Should we drink cow's milk

"MILK" Just the word itself sounds comforting! "How about a
nice cup of hot milk?" The last time you heard that question
it was from someone who cared for you--and you appreciated
their effort.

The entire matter of food and especially that of milk is
surrounded with emotional and cultural importance. Milk was
our very first food. If we were fortunate it was our
mother's milk. A loving link, given and taken. It was the
only path to survival. If not mother's milk it was cow's
milk or soy milk "formula"--rarely it was goat, camel or
water 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 and
add to that many pounds of "dairy products" such as cheese,
butter, and yogurt.

Can there be anything wrong with this? We see reassuring
images of healthy, beautiful people on our television
screens and hear messages that assure us that, "Milk is good
for your body." Our dieticians insist that: "You've got to
have milk, or where will you get your calcium?" School
lunches always include milk and nearly every hospital meal
will have milk added. And if that isn't enough, our
nutritionists told us for years that dairy products make up
an "essential food group." Industry spokesmen made sure that
colourful charts proclaiming the necessity of milk and other
essential nutrients were made available at no cost for
schools. Cow's milk became "normal."

You may be surprised to learn that most of the human beings
that live on planet Earth today do not drink or use cow's
milk. Further, most of them can't drink milk because it
makes them ill.

There are students of human nutrition who are not supportive
of milk use for adults. Here is a quotation from the
March/April 1991 Utne Reader:

If you really want to play it safe, you may decide to join
the growing number of Americans who are eliminating dairy
products from their diets altogether. Although this sounds
radical to those of us weaned on milk and the five basic
food groups, it is eminently viable. Indeed, of all the
mammals, only humans--and then only a minority, principally
Caucasians--continue to drink milk beyond babyhood.

Who is right? Why the confusion? Where best to get our
answers? Can we trust milk industry spokesmen? Can you trust
any industry spokesmen? Are nutritionists up to date or are
they simply repeating what their professors learned years
ago? What about the new voices urging caution?

I believe that there are three reliable sources of
information. The first, and probably the best, is a study of
nature. The second is to study the history of our own
species. Finally we need to look at the world's scientific
literature on the subject of milk.

Let's look at the scientific literature first. From 1988 to
1993 there were over 2,700 articles dealing with milk
recorded in the 'Medicine' archives. Fifteen hundred of
theses had milk as the main focus of the article. There is
no lack of scientific information on this subject. I
reviewed over 500 of the 1,500 articles, discarding articles
that dealt exclusively with animals, esoteric research and
inconclusive studies.

How would I summarize the articles? They were only slightly
less than horrifying. First of all, none of the authors
spoke of cow's milk as an excellent food, free of side
effects and the 'perfect food' as we have been led to
believe by the industry. The main focus of the published
reports seems to be on intestinal colic, intestinal
irritation, intestinal bleeding, anemia, allergic reactions
in infants and children as well as infections such as
salmonella. More ominous is the fear of viral infection with
bovine leukemia virus or an AIDS-like virus as well as
concern for childhood diabetes. Contamination of milk by
blood and white (pus) cells as well as a variety of
chemicals and insecticides was also discussed. Among
children the problems were allergy, ear and tonsillar
infections, bedwetting, asthma, intestinal bleeding, colic
and childhood diabetes. In adults the problems seemed
centered 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 consideration
of what occurs in nature & what happens with free living
mammals and what happens with human groups living in close
to a natural state as 'hunter-gatherers'.

Our paleolithic ancestors are another crucial and
interesting group to study. Here we are limited to
speculation and indirect evidences, but the bony remains
available for our study are remarkable. There is no doubt
whatever 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 feel
that these people are not important for us to study,
consider that today our genes are programming our bodies in
almost exactly the same way as our ancestors of 50,000 to
100,000 years ago.


Milk is a maternal lactating secretion, a short term
nutrient for new-borns. Nothing more, nothing less.
Invariably, the mother of any mammal will provide her milk
for a short period of time immediately after birth. When the
time comes for 'weaning', the young offspring is introduced
to the proper food for that species of mammal. A familiar
example is that of a puppy. The mother nurses the pup for
just a few weeks and then rejects the young animal and
teaches it to eat solid food. Nursing is provided by nature
only for the very youngest of mammals. Of course, it is not
possible for animals living in a natural state to continue
with the drinking of milk after weaning.


Then there is the matter of where we get our milk. We have
settled 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 our
customs. But is it natural? Is it wise to drink the milk of
another species of mammal?

Consider for a moment, if it was possible, to drink the milk
of a mammal other than a cow, let's say a rat. Or perhaps
the milk of a dog would be more to your liking. Possibly
some horse milk or cat milk. Do you get the idea? Well, I'm
not serious about this, except to suggest that human milk is
for human infants, dogs' milk is for pups, cows' milk is for
calves, cats' milk is for kittens, and so forth. Clearly,
this is the way nature intends it. Just use your own good
judgement on this one.

