|THE MILK LETTER : A MESSAGE TO MY PATIENTS|
Robert M. Kradjian, MD
Breast Surgery Chief Division of General Surgery,
Seton Medical Centre #302 - 1800 Sullivan Ave.
Daly City, CA 94015 USA
"MILK" Just the word itself sounds comforting! "How about anice cup of hot milk?" The last time you heard that questionit was from someone who cared for you--and you appreciatedtheir effort. The entire matter of food and especially that of milk issurrounded with emotional and cultural importance. Milk wasour very first food. If we were fortunate it was ourmother's milk. A loving link, given and taken. It was theonly path to survival. If not mother's milk it was cow'smilk or soy milk "formula"--rarely it was goat, camel orwater buffalo milk. Now, we are a nation of milk drinkers. Nearly all of us.Infants, the young, adolescents, adults and even the aged.We drink dozens or even several hundred gallons a year andadd to that many pounds of "dairy products" such as cheese,butter, and yogurt. Can there be anything wrong with this? We see reassuringimages of healthy, beautiful people on our televisionscreens and hear messages that assure us that, "Milk is goodfor your body." Our dieticians insist that: "You've got tohave milk, or where will you get your calcium?" Schoollunches always include milk and nearly every hospital mealwill have milk added. And if that isn't enough, ournutritionists told us for years that dairy products make upan "essential food group." Industry spokesmen made sure thatcolourful charts proclaiming the necessity of milk and otheressential nutrients were made available at no cost forschools. Cow's milk became "normal." You may be surprised to learn that most of the human beingsthat live on planet Earth today do not drink or use cow'smilk. Further, most of them can't drink milk because itmakes them ill. There are students of human nutrition who are not supportiveof milk use for adults. Here is a quotation from theMarch/April 1991 Utne Reader: If you really want to play it safe, you may decide to jointhe growing number of Americans who are eliminating dairyproducts from their diets altogether. Although this soundsradical to those of us weaned on milk and the five basicfood groups, it is eminently viable. Indeed, of all themammals, only humans--and then only a minority, principallyCaucasians--continue to drink milk beyond babyhood. Who is right? Why the confusion? Where best to get ouranswers? Can we trust milk industry spokesmen? Can you trustany industry spokesmen? Are nutritionists up to date or arethey simply repeating what their professors learned yearsago? What about the new voices urging caution? I believe that there are three reliable sources ofinformation. The first, and probably the best, is a study ofnature. The second is to study the history of our ownspecies. Finally we need to look at the world's scientificliterature on the subject of milk. Let's look at the scientific literature first. From 1988 to1993 there were over 2,700 articles dealing with milkrecorded in the 'Medicine' archives. Fifteen hundred oftheses had milk as the main focus of the article. There isno lack of scientific information on this subject. Ireviewed over 500 of the 1,500 articles, discarding articlesthat dealt exclusively with animals, esoteric research andinconclusive studies. How would I summarize the articles? They were only slightlyless than horrifying. First of all, none of the authorsspoke of cow's milk as an excellent food, free of sideeffects and the 'perfect food' as we have been led tobelieve by the industry. The main focus of the publishedreports seems to be on intestinal colic, intestinalirritation, intestinal bleeding, anemia, allergic reactionsin infants and children as well as infections such assalmonella. More ominous is the fear of viral infection withbovine leukemia virus or an AIDS-like virus as well asconcern for childhood diabetes. Contamination of milk byblood and white (pus) cells as well as a variety ofchemicals and insecticides was also discussed. Amongchildren the problems were allergy, ear and tonsillarinfections, bedwetting, asthma, intestinal bleeding, colicand childhood diabetes. In adults the problems seemedcentered more around heart disease and arthritis, allergy,sinusitis, and the more serious questions of leukemia,lymphoma and cancer. I think that an answer can also be found in a considerationof what occurs in nature & what happens with free livingmammals and what happens with human groups living in closeto a natural state as 'hunter-gatherers'. Our paleolithic ancestors are another crucial andinteresting group to study. Here we are limited tospeculation and indirect evidences, but the bony remainsavailable for our study are remarkable. There is no doubtwhatever that these skeletal remains reflect great strength,muscularity (the size of the muscular insertions show this),and total absence of advanced osteoporosis. And if you feelthat these people are not important for us to study,consider that today our genes are programming our bodies inalmost exactly the same way as our ancestors of 50,000 to100,000 years ago. WHAT IS MILK? Milk is a maternal lactating secretion, a short termnutrient for new-borns. Nothing more, nothing less.Invariably, the mother of any mammal will provide her milkfor a short period of time immediately after birth. When thetime comes for 'weaning', the young offspring is introducedto the proper food for that species of mammal. A familiarexample is that of a puppy. The mother nurses the pup forjust a few weeks and then rejects the young animal andteaches it to eat solid food. Nursing is provided by natureonly for the very youngest of mammals. Of course, it is notpossible for animals living in a natural state to continuewith the drinking of milk after weaning. IS ALL MILK THE SAME? Then there is the matter of where we get our milk. We havesettled on the cow because of its docile nature, its size,and its abundant milk supply. Somehow this choice seems'normal' and blessed by nature, our culture, and ourcustoms. But is it natural? Is it wise to drink the milk ofanother species of mammal? Consider