Sep 1, 2012
Does milk do a body good?
A growing body of research suggests that drinking cow’s milk can increase the risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures, and prostate cancer.
A majority of women think of calcium as the first line of defense against the bone-thinning disease, osteoporosis. Doctors, dietitians, the American Dietetic Association (now called the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) recommend consuming dairy products and calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis. The hype and misconceptions surrounding dairy products and calcium for bone health have earned milk and dairy products a secure place in the government’s dietary guidelines, the USDA Food Pyramid Guide, which directly encourages dairy product consumption and indirectly promotes calcium pills, which are now the biggest seller in the US dietary supplement industry, with annual sales of nearly $1 billion.
Whey protein powders, popular with Paleo dieters and bodybuilders, are potentially as troublesome as dairy products and calcium supplements due to their high concentration of leucine, a branched-chain amino acid that stimulates cellular growth factors that initiate and promote prostate cancer and perhaps other types of deadly tumors. Ironically, the original Paleo diet (1.0) contained no whey protein and presumably did not increase the risk of whey-protein-related cancers. Recent research supports this: it has been shown that prostate cancer initiation and progression are promoted by cow´s milk, but not human milk, through stimulation of mTORC1 signaling. mTOR integrates the input from upstream pathways, including insulin, such growth factors as IGF-1 and -2, and amino acids, particularly the branched-chain aminos, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. mTOR also senses cellular nutrient and energy level redox status. In a future post, I’ll tell you about a unique nutraceutical protocol that can mitigate the cancer-promoting effects of mTOR.
- A growing number of studies now call into question the safety of drinking fortified milk and of taking calcium supplements, despite the endorsements of The National Osteoporosis Foundation, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and The National Dairy Council (the leading US dairy industry political lobby group). In truth, it is an established and verifiable fact that no one, including infants, requires cow’s milk for healthy bone growth. Moreover, a number of studies suggest that cow’s milk consumption can set the stage for cancer later in life.
- Many African Americans are unable to digest lactose, the sugar in milk. A print advertising campaign promoting the beverage shows tennis professionals Venus and Serena Williams with milk mustaches—a ringing endorsement for milk drinking by these two very popular tennis stars. The title of the print ad is “Eat to Win,” which is also the title of my #1-bestselling book. A majority of African Americans do not make enough of the enzyme required to digest the lactose in cow’s milk, and as a result, they could suffer bouts of diarrhea, bloating, gas, and indigestion when they follow the Williams sisters’ advice.
- The widely publicized Harvard Nurses’ Study showed that drinking milk does not protect against fractures. This landmark study revealed that drinking milk might actually lead to osteoporosis and bone fractures. The study recruited 77,761 women between 34 and 59 years of age in 1980, and followed them for the next 12 years. Women who drank two or more glasses of milk per day experienced a slightly higher risk of arm fracture (5 percent increase) and significantly higher risk of hip fracture (45 percent increase), compared to those who drank little or no milk, even after researchers took into account body weight, menopausal status, smoking, and alcohol use. Results of this study suggest that adults who drink cow’s milk do not enjoy excellent bone health and may increase their risk of bone fractures of the hip and arm.
- The Harvard study findings are consistent with results of other published studies, which show that fracture rates in the US, Scandinavia, and other countries where dairy products are commonly consumed are actually much higher, not lower, than in Asia and other areas where inhabitants rarely consume milk and dairy products. South African women, on average, consume only 200 mg of calcium per day, yet their rate of fractures is much lower than in US women. Bantu women consume between 220-450 mg calcium per day. A typical Bantu woman may give birth to seven to eight children and breastfeed each of them for two years or more. Yet osteoporosis is not prevalent among Bantus, even in women over 65 years of age—a remarkable achievement considering Bantu women never drink fortified cow’s milk.
The original Paleolithic diet (1.0) did not contain a drop of cow’s milk—or any other milk except that from nursing mothers. Consider the health effects fortified cow’s milk has on 21st century kids. If your current favorite Paleo diet guru says it’s okay to consume dairy products or recommends that you gulp down whey protein powder drinks, shakes, and smoothies, you might want to find another guru. Consider the following:
- Every sip of cow’s milk contains a cocktail composed of dozens of bioactive hormones. Hormones in milk exert powerful biological effects. Each species of mammal has a different formula. Cow’s milk contains hormones, and nursing on cow’s milk will deliver these hormones to the human body.
- Milk has always been a hormonal delivery system, providing nursing infants with nature’s perfect food for the young of each species. Lactoferrins, immunoglobulins, and hormones in human breast milk provide outstanding nutrition for nursing humans. These beneficial compounds are absent from pasteurized cow’s milk while harmful compounds abound that can adversely affect the human genome.
- On average a woman will naturally produce in her lifetime the equivalent of only one tablespoon of estrogen. It takes only a billionth of a gram of estrogen hormone to produce a powerful biological effect. When young girls drink cow’s milk or eat cheese, ice cream, or yogurt, it’s as if they’re swallowing estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin pills.
- Early sexual maturity is unnatural and unhealthy. In the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, 2,291 of the 65,000 participants developed breast cancer. Researchers found that earlier menarche and taller adult height were predictive of elevated breast carcinoma risk. This study provides evidence that breast cancer risk is influenced by pre-adulthood factors, and thus prevention efforts that begin in childhood and adolescence are essential to lifelong breast health.
- Young girls should not take birth control pills. Young girls typically do not inject steroids and do not require estrogen replacement therapy. Yet these are the compounds they ingest in cow’s milk and dairy products. Little girls are born with bodies that are genetically pre-programmed to transform them into women. By consuming cow’s milk and cow’s milk products, little girls can reach puberty long before Mother Nature intended.
- A 2012 study comparing the effects of isoflavone-rich soy vs. whey protein found that perimenopausal women who consumed whey protein for 24 weeks experienced a 1.73% loss of lumbar spine bone vs. a +0.62% increase in lumbar spine bone.
- Cow’s milk is not nearly as good a source of calcium as other far more digestible foods. Compare the 118 mg calcium/100 grams cow’s milk with calcium in 100 grams of the following foods:
Almonds (254 mg)
Broccoli (130 mg)
Kale (187 mg)
Kelp (1,093 mg)
Sardines (400 mg)
Sesame seeds (1,160 mg)
- Men face potential health problems if they consume whey protein powders because they contain a high concentration of branched-chain amino acids, most notably, leucine, which, as mentioned above, promotes the gene expression of mTOR and IGF–two growth signaling proteins strongly linked to initiation and progression of prostate cancer. mTOR signaling stimulates cell growth (through the mTORC1 complex), cell proliferation, gene transcription, insulin synthesis, lipid synthesis, protein synthesis, and ribosome biogenesis.
- A recently published analysis of the association between intake of dairy products and the incidence and survival of prostate cancer anger during a 28-y follow-up in the Physicians’ Health Study (n = 21,660) and a survival analysis among the incident prostate cancer cases (n = 2806) revealed that the intake of total dairy products was associated with increased prostate cancer incidence. Specifically, men who consumed >2.5 servings/day vs. ≤0.5 servings/d] experienced increased risk of low-grade, early stage, and screen-detected prostate cancers, whereas whole milk intake was associated only with fatal prostate cancer (1 serving/day vs. rarely consumed). Study investigators concluded: “Only whole milk was consistently associated with higher incidence of fatal PCa in the entire cohort and higher prostate cancer-specific mortality among cases.”
- Consumption of fermented milk products may provide a number of health benefits. Studies suggest that populations that consume fermented milk products enjoy a reduced risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.
☆ Disclaimer: This is my informed opinion. I could be wrong. What do you think?
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