Milk is not just milk. The milk of every species of mammal
is unique and specifically tailored to the requirements of
that animal. For example, cows' milk is very much richer in
protein than human milk. Three to four times as much. It has
five to seven times the mineral content. However, it is
markedly deficient in essential fatty acids when compared to
human mothers' milk. Mothers' milk has six to ten times as
much of the essential fatty acids, especially linoleic acid.
(Incidentally, skimmed cow's milk has no linoleic acid). It
simply is not designed for humans.

Food is not just food, and milk is not just milk. It is not
only the proper amount of food but the proper qualitative
composition that is critical for the very best in health and
growth. Biochemists and physiologists -and rarely medical
doctors - are gradually learning that foods contain the
crucial elements that allow a particular species to develop
its unique specializations.

Clearly, our specialization is for advanced neurological
development and delicate neuromuscular control. We do not
have much need of massive skeletal growth or huge muscle
groups as does a calf. Think of the difference between the
demands make on the human hand and the demands on a cow's
hoof. Human new-borns specifically need critical material
for their brains, spinal cord and nerves.

Can mother's milk increase intelligence? It seems that it
can. In a remarkable study published in Lancet during 1992
(Vol. 339, p. 261-4), a group of British workers randomly
placed premature infants into two groups. One group received
a proper formula, the other group received human breast
milk. Both fluids were given by stomach tube. These children
were 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 the
rapidly maturing and growing brain have a positive effect?

In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1982) Ralph
Holman described an infant who developed profound
neurological disease while being nourished by intravenous
fluids only. The fluids used contained only linoleic acid -
just one of the essential fatty acids. When the other, alpha
linoleic acid, was added to the intravenous fluids the
neurological disorders cleared.

In the same journal five years later Bjerve, Mostad and
Thoresen, working in Norway found exactly the same problem
in adult patients on long term gastric tube feeding.

In 1930 Dr. G.O. Burr in Minnesota working with rats found
that linoleic acid deficiencies created a deficiency
syndrome. Why is this mentioned? In the early 1960s
pediatricians found skin lesions in children fed formulas
without 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 is
markedly deficient in these when compared to human milk.


Or is it? Fifty years ago an average cow produced 2,000
pounds of milk per year. Today the top producers give 50,000
pounds! 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 bovine
growth hormone or BGH. This genetically engineered drug is
supposed to stimulate milk production but, according to
Monsanto, the hormone's manufacturer, does not affect the
milk or meat. There are three other manufacturers: Upjohn,
Eli Lilly, and American Cyanamid Company. Obviously, there
have been no long-term studies on the hormone's effect on
the humans drinking the milk. Other countries have banned
BGH because of safety concerns. One of the problems with
adding molecules to a milk cows' body is that the molecules
usually come out in the milk. I don't know how you feel, but
I don't want to experiment with the ingestion of a growth
hormone. A related problem is that it causes a marked
increase (50 to 70 per cent) in mastitis. This, then,
requires antibiotic therapy, and the residues of the
antibiotics appear in the milk. It seems that the public is
uneasy about this product and in one survey 43 per cent felt
that growth hormone treated milk represented a health risk.
A vice president for public policy at Monsanto was opposed
to labelling for that reason, and because the labelling
would create an 'artificial distinction'. The country is
awash with milk as it is, we produce more milk than we can
consume. Let's not create storage costs and further taxpayer
burdens, because the law requires the USDA to buy any
surplus of butter, cheese, or non-fat dry milk at a support
price set by Congress! In fiscal 1991, the USDA spent $757
million on surplus butter, and one billion dollars a year on
average for price supports during the 1980s (Consumer
Reports, May 1992: 330-32).

Any lactating mammal excretes toxins through her milk. This
includes antibiotics, pesticides, chemicals and hormones.
Also, all cows' milk contains blood! The inspectors are
simply asked to keep it under certain limits. You may be
horrified to learn that the USDA allows milk to contain from
one to one and a half million white blood cells per
millilitre. (That's only 1/30 of an ounce). If you don't
already know this, I'm sorry to tell you that another way to
describe white cells where they don't belong would be to
call them pus cells. To get to the point, is milk pure or is
it a chemical, biological, and bacterial cocktail? Finally,
will the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protect you? The
United States General Accounting Office (GAO) tells us that
the FDA and the individual States are failing to protect the
public from drug residues in milk. Authorities test for only
4 of the 82 drugs in dairy cows.

As you can imagine, the Milk Industry Foundation's spokesman
claims it's perfectly safe. Jerome Kozak says, "I still
think that milk is the safest product we have."

Other, perhaps less biased observers, have found the
following: 38% of milk samples in 10 cities were
contaminated with sulfa drugs or other antibiotics. (This
from the Centre for Science in the Public Interest and The
Wall Street Journal, Dec. 29, 1989).. A similar study in
Washington, DC found a 20 percent contamination rate
(Nutrition Action Healthletter, April 1990).

What's going on here? When the FDA tested milk, they found
few problems. However, they used very lax standards. When
they used the same criteria, the FDA data showed 51 percent
of the milk samples showed drug traces.