for a moment, if it was possible, to drink the milkof a mammal other than a cow, let's say a rat. Or perhapsthe milk of a dog would be more to your liking. Possiblysome horse milk or cat milk. Do you get the idea? Well, I'mnot serious about this, except to suggest that human milk isfor human infants, dogs' milk is for pups, cows' milk is forcalves, cats' milk is for kittens, and so forth. Clearly,this is the way nature intends it. Just use your own goodjudgement on this one. Milk is not just milk. The milk of every species of mammalis unique and specifically tailored to the requirements ofthat animal. For example, cows' milk is very much richer inprotein than human milk. Three to four times as much. It hasfive to seven times the mineral content. However, it ismarkedly deficient in essential fatty acids when compared tohuman mothers' milk. Mothers' milk has six to ten times asmuch of the essential fatty acids, especially linoleic acid.(Incidentally, skimmed cow's milk has no linoleic acid). Itsimply is not designed for humans. Food is not just food, and milk is not just milk. It is notonly the proper amount of food but the proper qualitativecomposition that is critical for the very best in health andgrowth. Biochemists and physiologists -and rarely medicaldoctors - are gradually learning that foods contain thecrucial elements that allow a particular species to developits unique specializations. Clearly, our specialization is for advanced neurologicaldevelopment and delicate neuromuscular control. We do nothave much need of massive skeletal growth or huge musclegroups as does a calf. Think of the difference between thedemands make on the human hand and the demands on a cow'shoof. Human new-borns specifically need critical materialfor their brains, spinal cord and nerves. Can mother's milk increase intelligence? It seems that itcan. In a remarkable study published in Lancet during 1992(Vol. 339, p. 261-4), a group of British workers randomlyplaced premature infants into two groups. One group receiveda proper formula, the other group received human breastmilk. Both fluids were given by stomach tube. These childrenwere followed up for over 10 years. In intelligence testing,the human milk children averaged 10 IQ points higher! Well,why not? Why wouldn't the correct building blocks for therapidly maturing and growing brain have a positive effect? In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1982) RalphHolman described an infant who developed profoundneurological disease while being nourished by intravenousfluids only. The fluids used contained only linoleic acid -just one of the essential fatty acids. When the other, alphalinoleic acid, was added to the intravenous fluids theneurological disorders cleared. In the same journal five years later Bjerve, Mostad andThoresen, working in Norway found exactly the same problemin adult patients on long term gastric tube feeding. In 1930 Dr. G.O. Burr in Minnesota working with rats foundthat linoleic acid deficiencies created a deficiencysyndrome. Why is this mentioned? In the early 1960spediatricians found skin lesions in children fed formulaswithout the same linoleic acid. Remembering the research,the addition of the acid to the formula cured the problem.Essential fatty acids are just that and cows' milk ismarkedly deficient in these when compared to human milk. WELL, AT LEAST COW'S MILK IS PURE Or is it? Fifty years ago an average cow produced 2,000pounds of milk per year. Today the top producers give 50,000pounds! How was this accomplished? Drugs, antibiotics,hormones, forced feeding plans and specialized breeding;that's how. The latest high-tech onslaught on the poor cow is bovinegrowth hormone or BGH. This genetically engineered drug issupposed to stimulate milk production but, according toMonsanto, the hormone's manufacturer, does not affect themilk or meat. There are three other manufacturers: Upjohn,Eli Lilly, and American Cyanamid Company. Obviously, therehave been no long-term studies on the hormone's effect onthe humans drinking the milk. Other countries have bannedBGH because of safety concerns. One of the problems withadding molecules to a milk cows' body is that the moleculesusually come out in the milk. I don't know how you feel, butI don't want to experiment with the ingestion of a growthhormone. A related problem is that it causes a markedincrease (50 to 70 per cent) in mastitis. This, then,requires antibiotic therapy, and the residues of theantibiotics appear in the milk. It seems that the public isuneasy about this product and in one survey 43 per cent feltthat growth hormone treated milk represented a health risk.A vice president for public policy at Monsanto was opposedto labelling for that reason, and because the labellingwould create an 'artificial distinction'. The country isawash with milk as it is, we produce more milk than we canconsume. Let's not create storage costs and further taxpayerburdens, because the law requires the USDA to buy anysurplus of butter, cheese, or non-fat dry milk at a supportprice set by Congress! In fiscal 1991, the USDA spent $757million on surplus butter, and one billion dollars a year onaverage for price supports during the 1980s (ConsumerReports, May 1992: 330-32). Any lactating mammal excretes toxins through her milk. Thisincludes antibiotics, pesticides, chemicals and hormones.Also, all cows' milk contains blood! The inspectors aresimply asked to keep it under certain limits. You may behorrified to learn that the USDA allows milk to contain fromone to one and a half million white blood cells permillilitre. (That's only 1/30 of an ounce). If you don'talready know this, I'm sorry to tell you that another way todescribe white cells where they don't belong would be tocall them pus cells. To get to the point, is milk pure or isit a chemical, biological, and bacterial cocktail? Finally,will the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protect you? TheUnited States General Accounting Office (GAO) tells us thatthe FDA and the individual States are failing to protect thepublic from drug residues in milk. Authorities test for