Milk – it’s got the lot (of grot)! Milk hormone cocktail, anyone?
A cow is milked for the first seven months of her nine month pregnancy and the cycle recommences shortly after each birth, ensuring milk contains many biologically active molecules.
Milk is a hormone cocktail
Fancy a cocktail? How about one full of milk hormone? In a typical glass of milk or bite of cheese, there are 35 hormones and 11 growth factors, including IGF-1, oestrogen and progesterone, adrenal, pituitary, hypothalamic and other hormones.
IGF wot not?
IGF-1 stands for insulin-like growth factor-1. It is a growth hormone that controls growth and development in both cows and people but each species has very different rates of growth. IGF-1 in cows’ milk survives pasteurisation and can cross the intestinal wall and enter the blood. It is thought that it makes us produce more of our own IGF-1. Even small increases in our levels of IGF-1 increase the risk of several common cancers, including breast, prostate, lung and colon. Higher intakes of milk and dairy products (milk hormone) are linked to raised levels of IGF-1, whereas vegetable consumption, particularly tomatoes, are linked to lower levels of IGF-1. Increasing cows’ milk intake from 200 to 600 ml a day produced a 30 per cent increase in IGF-1 in young boys. The research is clear – cows’ milk and dairy products increase levels of IGF-1, which in turn increase the risk of many cancers (Butler, 2014).
Pus in milk
Another undesirable in milk is pus (yes, that creamy-green stuff that oozes out of infections)! Milk containing up to 400 million pus cells per litre is legally allowed to be sold for human consumption – even higher levels in goats’ milk. Why so much? Because modern, intensive dairy farming ensures that 30 per cent of British dairy cows have mastitis – a painful infection of the udders – at any given time. Pus is a product of the cow’s almost constant fight against bacterial invasion and some of it finds its way into her milk. Next are some of the health problems linked to dairy foods together with a sample of the scientific research that unearthed them.