Let's focus in on this because itÂ's critical to our
understanding of the apparent discrepancies. The FDA uses a
disk-assay method that can detect only 2 of the 30 or so
drugs found in milk. Also, the test detects only at the
relatively high level. A more powerful test called the
'Charm II test' can detect drugs down to 5 parts per

One nasty subject must be discussed. It seems that cows are
forever getting infections around the udder that require
ointments and antibiotics. An article from France tells us
that when a cow receives penicillin, that penicillin appears
in the milk for from 4 to 7 milkings. Another study from the
University of Nevada, Reno tells of cells in 'mastic milk',
milk from cows with infected udders. An elaborate analysis
of the cell fragments, employing cell cultures, flow
cytometric analysis , and a great deal of high tech stuff.
Do you know what the conclusion was? If the cow has
mastitis, there is pus in the milk. Sorry, itÂ's in the
study, all concealed with language such as "macrophages
containing many vacuoles and phagocytosed particles," etc.


Well, at least human mothers' milk is pure! Sorry. A huge
study showed that human breast milk in over 14,000 women had
contamination by pesticides! Further, it seems that the
sources of the pesticides are meat and--you guessed it--
dairy products. Well, why not? These pesticides are
concentrated in fat and that's what's in these products. (Of
interest, a subgroup of lactating vegetarian mothers had
only half the levels of contamination).

A recent report showed an increased concentration of
pesticides in the breast tissue of women with breast cancer
when compared to the tissue of women with fibrocystic
disease. Other articles in the standard medical literature
describe problems. Just scan these titles:

1.Cow's Milk as a Cause of Infantile Colic Breast-Fed
Infants. Lancet 2 (1978): 437 2.Dietary Protein-Induced
Colitis in Breast- Fed Infants, J. Pediatr. I01 (1982): 906
3.The Question of the Elimination of Foreign Protein in
Women's Milk, J. Immunology 19 (1930): 15

There are many others. There are dozens of studies
describing the prompt appearance of cows' milk allergy in
children being exclusively breast-fed! The cows' milk
allergens simply appear in the mother's milk and are
transmitted to the infant.

A committee on nutrition of the American Academy of
Pediatrics reported on the use of whole cows' milk in
infancy (Pediatrics 1983: 72-253). They were unable to
provide any cogent reason why bovine milk should be used
before the first birthday yet continued to recommend its
use! Doctor Frank Oski from the Upstate Medical Centre
Department of Pediatrics, commenting on the recommendation,
cited the problems of acute gastrointestinal blood loss in
infants, 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 of
uncertainty about many of the potential dangers of whole
bovine milk, it would seem prudent to recommend that whole
milk not be started until the answers are available. Isn't
it time for these uncontrolled experiments on human
nutrition 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 the
infant in the first year of life because of its association
with iron deficiency anemia (milk is so deficient in iron
that an infant would have to drink an impossible 31 quarts a
day to get the RDA of 15 mg), acute gastrointiestinal
bleeding, and various manifestations of food allergy.

I suggest that unmodified whole bovine milk should not be
consumed after infancy because of the problems of lactose
intolerance, its contribution to the genesis of
atherosclerosis, and its possible link to other diseases.

In late 1992 Dr. Benjamin Spock, possibly the best known
pediatrician in history, shocked the country when he
articulated the same thoughts and specified avoidance for
the first two years of life. Here is his quotation:

I want to pass on the word to parents that cows' milk from
the carton has definite faults for some babies. Human milk
is the right one for babies. A study comparing the incidence
of allergy and colic in the breast-fed infants of omnivorous
and vegan mothers would be important. I haven't found such a
study; it would be both important and inexpensive. And it
will probably never be done. There is simply no academic or
economic profit involved.


Let's just mention the problems of bacterial contamination.
Salmonella, E. coli, and staphylococcal infections can be
traced to milk. In the old days tuberculosis was a major
problem and some folks want to go back to those times by
insisting on raw milk on the basis that it's "natural." This
is insanity! A study from UCLA showed that over a third of
all cases of salmonella infection in California, 1980-1983
were traced to raw milk. That'll be a way to revive good old
brucellosis again and I would fear leukemia, too. (More
about that later). In England, and Wales where raw milk is
still consumed there have been outbreaks of milk-borne
diseases. The Journal of the American Medical Association
(251: 483, 1984) reported a multi-state series of infections
caused by Yersinia enterocolitica in pasteurised whole milk.
This is despite safety precautions.

All parents dread juvenile diabetes for their children. A
Canadian study reported in the American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition, Mar. 1990, describes a "...significant positive
correlation between consumption of unfermented milk protein
and incidence of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus in data
from various countries. Conversely a possible negative
relationship is observed between breast-feeding at age 3
months and diabetes risk.".