only4 of the 82 drugs in dairy cows. As you can imagine, the Milk Industry Foundation's spokesmanclaims it's perfectly safe. Jerome Kozak says, "I stillthink that milk is the safest product we have." Other, perhaps less biased observers, have found thefollowing: 38% of milk samples in 10 cities werecontaminated with sulfa drugs or other antibiotics. (Thisfrom the Centre for Science in the Public Interest and TheWall Street Journal, Dec. 29, 1989).. A similar study inWashington, DC found a 20 percent contamination rate(Nutrition Action Healthletter, April 1990). What's going on here? When the FDA tested milk, they foundfew problems. However, they used very lax standards. Whenthey used the same criteria, the FDA data showed 51 percentof the milk samples showed drug traces. Let's focus in on this because itÂ’s critical to ourunderstanding of the apparent discrepancies. The FDA uses adisk-assay method that can detect only 2 of the 30 or sodrugs found in milk. Also, the test detects only at therelatively high level. A more powerful test called the'Charm II test' can detect drugs down to 5 parts perbillion. One nasty subject must be discussed. It seems that cows areforever getting infections around the udder that requireointments and antibiotics. An article from France tells usthat when a cow receives penicillin, that penicillin appearsin the milk for from 4 to 7 milkings. Another study from theUniversity of Nevada, Reno tells of cells in 'mastic milk',milk from cows with infected udders. An elaborate analysisof the cell fragments, employing cell cultures, flowcytometric analysis , and a great deal of high tech stuff.Do you know what the conclusion was? If the cow hasmastitis, there is pus in the milk. Sorry, itÂ’s in thestudy, all concealed with language such as "macrophagescontaining many vacuoles and phagocytosed particles," etc. IT GETS WORSE Well, at least human mothers' milk is pure! Sorry. A hugestudy showed that human breast milk in over 14,000 women hadcontamination by pesticides! Further, it seems that thesources of the pesticides are meat and--you guessed it--dairy products. Well, why not? These pesticides areconcentrated in fat and that's what's in these products. (Ofinterest, a subgroup of lactating vegetarian mothers hadonly half the levels of contamination). A recent report showed an increased concentration ofpesticides in the breast tissue of women with breast cancerwhen compared to the tissue of women with fibrocysticdisease. Other articles in the standard medical literaturedescribe problems. Just scan these titles: 1.Cow's Milk as a Cause of Infantile Colic Breast-FedInfants. Lancet 2 (1978): 437 2.Dietary Protein-InducedColitis in Breast- Fed Infants, J. Pediatr. I01 (1982): 9063.The Question of the Elimination of Foreign Protein inWomen's Milk, J. Immunology 19 (1930): 15 There are many others. There are dozens of studiesdescribing the prompt appearance of cows' milk allergy inchildren being exclusively breast-fed! The cows' milkallergens simply appear in the mother's milk and aretransmitted to the infant. A committee on nutrition of the American Academy ofPediatrics reported on the use of whole cows' milk ininfancy (Pediatrics 1983: 72-253). They were unable toprovide any cogent reason why bovine milk should be usedbefore the first birthday yet continued to recommend itsuse! Doctor Frank Oski from the Upstate Medical CentreDepartment of Pediatrics, commenting on the recommendation,cited the problems of acute gastrointestinal blood loss ininfants, the lack of iron, recurrent abdominal pain, milk-borne infections and contaminants, and said: Why give it at all - then or ever? In the face ofuncertainty about many of the potential dangers of wholebovine milk, it would seem prudent to recommend that wholemilk not be started until the answers are available. Isn'tit time for these uncontrolled experiments on humannutrition to come to an end? In the same issue of Pediatrics he further commented: It is my thesis that whole milk should not be fed to theinfant in the first year of life because of its associationwith iron deficiency anemia (milk is so deficient in ironthat an infant would have to drink an impossible 31 quarts aday to get the RDA of 15 mg), acute gastrointiestinalbleeding, and various manifestations of food allergy. I suggest that unmodified whole bovine milk should not beconsumed after infancy because of the problems of lactoseintolerance, its contribution to the genesis ofatherosclerosis, and its possible link to other diseases. In late 1992 Dr. Benjamin Spock, possibly the best knownpediatrician in history, shocked the country when hearticulated the same thoughts and specified avoidance forthe first two years of life. Here is his quotation: I want to pass on the word to parents that cows' milk fromthe carton has definite faults for some babies. Human milkis the right one for babies. A study comparing the incidenceof allergy and colic in the breast-fed infants of omnivorousand vegan mothers would be important. I haven't found such astudy; it would be both important and inexpensive. And itwill probably never be done. There is simply no academic oreconomic profit involved. OTHER PROBLEMS Let's just mention the problems of bacterial contamination.Salmonella, E. coli, and staphylococcal infections can betraced to milk. In the old days tuberculosis was a majorproblem and some folks want to go back to those times byinsisting on raw milk on the basis that it's "natural." Thisis insanity! A study from UCLA showed that over a third ofall cases of salmonella infection in California, 1980-1983were traced to raw milk. That'll be a way to revive good oldbrucellosis again and I would fear leukemia, too. (Moreabout that later). In England, and Wales where raw milk isstill consumed there have been outbreaks of milk-bornediseases. The Journal of the American Medical Association(251: 483, 1984) reported a multi-state series of infectionscaused by Yersinia enterocolitica in pasteurised whole milk.This is despite safety precautions. All parents dread juvenile diabetes for their children. ACanadian study reported in the American