the cottage cheese and whey is the juice.
The UGLY about Dairy
Even if you’re not lactose or casein intolerant and are not worried by the weight gain or higher insulin levels, regular grocery bought milk is still a very poor choice. The cows probably ate a diet of corn and soy while confined in a very tight environment. As if it wasn’t enough, we skim the milk to reduce the healthy saturated fat and we pasteurize it, rendering some enzymes and beneficial bacteria infective.
Grain-fed cows will produce a milk much higher in omega-6 fatty acids and lower in omega-3 fatty acids, which, in the long-term, will trigger inflammation which is the one thing you want to limit for good health.
Pasteurization is known to destroy the good bacteria, enzymes, raw fat, and cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) that is found in raw milk. Among other things, pasteurized milk is known to cause all kinds of health troubles, from digestive upset to perhaps even autism and diabetes. These ailments are from the processing of milk into something your body can’t optimally use.
The GOOD about Dairy
Fresh Organic Butter
Grass-fed, pasture-raised and organic cows will produce a milk of a much higher quality. Other than the heart healthy saturated fats, it’s high in vitamin K2, omega-3 fatty acids, CLA (Conjugated linoleic acid), a powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer linoleic acid. Note that the K2 and CLA are mostly in the fat so you’ll get all the benefits of it just by consuming butter without the risks associated with milk’s lactose, casein and carbs.
Ghee (clarified butter) is butter that has been slowly melted and cooked so milk solids separate and traces of water evaporate from it. What you get in essentially pure butter fat, which is absolutely delicious and healthy. It’s heat resistant so you can cook with it at high temperature (regular butter can burn) and it will stay good for a long time, even at room temperature.
Unless you’re dealing with severe autoimmune diseases, I only see advantages to consuming generous amounts of clarified butter (traces of casein have been found in organic butter and ghee and have been known to affect some people with autoimmune issues).
Can I ever have milk or cheese again?
This will be your choice based on the information that you have about how Dairy effects on your health.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Do I have any autoimmune conditions that may be affected by dairy?
- Do I have any other conditions that warrant avoiding dairy (acne, allergies, digestive issues, leaky gut, etc)
Best choices of dairy products
If you decide to consume dairy:
- Use organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed, full fat and fermented (yogurt, kefir, cheese).
- Use Raw dairy direct from the farmer, which will retain all the original properties of the milk.
- Try Raw organic goat or sheep’s milk (and/or byproducts)