Another study from Finland found that diabetic children had
higher levels of serum antibodies to cowsÂ' milk (Diabetes
Research 7(3): 137-140 March 1988). Here is a quotation from
this study:

We infer that either the pattern of cows' milk consumption
is altered in children who will have insulin dependent
diabetes mellitus or, their immunological reactivity to
proteins in cows' milk is enhanced, or the permeability of
their intestines to cows' milk protein is higher than

The April 18, 1992 British Medical Journal has a fascinating
study contrasting the difference in incidence of juvenile
insulin dependent diabetes in Pakistani children who have
migrated to England. The incidence is roughly 10 times
greater in the English group compared to children remaining
in Pakistan! What caused this highly significant increase?
The authors said that "the diet was unchanged in Great
Britain." Do you believe that? Do you think that the
availability of milk, sugar and fat is the same in Pakistan
as it is in England? That a grocery store in England has the
same products as food sources in Pakistan? I don't believe
that for a minute. Remember, we're not talking here about
adult onset, type II diabetes which all workers agree is
strongly linked to diet as well as to a genetic
predisposition. This study is a major blow to the "it's all
in your genes" crowd. Type I diabetes was always considered
to be genetic or possibly viral, but now this? So resistant
are we to consider diet as causation that the authors of the
last article concluded that the cooler climate in England
altered viruses and caused the very real increase in
diabetes! The first two authors had the same reluctance top
admit the obvious. The milk just may have had something to
do with the disease.

The latest in this remarkable list of reports, a New England
Journal of Medicine article (July 30, 1992), also reported
in the Los Angeles Times. This study comes from the Hospital
for Sick Children in Toronto and from Finnish researchers.
In Finland there is "...the world's highest rate of dairy
product consumption and the world's highest rate of insulin
dependent diabetes. The disease strikes about 40 children
out of every 1,000 there contrasted with six to eight per
1,000 in the United States.... Antibodies produced against
the milk protein during the first year of life, the
researchers speculate, also attack and destroy the pancreas
in a so-called auto-immune reaction, producing diabetes in
people whose genetic makeup leaves them vulnerable." "...142
Finnish children with newly diagnosed diabetes. They found
that every one had at least eight times as many antibodies
against the milk protein as did healthy children, clear
evidence that the children had a raging auto immune
disorder." The team has now expanded the study to 400
children and is starting a trial where 3,000 children will
receive no dairy products during the first nine months of
life. "The study may take 10 years, but we'll get a
definitive answer one way or the other," according to one of
the researchers. I would caution them to be certain that the
breast feeding mothers use on cows' milk in their diets or
the results will be confounded by the transmission of the
cows' milk protein in the mother's breast milk.... Now what
was the reaction from the diabetes association? This is very
interesting! Dr. F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, the president of the
association says: "It does not mean that children should
stop drinking milk or that parents of diabetics should
withdraw dairy products. These are rich sources of good
protein." (Emphasis added) My God, it's the "good protein"
that causes the problem! Do you suspect that the dairy
industry may have helped the American Diabetes Association
in the past?


I hate to tell you this, but the bovine leukemia virus is
found in more than three of five dairy cows in the United
States! This involves about 80% of dairy herds.
Unfortunately, when the milk is pooled, a very large
percentage of all milk produced is contaminated (90 to 95
per cent). Of course the virus is killed in pasteurisation--
if the pasteurisation was done correctly. What if the milk
is raw? In a study of randomly collected raw milk samples
the bovine leukemia virus was recovered from two-thirds. I
sincerely hope that the raw milk dairy herds are carefully
monitored when compared to the regular herds. (Science 1981;

This is a world-wide problem. One lengthy study from Germany
deplored the problem and admitted the impossibility of
keeping the virus from infected cows' milk from the rest of
the milk. Several European countries, including Germany and
Switzerland, have attempted to "cull" the infected cows from
their herds. Certainly the United States must be the leader
in the fight against leukemic dairy cows, right? Wrong! We
are the worst in the world with the former exception of
Venezuela according to Virgil Hulse MD, a milk specialist
who also has a B.S. in Dairy Manufacturing as well as a
Master's degree in Public Health.

As mentioned, the leukemia virus is rendered inactive by
pasteurisation. Of course. However, there can be Chernobyl
like accidents. One of these occurred in the Chicago area in
April, 1985. At a modern, large, milk processing plant an
accidental "cross connection" between raw and pasteurized
milk occurred. A violent salmonella outbreak followed,
killing 4 and making an estimated 150,000 ill. Now the
question I would pose to the dairy industry people is this:
"How can you assure the people who drank this milk that they
were not exposed to the ingestion of raw, unkilled, bully
active bovine leukemia viruses?" Further, it would be
fascinating to know if a "cluster" of leukemia cases
blossoms in that area in 1 to 3 decades. There are reports
of "leukemia clusters" elsewhere, one of them mentioned in
the June 10, 1990 San Francisco Chronicle involving Northern