Journal of ClinicalNutrition, Mar. 1990, describes a "...significant positivecorrelation between consumption of unfermented milk proteinand incidence of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus in datafrom various countries. Conversely a possible negativerelationship is observed between breast-feeding at age 3months and diabetes risk.". Another study from Finland found that diabetic children hadhigher levels of serum antibodies to cowsÂ’ milk (DiabetesResearch 7(3): 137-140 March 1988). Here is a quotation fromthis study: We infer that either the pattern of cows' milk consumptionis altered in children who will have insulin dependentdiabetes mellitus or, their immunological reactivity toproteins in cows' milk is enhanced, or the permeability oftheir intestines to cows' milk protein is higher thannormal. The April 18, 1992 British Medical Journal has a fascinatingstudy contrasting the difference in incidence of juvenileinsulin dependent diabetes in Pakistani children who havemigrated to England. The incidence is roughly 10 timesgreater in the English group compared to children remainingin Pakistan! What caused this highly significant increase?The authors said that "the diet was unchanged in GreatBritain." Do you believe that? Do you think that theavailability of milk, sugar and fat is the same in Pakistanas it is in England? That a grocery store in England has thesame products as food sources in Pakistan? I don't believethat for a minute. Remember, we're not talking here aboutadult onset, type II diabetes which all workers agree isstrongly linked to diet as well as to a geneticpredisposition. This study is a major blow to the "it's allin your genes" crowd. Type I diabetes was always consideredto be genetic or possibly viral, but now this? So resistantare we to consider diet as causation that the authors of thelast article concluded that the cooler climate in Englandaltered viruses and caused the very real increase indiabetes! The first two authors had the same reluctance topadmit the obvious. The milk just may have had something todo with the disease. The latest in this remarkable list of reports, a New EnglandJournal of Medicine article (July 30, 1992), also reportedin the Los Angeles Times. This study comes from the Hospitalfor Sick Children in Toronto and from Finnish researchers.In Finland there is "...the world's highest rate of dairyproduct consumption and the world's highest rate of insulindependent diabetes. The disease strikes about 40 childrenout of every 1,000 there contrasted with six to eight per1,000 in the United States.... Antibodies produced againstthe milk protein during the first year of life, theresearchers speculate, also attack and destroy the pancreasin a so-called auto-immune reaction, producing diabetes inpeople whose genetic makeup leaves them vulnerable." "...142Finnish children with newly diagnosed diabetes. They foundthat every one had at least eight times as many antibodiesagainst the milk protein as did healthy children, clearevidence that the children had a raging auto immunedisorder." The team has now expanded the study to 400children and is starting a trial where 3,000 children willreceive no dairy products during the first nine months oflife. "The study may take 10 years, but we'll get adefinitive answer one way or the other," according to one ofthe researchers. I would caution them to be certain that thebreast feeding mothers use on cows' milk in their diets orthe results will be confounded by the transmission of thecows' milk protein in the mother's breast milk.... Now whatwas the reaction from the diabetes association? This is veryinteresting! Dr. F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, the president of theassociation says: "It does not mean that children shouldstop drinking milk or that parents of diabetics shouldwithdraw dairy products. These are rich sources of goodprotein." (Emphasis added) My God, it's the "good protein"that causes the problem! Do you suspect that the dairyindustry may have helped the American Diabetes Associationin the past? LEUKEMIA? LYMPHOMA? THIS MAY BE THE WORST--BRACE YOURSELF! I hate to tell you this, but the bovine leukemia virus isfound in more than three of five dairy cows in the UnitedStates! This involves about 80% of dairy herds.Unfortunately, when the milk is pooled, a very largepercentage of all milk produced is contaminated (90 to 95per cent). Of course the virus is killed in pasteurisation--if the pasteurisation was done correctly. What if the milkis raw? In a study of randomly collected raw milk samplesthe bovine leukemia virus was recovered from two-thirds. Isincerely hope that the raw milk dairy herds are carefullymonitored when compared to the regular herds. (Science 1981;213:1014). This is a world-wide problem. One lengthy study from Germanydeplored the problem and admitted the impossibility ofkeeping the virus from infected cows' milk from the rest ofthe milk. Several European countries, including Germany andSwitzerland, have attempted to "cull" the infected cows fromtheir herds. Certainly the United States must be the leaderin the fight against leukemic dairy cows, right? Wrong! Weare the worst in the world with the former exception ofVenezuela according to Virgil Hulse MD, a milk specialistwho also has a B.S. in Dairy Manufacturing as well as aMaster's degree in Public Health. As mentioned, the leukemia virus is rendered inactive bypasteurisation. Of course. However, there can be Chernobyllike accidents. One of these occurred in the Chicago area inApril, 1985. At a modern, large, milk processing plant anaccidental "cross connection" between raw and pasteurizedmilk occurred. A violent salmonella outbreak followed,killing 4 and making an estimated 150,000 ill. Now thequestion I would pose to the dairy industry people is this:"How can you assure the people who drank this milk that theywere not exposed to the ingestion of raw, unkilled, bullyactive bovine leukemia viruses?" Further, it would befascinating to know if a "cluster" of leukemia casesblossoms in that area in 1 to 3 decades. There are reportsof "leukemia