What happens to other species of mammals when they are
exposed to the bovine leukemia virus? It's a fair question
and the answer is not reassuring. Virtually all animals
exposed to the virus develop leukemia. This includes sheep,
goats, and even primates such as rhesus monkeys and
chimpanzees. The route of transmission includes ingestion
(both intravenous and intramuscular) and cells present in
milk. There are obviously no instances of transfer attempts
to human beings, but we know that the virus can infect human
cells in vitro. There is evidence of human antibody
formation to the bovine leukemia virus; this is disturbing.
How did the bovine leukemia virus particles gain access to
humans and become antigens? Was it as small, denatured

If the bovine leukemia viruses causes human leukemia, we
could expect the dairy states with known leukemic herds to
have a higher incidence of human leukemia. Is this so?
Unfortunately, it seems to be the case! Iowa, Nebraska,
South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin have statistically
higher incidence of leukemia than the national average. In
Russia and in Sweden, areas with uncontrolled bovine
leukemia virus have been linked with increases in human
leukemia. I am also told that veterinarians have higher
rates of leukemia than the general public. Dairy farmers
have significantly elevated leukemia rates. Recent research
shows lymphocytes from milk fed to neonatal mammals gains
access to bodily tissues by passing directly through the
intestinal wall.

An optimistic note from the University of Illinois, Ubana
from the Department of Animal Sciences shows the importance
of one's perspective. Since they are concerned with the
economics of milk and not primarily the health aspects, they
noted that the production of milk was greater in the cows
with the bovine leukemia virus. However when the leukemia
produced a persistent and significant lymphocytosis
(increased white blood cell count), the production fell off.
They suggested "a need to re-evaluate the economic impact of
bovine leukemia virus infection on the dairy industry". Does
this mean that leukemia is good for profits only if we can
keep it under control? You can get the details on this
business concern from Proc. Nat. Acad. Sciences, U.S. Feb.
1989. I added emphasis and am insulted that a university
department feels that this is an economic and not a human
health issue. Do not expect help from the Department of
Agriculture or the universities. The money stakes and the
political pressures are too great. You're on you own.

What does this all mean? We know that virus is capable of
producing leukemia in other animals. Is it proven that it
can contribute to human leukemia (or lymphoma, a related
cancer)? Several articles tackle this one:

1.Epidemiologic Relationships of the Bovine Population and
Human Leukemia in Iowa. Am Journal of Epidemiology 112
(1980):80 2.Milk of Dairy Cows Frequently Contains a
Leukemogenic Virus. Science 213 (1981): 1014 3.Beware of the
Cow. (Editorial) Lancet 2 (1974):30 4.Is Bovine Milk A
Health Hazard?. Pediatrics; Suppl. Feeding the Normal
Infant. 75:182-186; 1985

In Norway, 1422 individuals were followed for 11 and a half
years. Those drinking 2 or more glasses of milk per day had
3.5 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 from
Allan S. Cunningham of Cooperstown, New York. Writing in the
Lancet, November 27, 1976 (page 1184), his article is
entitled, "Lymphomas and Animal-Protein Consumption". Many
people think of milk as Â"liquid meatÂ" and Dr. Cunningham
agrees with this. He tracked the beef and dairy consumption
in terms of grams per day for a one year period, 1955-1956.,
in 15 countries . New Zealand, United States and Canada were
highest in that order. The lowest was Japan followed by
Yugoslavia and France. The difference between the highest
and lowest was quite pronounced: 43.8 grams/day for New
Zealanders versus 1.5 for Japan. Nearly a 30-fold
difference! (Parenthetically, the last 36 years have seen a
startling increase in the amount of beef and milk used in
Japan and their disease patterns are reflecting this,
confirming the lack of 'genetic protection' seen in
migration studies. Formerly the increase in frequency of
lymphomas in Japanese people was only in those who moved to
the USA)!

An interesting bit of trivia is to note the memorial built
at the Gyokusenji Temple in Shimoda, Japan. This marked the
spot where the first cow was killed in Japan for human
consumption! The chains around this memorial were a gift
from the US Navy. Where do you suppose the Japanese got the
idea to eat beef? The year? 1930.

Cunningham found a highly significant positive correlation
between deaths from lymphomas and beef and dairy ingestion
in the 15 countries analysed. A few quotations from his
article follow:

The average intake of protein in many countries is far in
excess of the recommended requirements. Excessive
consumption of animal protein may be one co-factor in the
causation of lymphomas by acting in the following manner.
Ingestion of certain proteins results in the adsorption of
antigenic fragments through the gastrointestinal mucous

This results in chronic stimulation of lymphoid tissue to
which these fragments gain access "Chronic immunological
stimulation causes lymphomas in laboratory animals and is
believed to cause lymphoid cancers in men." The
gastrointestinal mucous membrane is only a partial barrier
to the absorption of food antigens, and circulating
antibodies to food protein is commonplace especially potent
lymphoid stimulants. Ingestion of cows' milk can produce
generalized lymphadenopathy, hepatosplenomegaly, and
profound adenoid hypertrophy. It has been conservatively
estimated that more than 100 distinct antigens are released
by the normal digestion of cows' milk which evoke production
of all antibody classes [This may explain why pasteurized,
killed viruses are still antigenic and can still cause

Here's more. A large prospective study from Norway was
reported in the British Journal of Cancer 61 (3):456-9,
March 1990. (Almost 16,000 individuals were followed for 11
and a half years). For most cancers there was no association
between the tumour and milk ingestion. However, in lymphoma,
there was a strong positive association. If one drank two
glasses or more daily (or the equivalent in dairy products),
the odds were 3.4 times greater than in persons drinking
less than one glass of developing a lymphoma.

There are two other cow-related diseases that you should be
aware of. At this time they are not known to be spread by
the use of dairy products and are not known to involve man.
The first is bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and the
second is the bovine immunodeficiency virus (BIV). The first
of these diseases, we hope, is confined to England and
causes cavities in the animal's brain. Sheep have long been
known to suffer from a disease called scrapie. It seems to
have been started by the feeding of contaminated sheep
parts, especially brains, to the British cows. Now, use your
good sense. Do cows seem like carnivores? Should they eat
meat? This profit-motivated practice backfired and bovine
spongiform encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease, swept
Britain. The disease literally causes dementia in the
unfortunate animal and is 100 per cent incurable. To date,
over 100,000 cows have been incinerated in England in
keeping with British law. Four hundred to 500 cows are
reported as infected each month. The British public is
concerned and has dropped its beef consumption by 25 per
cent, while some 2,000 schools have stopped serving beef to
children. Several farmers have developed a fatal disease
syndrome that resembles both BSE and CJD (Creutzfeldt-Jakob-
Disease). But the British Veterinary Association says that
transmission of BSE to humans is "remote."

The USDA agrees that the British epidemic was due to the
feeding of cattle with bonemeal or animal protein produced
at rendering plants from the carcasses of scrapie-infected
sheep. The have prohibited the importation of live cattle
and zoo ruminants from Great Britain and claim that the
disease does not exist in the United States. However, there
may be a problem. "Downer cows" are animals who arrive at
auction yards or slaughter houses dead, trampled, lacerated,
dehydrated, or too ill from viral or bacterial diseases to
walk. Thus they are "down." If they cannot respond to
electrical shocks by walking, they are dragged by chains to
dumpsters and transported to rendering plants where, if they
are not already dead, they are killed. Even a "humane" death
is usually denied them. They are then turned into protein
food for animals as well as other preparations. Minks that
have been fed this protein have developed a fatal
encephalopathy that has some resemblance to BSE. Entire
colonies of minks have been lost in this manner,
particularly in Wisconsin. It is feared that the infective
agent is a prion or slow virus possible obtained from the
ill "downer cows."

The British Medical Journal in an editorial whimsically
entitled "How Now Mad Cow?" (BMJ vol. 304, 11 Apr. 1992:929-
30) describes cases of BSE in species not previously known
to be affected, such as cats. They admit that produce
contaminated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy entered
the human food chain in England between 1986 and 1989. They
say. "The result of this experiment is awaited." As the
incubation period can be up to three decades, wait we must.

The immunodeficency virus is seen in cattle in the United
States and is more worrisome. Its structure is closely
related to that of the human AIDS virus. At this time we do
not know if exposure to the raw BIV proteins can cause the
sera of humans to become positive for HIV. The extent of the
virus among American herds is said to be "widespread". (The
USDA refuses to inspect the meat and milk to see if
antibodies to this retrovirus is present). It also has no
plans to quarantine the infected animals. As in the case of
humans with AIDS, there is no cure for BIV in cows. Each day
we consume beef and diary products from cows infected with
these viruses and no scientific assurance exists that the
products are safe. Eating raw beef (as in steak Tartare)
strikes me as being very risky, especially after the Seattle
E. coli deaths of 1993.

A report in the Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research,
October 1992, Vol. 56 pp.353-359 and another from the
Russian literature, tell of a horrifying development. They
report the first detection in human serum of the antibody to
a bovine immunodeficiency virus protein. In addition to this
disturbing report, is another from Russia telling us of the
presence of virus proteins related to the bovine leukemia
virus in 5 of 89 women with breast disease (Acta Virologica
Feb. 1990 34(1): 19-26). The implications of these
developments are unknown at present. However, it is safe to
assume that these animal viruses are unlikely to "stay" in
the animal kingdom.


Unfortunately it does. Ovarian cancer--a particularly nasty
tumour--was associated with milk consumption by workers at
Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, New York.
Drinking more than one glass of whole milk or equivalent
daily gave a woman a 3.1 times risk over non-milk users.
They felt that the reduced fat milk products helped reduce
the risk. This association has been made repeatedly by
numerous investigators.

Another important study, this from the Harvard Medical
School, analyzed data from 27 countries mainly from the
1970s. Again a significant positive correlation is revealed
between ovarian cancer and per capita milk consumption.
These investigators feel that the lactose component of milk
is the responsible fraction, and the digestion of this is
facilitated by the persistence of the ability to digest the
lactose (lactose persistence) - a little different emphasis,
but the same conclusion. This study was reported in the
American Journal of Epidemiology 130 (5): 904-10 Nov. 1989.
These articles come from two of the country's leading
institutions, 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 569
controls again at Roswell Park were studied in the
International Journal of Cancer, April 15, 1989. Persons
drinking whole milk 3 or more times daily had a 2-fold
increase in lung cancer risk when compared to those never
drinking whole milk.