clusters" elsewhere, one of them mentioned inthe June 10, 1990 San Francisco Chronicle involving NorthernCalifornia. What happens to other species of mammals when they areexposed to the bovine leukemia virus? It's a fair questionand the answer is not reassuring. Virtually all animalsexposed to the virus develop leukemia. This includes sheep,goats, and even primates such as rhesus monkeys andchimpanzees. The route of transmission includes ingestion(both intravenous and intramuscular) and cells present inmilk. There are obviously no instances of transfer attemptsto human beings, but we know that the virus can infect humancells in vitro. There is evidence of human antibodyformation to the bovine leukemia virus; this is disturbing.How did the bovine leukemia virus particles gain access tohumans and become antigens? Was it as small, denaturedparticles? If the bovine leukemia viruses causes human leukemia, wecould expect the dairy states with known leukemic herds tohave a higher incidence of human leukemia. Is this so?Unfortunately, it seems to be the case! Iowa, Nebraska,South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin have statisticallyhigher incidence of leukemia than the national average. InRussia and in Sweden, areas with uncontrolled bovineleukemia virus have been linked with increases in humanleukemia. I am also told that veterinarians have higherrates of leukemia than the general public. Dairy farmershave significantly elevated leukemia rates. Recent researchshows lymphocytes from milk fed to neonatal mammals gainsaccess to bodily tissues by passing directly through theintestinal wall. An optimistic note from the University of Illinois, Ubanafrom the Department of Animal Sciences shows the importanceof one's perspective. Since they are concerned with theeconomics of milk and not primarily the health aspects, theynoted that the production of milk was greater in the cowswith the bovine leukemia virus. However when the leukemiaproduced a persistent and significant lymphocytosis(increased white blood cell count), the production fell off.They suggested "a need to re-evaluate the economic impact ofbovine leukemia virus infection on the dairy industry". Doesthis mean that leukemia is good for profits only if we cankeep it under control? You can get the details on thisbusiness concern from Proc. Nat. Acad. Sciences, U.S. Feb.1989. I added emphasis and am insulted that a universitydepartment feels that this is an economic and not a humanhealth issue. Do not expect help from the Department ofAgriculture or the universities. The money stakes and thepolitical pressures are too great. You're on you own. What does this all mean? We know that virus is capable ofproducing leukemia in other animals. Is it proven that itcan contribute to human leukemia (or lymphoma, a relatedcancer)? Several articles tackle this one: 1.Epidemiologic Relationships of the Bovine Population andHuman Leukemia in Iowa. Am Journal of Epidemiology 112(1980):80 2.Milk of Dairy Cows Frequently Contains aLeukemogenic Virus. Science 213 (1981): 1014 3.Beware of theCow. (Editorial) Lancet 2 (1974):30 4.Is Bovine Milk AHealth Hazard?. Pediatrics; Suppl. Feeding the NormalInfant. 75:182-186; 1985 In Norway, 1422 individuals were followed for 11 and a halfyears. Those drinking 2 or more glasses of milk per day had3.5 times the incidence of cancer of the lymphatic organs.British Med. Journal 61:456-9, March 1990. One of the more thoughtful articles on this subject is fromAllan S. Cunningham of Cooperstown, New York. Writing in theLancet, November 27, 1976 (page 1184), his article isentitled, "Lymphomas and Animal-Protein Consumption". Manypeople think of milk as Â“liquid meatÂ” and Dr. Cunninghamagrees with this. He tracked the beef and dairy consumptionin terms of grams per day for a one year period, 1955-1956.,in 15 countries . New Zealand, United States and Canada werehighest in that order. The lowest was Japan followed byYugoslavia and France. The difference between the highestand lowest was quite pronounced: 43.8 grams/day for NewZealanders versus 1.5 for Japan. Nearly a 30-folddifference! (Parenthetically, the last 36 years have seen astartling increase in the amount of beef and milk used inJapan and their disease patterns are reflecting this,confirming the lack of 'genetic protection' seen inmigration studies. Formerly the increase in frequency oflymphomas in Japanese people was only in those who moved tothe USA)! An interesting bit of trivia is to note the memorial builtat the Gyokusenji Temple in Shimoda, Japan. This marked thespot where the first cow was killed in Japan for humanconsumption! The chains around this memorial were a giftfrom the US Navy. Where do you suppose the Japanese got theidea to eat beef? The year? 1930. Cunningham found a highly significant positive correlationbetween deaths from lymphomas and beef and dairy ingestionin the 15 countries analysed. A few quotations from hisarticle follow: The average intake of protein in many countries is far inexcess of the recommended requirements. Excessiveconsumption of animal protein may be one co-factor in thecausation of lymphomas by acting in the following manner.Ingestion of certain proteins results in the adsorption ofantigenic fragments through the gastrointestinal mucousmembrane. This results in chronic stimulation of lymphoid tissue towhich these fragments gain access "Chronic immunologicalstimulation causes lymphomas in laboratory animals and isbelieved to cause lymphoid cancers in men." Thegastrointestinal mucous membrane is only a partial barrierto the absorption of food antigens, and circulatingantibodies to food protein is commonplace especially potentlymphoid stimulants. Ingestion of cows' milk can producegeneralized lymphadenopathy, hepatosplenomegaly, andprofound adenoid hypertrophy. It has been conservativelyestimated that more than 100 distinct antigens are releasedby the normal digestion of cows' milk which evoke productionof all antibody classes [This may explain why pasteurized,killed viruses are still antigenic and can still causedisease. Here's more. A large prospective study from