For many years we have been watching the lung cancer rates
for Japanese men who smoke far more than American or
European men but who develop fewer lung cancers. Workers in
this research area feel that the total fat intake is the

There are not many reports studying an association between
milk ingestion and prostate cancer. One such report though
was of great interest. This is from the Roswell Park
Memorial Institute and is found in Cancer 64 (3): 605-12,
1989. They analyzed the diets of 371 prostate cancer
patients and comparable control subjects:

Men who reported drinking three or more glasses of whole
milk daily had a relative risk of 2.49 compared with men who
reported never drinking whole milk the weight of the
evidence appears to favour the hypothesis that animal fat is
related to increased risk of prostate cancer. Prostate
cancer is now the most common cancer diagnosed in US men and
is the second leading cause of cancer mortality.


Is there any health reason at all for an adult human to
drink cows' milk?

It's hard for me to come up with even one good reason other
than simple preference. But if you try hard, in my opinion,
these would be the best two: milk is a source of calcium and
it's a source of amino acids (proteins).

Let's look at the calcium first. Why are we concerned at all
about calcium? Obviously, we intend it to build strong bones
and protect us against osteoporosis. And no doubt about it,
milk is loaded with calcium. But is it a good calcium source
for humans? I think not. These are the reasons. Excessive
amounts of dairy products actually interfere with calcium
absorption. Secondly, the excess of protein that the milk
provides is a major cause of the osteoporosis problem. Dr. H
egsted in England has been writing for years about the
geographical distribution of osteoporosis. It seems that the
countries with the highest intake of dairy products are
invariably the countries with the most osteoporosis. He
feels that milk is a cause of osteoporosis. Reasons to be
given below.

Numerous studies have shown that the level of calcium
ingestion and especially calcium supplementation has no
effect whatever on the development of osteoporosis. The most
important such article appeared recently in the British
Journal of Medicine where the long arm of our dairy industry
can't reach. Another study in the United States actually
showed a worsening in calcium balance in post-menopausal
women given three 8-ounce glasses of cows' milk per day.
(Am. Journal of Clin. Nutrition, 1985). The effects of
hormone, gender, weight bearing on the axial bones, and in
particular protein intake, are critically important. Another
observation that may be helpful to our analysis is to note
the absence of any recorded dietary deficiencies of calcium
among people living on a natural diet without milk.

For the key to the osteoporosis riddle, donÂ't look at
calcium, look at protein. Consider these two contrasting
groups. Eskimos have an exceptionally high protein intake
estimated at 25 percent of total calories. They also have a
high calcium intake at 2,500 mg/day. Their osteoporosis is
among the worst in the world. The other instructive group
are the Bantus of South Africa. They have a 12 percent
protein diet, mostly p lant protein, and only 200 to 350
mg/day of calcium, about half our women's intake. The women
have virtually no osteoporosis despite bearing six or more
children and nursing them for prolonged periods! When
African women immigrate to the United States, do they
develop osteoporosis? The answer is yes, but not quite are
much as Caucasian or Asian women. Thus, there is a genetic
difference that is modified by diet.

To answer the obvious question, "Well, where do you get your
calcium?" The answer is: "From exactly the same place the
cow gets the calcium, from green things that grow in the
ground," mainly from leafy vegetables. After all, elephants
and rhinos develop their huge bones (after being weaned) by
eating green leafy plants, so do horses. Carnivorous animals
also do quite nicely without leafy plants. It seems that all
of earth's mammals do well if they live in harmony with
their genetic programming and natural food. Only humans
living an affluent life style have rampant osteoporosis.

If animal references do not convince you, think of the
several billion humans on this earth who have never seen
cows' milk. Wouldn't you think osteoporosis would be
prevalent in this huge group? The dairy people would suggest
this but the truth is exactly the opposite. They have far
less than that seen in the countries where dairy products
are commonly consumed. It is the subject of another paper,
but the truly significant determinants of osteoporosis are
grossly excessive protein intakes and lack of weight bearing
on long bones, both taking place over decades. Hormones play
a secondary, but not trivial role in women. Milk is a
deterrent to good bone health.


Remember when you were a kid and the adults all told you to
"make sure you get plenty of good protein". Protein was the
nutritional "good guyÂ"" when I was young. And of course
milk is fitted right in.

As regards protein, milk is indeed a rich source of protein-
-"liquid meat," remember? However that isn't necessarily
what 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 authoritative
source that I am aware of. This is the latest edition (1oth,
1989: 4th printing, Jan. 1992) of the Recommended Dietary
Allowances produced by the National Research Council. Of
interest, the current editor of this important work is Dr.
Richard Havel of the University of California in San

First to be noted is that the recommended protein has been
steadily revised downward in successive editions. The
current recommendation is 0.75 g/kilo/day for adults 19
through 51 years. This, of course, is only 45 grams per day
for the mythical 60 kilogram adult. You should also know
that the WHO estimated the need for protein in adults to by
.6g/kilo per day. (All RDA's are calculated with large
safety allowances in case you're the type that wants to add
some more to "be sure.") You can "get by" on 28 to 30 grams
a day if necessary!