Norway wasreported in the British Journal of Cancer 61 (3):456-9,March 1990. (Almost 16,000 individuals were followed for 11and a half years). For most cancers there was no associationbetween the tumour and milk ingestion. However, in lymphoma,there was a strong positive association. If one drank twoglasses or more daily (or the equivalent in dairy products),the odds were 3.4 times greater than in persons drinkingless than one glass of developing a lymphoma. There are two other cow-related diseases that you should beaware of. At this time they are not known to be spread bythe use of dairy products and are not known to involve man.The first is bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and thesecond is the bovine immunodeficiency virus (BIV). The firstof these diseases, we hope, is confined to England andcauses cavities in the animal's brain. Sheep have long beenknown to suffer from a disease called scrapie. It seems tohave been started by the feeding of contaminated sheepparts, especially brains, to the British cows. Now, use yourgood sense. Do cows seem like carnivores? Should they eatmeat? This profit-motivated practice backfired and bovinespongiform encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease, sweptBritain. The disease literally causes dementia in theunfortunate animal and is 100 per cent incurable. To date,over 100,000 cows have been incinerated in England inkeeping with British law. Four hundred to 500 cows arereported as infected each month. The British public isconcerned and has dropped its beef consumption by 25 percent, while some 2,000 schools have stopped serving beef tochildren. Several farmers have developed a fatal diseasesyndrome that resembles both BSE and CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob-Disease). But the British Veterinary Association says thattransmission of BSE to humans is "remote." The USDA agrees that the British epidemic was due to thefeeding of cattle with bonemeal or animal protein producedat rendering plants from the carcasses of scrapie-infectedsheep. The have prohibited the importation of live cattleand zoo ruminants from Great Britain and claim that thedisease does not exist in the United States. However, theremay be a problem. "Downer cows" are animals who arrive atauction yards or slaughter houses dead, trampled, lacerated,dehydrated, or too ill from viral or bacterial diseases towalk. Thus they are "down." If they cannot respond toelectrical shocks by walking, they are dragged by chains todumpsters and transported to rendering plants where, if theyare not already dead, they are killed. Even a "humane" deathis usually denied them. They are then turned into proteinfood for animals as well as other preparations. Minks thathave been fed this protein have developed a fatalencephalopathy that has some resemblance to BSE. Entirecolonies of minks have been lost in this manner,particularly in Wisconsin. It is feared that the infectiveagent is a prion or slow virus possible obtained from theill "downer cows." The British Medical Journal in an editorial whimsicallyentitled "How Now Mad Cow?" (BMJ vol. 304, 11 Apr. 1992:929-30) describes cases of BSE in species not previously knownto be affected, such as cats. They admit that producecontaminated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy enteredthe human food chain in England between 1986 and 1989. Theysay. "The result of this experiment is awaited." As theincubation period can be up to three decades, wait we must. The immunodeficency virus is seen in cattle in the UnitedStates and is more worrisome. Its structure is closelyrelated to that of the human AIDS virus. At this time we donot know if exposure to the raw BIV proteins can cause thesera of humans to become positive for HIV. The extent of thevirus among American herds is said to be "widespread". (TheUSDA refuses to inspect the meat and milk to see ifantibodies to this retrovirus is present). It also has noplans to quarantine the infected animals. As in the case ofhumans with AIDS, there is no cure for BIV in cows. Each daywe consume beef and diary products from cows infected withthese viruses and no scientific assurance exists that theproducts are safe. Eating raw beef (as in steak Tartare)strikes me as being very risky, especially after the SeattleE. coli deaths of 1993. A report in the Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research,October 1992, Vol. 56 pp.353-359 and another from theRussian literature, tell of a horrifying development. Theyreport the first detection in human serum of the antibody toa bovine immunodeficiency virus protein. In addition to thisdisturbing report, is another from Russia telling us of thepresence of virus proteins related to the bovine leukemiavirus in 5 of 89 women with breast disease (Acta VirologicaFeb. 1990 34(1): 19-26). The implications of thesedevelopments are unknown at present. However, it is safe toassume that these animal viruses are unlikely to "stay" inthe animal kingdom. OTHER CANCERS--DOES IT GET WORSE? Unfortunately it does. Ovarian cancer--a particularly nastytumour--was associated with milk consumption by workers atRoswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, New York.Drinking more than one glass of whole milk or equivalentdaily gave a woman a 3.1 times risk over non-milk users.They felt that the reduced fat milk products helped reducethe risk. This association has been made repeatedly bynumerous investigators. Another important study, this from the Harvard MedicalSchool, analyzed data from 27 countries mainly from the1970s. Again a significant positive correlation is revealedbetween ovarian cancer and per capita milk consumption.These investigators feel that the lactose component of milkis the responsible fraction, and the digestion of this isfacilitated by the persistence of the ability to digest thelactose (lactose persistence) - a little different emphasis,but the same conclusion. This study was reported in theAmerican Journal of Epidemiology 130 (5): 904-10 Nov. 1989.These articles come from two of the country's leadinginstitutions, not the Rodale Press or Prevention Magazine. Even lung cancer has been associated with milk ingestion?The beverage habits of 569 lung cancer patients and 569controls again at Roswell Park were studied in theInternational Journal of Cancer, April 15, 1989. Personsdrinking whole milk 3 or more times daily had a 2-foldincrease in lung cancer risk when compared to those neverdrinking whole milk. For many years we have been watching the lung cancer ratesfor Japanese men who smoke far more than American orEuropean men but who develop fewer lung cancers. Workers inthis research area feel that the total fat intake is thedifference. There are not many reports studying an association betweenmilk ingestion and prostate cancer. One such report thoughwas of great interest. This is from the Roswell ParkMemorial Institute and is found in Cancer 64 (3): 605-12,1989. They analyzed the diets of 371 prostate cancerpatients and comparable control subjects: Men who reported drinking three or more glasses of wholemilk daily had a relative risk of 2.49 compared with men whoreported never drinking whole milk the weight of theevidence appears to favour the hypothesis that animal fat isrelated to increased risk of prostate cancer. Prostatecancer is now the most common cancer diagnosed in US men andis the second leading cause of cancer mortality. WELL, WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS? Is there any health reason at all for an adult human todrink cows' milk? It's hard for me to come up with even one good reason otherthan simple preference. But if you try hard, in my opinion,these would be the best two: milk is a source of calcium andit's a source of amino acids (proteins). Let's look at the calcium first. Why are we concerned at allabout calcium? Obviously, we intend it to build strong bonesand protect us against osteoporosis. And no doubt about it,milk is loaded with calcium. But is it a good calcium sourcefor humans? I think not. These are the reasons. Excessiveamounts of dairy products actually interfere with calciumabsorption. Secondly, the excess of protein that the milkprovides is a major cause of the osteoporosis problem. Dr. Hegsted in England has been writing for years about thegeographical distribution of osteoporosis. It seems that thecountries with the highest intake of dairy products areinvariably the countries with the most osteoporosis. Hefeels that milk is a cause of osteoporosis. Reasons to begiven below. Numerous studies have shown that the level of calciumingestion and especially calcium supplementation has noeffect whatever on the development of osteoporosis. The mostimportant such article appeared recently in the BritishJournal of Medicine where the long arm of our dairy industrycan't reach. Another study in the United States actuallyshowed a worsening in calcium balance in post-menopausalwomen given three 8-ounce glasses of cows' milk per day.(Am. Journal of Clin. Nutrition, 1985). The effects ofhormone, gender, weight bearing on the axial bones, and inparticular protein intake, are critically important. Anotherobservation that may be helpful to our analysis is to notethe absence of any recorded dietary deficiencies of calciumamong people living on a natural diet without milk. For the key to the osteoporosis riddle, donÂ’t look atcalcium, look at protein. Consider these two contrastinggroups. Eskimos have an exceptionally high protein intakeestimated at 25 percent of total calories. They also have ahigh calcium intake at 2,500 mg/day. Their osteoporosis isamong the worst in the world. The other instructive groupare the Bantus of South Africa. They have a 12 percentprotein diet, mostly p lant protein, and only 200 to 350mg/day of calcium, about half our women's intake. The womenhave virtually no osteoporosis despite bearing six or morechildren and nursing them for prolonged periods! WhenAfrican women immigrate to the United States, do theydevelop osteoporosis? The answer is yes, but not quite aremuch as Caucasian or Asian women. Thus, there is a geneticdifference that is modified by diet. To answer the obvious question, "Well, where do you get yourcalcium?" The answer is: "From exactly the same place thecow gets the calcium, from green things that grow in theground," mainly from leafy vegetables. After all, elephantsand rhinos develop their huge bones (after being weaned) byeating green leafy plants, so do horses. Carnivorous animalsalso do quite nicely without leafy plants. It seems that allof earth's mammals do well if they live in harmony withtheir genetic programming and natural food. Only humansliving an affluent life style have rampant osteoporosis. If animal references do not convince you, think of theseveral billion humans on this earth who have never seencows' milk. Wouldn't you think osteoporosis would beprevalent in this huge group? The dairy people would suggestthis but the truth is exactly the opposite. They have farless than that seen in the countries where dairy productsare commonly consumed. It is the subject of another paper,but the truly significant determinants of osteoporosis aregrossly excessive protein intakes and lack of weight bearingon long bones, both taking place over decades. Hormones playa secondary, but not trivial role in women. Milk is adeterrent to good bone health. THE PROTEIN MYTH Remember when you were a kid and the adults all told you to"make sure you get plenty of good protein". Protein was thenutritional "good guyÂ”" when I was young. And of coursemilk is fitted right in. As regards protein, milk is indeed a rich source of protein--"liquid meat," remember? However that isn't necessarilywhat we need. In actual fact it is a source of difficulty.Nearly all Americans eat too much protein. For this information we rely on the most authoritativesource that I am aware of. This is the latest edition (1oth,1989: 4th printing, Jan. 1992) of the Recommended DietaryAllowances produced by the National Research Council. Ofinterest, the current editor of this important work is Dr.Richard Havel of the University of California in SanFrancisco. First to be noted is that the recommended protein has beensteadily revised downward in successive editions. Thecurrent recommendation is 0.75 g/kilo/day for adults 19through 51 years. This, of course, is only 45 grams per dayfor the mythical 60 kilogram adult. You should also knowthat the WHO estimated the need for protein in adults to by.6g/kilo per day. (All RDA's are calculated with largesafety allowances in case you're the type that wants to addsome more to "be sure.") You can "get by" on 28 to 30 gramsa day if necessary! Now 45 grams a day is a tiny amount of protein. That's anounce and a half! Consider too, that the protein does nothave to be animal protein. Vegetable protein is identicalfor all practical purposes and has no cholesterol and vastlyless saturated fat. (Do not be misled by the antiquatedbelief that plant proteins must be carefully balanced toavoid deficiencies. This is not a realistic concern.)Therefore virtually all Americans, Canadians, British andEuropean people are in a protein overloaded state. This hasserious consequences when maintained over decades. Theproblems are the already mentioned osteoporosis,atherosclerosis and kidney damage. There is good evidencethat certain malignancies, chiefly colon and rectal, arerelated to excessive meat intake. Barry Brenner, an eminentrenal physiologist was the first to fully point out thedangers of excess protein for the kidney tubule. The dangersof the fat and cholesterol are known to all. Finally, youshould know that the protein content of human milk is amountthe lowest (0.9%) in mammals. IS THAT ALL OF THE TROUBLE? Sorry, there's more. Remember lactose? This is the principalcarbohydrate of milk. It seems that nature provides new-borns with the enzymatic equipment to metabolize lactose,but this ability often extinguishes by age 4 or 5 years. What is the problem with lactose or milk sugar? It seemsthat it is a disaccharide which is too large to be absorbedinto the blood stream without first being broken down intomonosaccharides, namely galactose and glucose. This requiresthe presence of an enzyme, lactase plus additional enzymesto break down the galactose into glucose. Let's think about his for a moment. Nature gives us theability to metabolize lactose for a few years and then shutsoff the mechanism. Is Mother Nature trying to tell ussomething? Clearly all infants must drink milk. The factthat so many adults cannot seems to be related to thetendency for nature to abandon mechanisms that are notneeded. At least half of the adult humans on this earth arelactose intolerant. It was not until the relatively recentintroduction of dairy herding and the ability to "borrow"milk from another group of mammals that the survivaladvantage of preserving lactase (the enzyme that allows usto digest lactose) became evident. But why would it beadvantageous to drink cows' milk? After all, most of thehuman beings in the history of the world did. And further,why was it just the white or light skinned humans whoretained this knack while the pigmented people tended tolose it? Some students of evolution feel that white skin is a fairlyrecent innovation, perhaps not more than 20,000 or 30,000years old. It clearly has to do with the Northward migrationof early man to cold and relatively sunless areas when skinsand clothing became available. Fair skin allows theproduction of Vitamin D from sunlight more readily than doesdark skin. However, when only the face was exposed tosunlight that area of fair skin was insufficient to providethe vitamin D from sunlight. If dietary and sunlight sourceswere poorly available, the ability to use the abundantcalcium in cows' milk would give a survival advantage tohumans who could digest that milk. This seems to be the onlylogical explanation for fair skinned humans having a highdegree of lactose tolerance when compared to dark skinnedpeople. How does this break down? Certain racial groups, namelyblacks are up to 90% lactose intolerant as adults.Caucasians are 20 to 40% lactose intolerant. Orientals aremidway between the above two groups. Diarrhea, gas andabdominal cramps are the results of substantial milk intakein such persons. Most American Indians cannot tolerate milk.The milk industry admits that lactose intolerance playsintestinal havoc with as many as 50 million Americans. Alactose-intolerance industry has sprung up and had sales of$117 million in 1992 (Time May 17, 1993.) What if you are lactose-intolerant and lust after dairyproducts? Is all lost? Not at all. It seems that lactose islargely digested by bacteria and you will be able to enjoyyour cheese despite lactose intolerance. Yogurt is similarin this respect. Finally, and I could never have dreamedthis up, geneticists want to splice genes to alter thecomposition of milk (Am J Clin Nutr 1993 Suppl 302s). One could quibble and say that milk is totally devoid offiber content and that its habitual use will predispose toconstipation and bowel disorders. The association with anemia and occult intestinal bleedingin infants is known to all physicians. This is chiefly fromits lack of iron and its irritating qualities for theintestinal mucosa. The pediatric literature abounds witharticles describing irritated intestinal lining, bleeding,increased permeability as well as colic, diarrhea andvomiting in cows'milk-sensitive babies. The anemia gets adouble push by loss of blood and iron as well as deficiencyof iron in the cows' milk. Milk is also the leading cause ofchildhood allergy. LOW FAT One additional topic: the matter of "low fat" milk. A commonand sincere question is: "Well, low fat milk is OK, isn'tit?" The answer to this question is that low fat milk isn't lowfat. The term "low fat" is a marketing term used to gull thepublic. Low fat milk contains from 24 to 33% fat ascalories! The 2% figure is also misleading. This refers toweight. They don't tell you that, by weight, the milk is 87%water! "Well, then, kill-joy surely you must approve of non-fatmilk!" I hear this quite a bit. (Another constant concernis: "What do you put on your cereal?") True, there is littleor no fat, but now you have a relative overburden of proteinand lactose. It there is something that we do not need more