Now 45 grams a day is a tiny amount of protein. That's an
ounce and a half! Consider too, that the protein does not
have to be animal protein. Vegetable protein is identical
for all practical purposes and has no cholesterol and vastly
less saturated fat. (Do not be misled by the antiquated
belief that plant proteins must be carefully balanced to
avoid deficiencies. This is not a realistic concern.)
Therefore virtually all Americans, Canadians, British and
European people are in a protein overloaded state. This has
serious consequences when maintained over decades. The
problems are the already mentioned osteoporosis,
atherosclerosis and kidney damage. There is good evidence
that certain malignancies, chiefly colon and rectal, are
related to excessive meat intake. Barry Brenner, an eminent
renal physiologist was the first to fully point out the
dangers of excess protein for the kidney tubule. The dangers
of the fat and cholesterol are known to all. Finally, you
should know that the protein content of human milk is amount
the lowest (0.9%) in mammals.


Sorry, there's more. Remember lactose? This is the principal
carbohydrate 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 seems
that it is a disaccharide which is too large to be absorbed
into the blood stream without first being broken down into
monosaccharides, namely galactose and glucose. This requires
the presence of an enzyme, lactase plus additional enzymes
to break down the galactose into glucose.

Let's think about his for a moment. Nature gives us the
ability to metabolize lactose for a few years and then shuts
off the mechanism. Is Mother Nature trying to tell us
something? Clearly all infants must drink milk. The fact
that so many adults cannot seems to be related to the
tendency for nature to abandon mechanisms that are not
needed. At least half of the adult humans on this earth are
lactose intolerant. It was not until the relatively recent
introduction of dairy herding and the ability to "borrow"
milk from another group of mammals that the survival
advantage of preserving lactase (the enzyme that allows us
to digest lactose) became evident. But why would it be
advantageous to drink cows' milk? After all, most of the
human beings in the history of the world did. And further,
why was it just the white or light skinned humans who
retained this knack while the pigmented people tended to
lose it?

Some students of evolution feel that white skin is a fairly
recent innovation, perhaps not more than 20,000 or 30,000
years old. It clearly has to do with the Northward migration
of early man to cold and relatively sunless areas when skins
and clothing became available. Fair skin allows the
production of Vitamin D from sunlight more readily than does
dark skin. However, when only the face was exposed to
sunlight that area of fair skin was insufficient to provide
the vitamin D from sunlight. If dietary and sunlight sources
were poorly available, the ability to use the abundant
calcium in cows' milk would give a survival advantage to
humans who could digest that milk. This seems to be the only
logical explanation for fair skinned humans having a high
degree of lactose tolerance when compared to dark skinned

How does this break down? Certain racial groups, namely
blacks are up to 90% lactose intolerant as adults.
Caucasians are 20 to 40% lactose intolerant. Orientals are
midway between the above two groups. Diarrhea, gas and
abdominal cramps are the results of substantial milk intake
in such persons. Most American Indians cannot tolerate milk.
The milk industry admits that lactose intolerance plays
intestinal havoc with as many as 50 million Americans. A
lactose-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 dairy
products? Is all lost? Not at all. It seems that lactose is
largely digested by bacteria and you will be able to enjoy
your cheese despite lactose intolerance. Yogurt is similar
in this respect. Finally, and I could never have dreamed
this up, geneticists want to splice genes to alter the
composition of milk (Am J Clin Nutr 1993 Suppl 302s).

One could quibble and say that milk is totally devoid of
fiber content and that its habitual use will predispose to
constipation and bowel disorders.

The association with anemia and occult intestinal bleeding
in infants is known to all physicians. This is chiefly from
its lack of iron and its irritating qualities for the
intestinal mucosa. The pediatric literature abounds with
articles describing irritated intestinal lining, bleeding,
increased permeability as well as colic, diarrhea and
vomiting in cows'milk-sensitive babies. The anemia gets a
double push by loss of blood and iron as well as deficiency
of iron in the cows' milk. Milk is also the leading cause of
childhood allergy.


One additional topic: the matter of "low fat" milk. A common
and sincere question is: "Well, low fat milk is OK, isn't

The answer to this question is that low fat milk isn't low
fat. The term "low fat" is a marketing term used to gull the
public. Low fat milk contains from 24 to 33% fat as
calories! The 2% figure is also misleading. This refers to
weight. They don't tell you that, by weight, the milk is 87%

"Well, then, kill-joy surely you must approve of non-fat
milk!" I hear this quite a bit. (Another constant concern
is: "What do you put on your cereal?") True, there is little
or no fat, but now you have a relative overburden of protein
and lactose. It there is something that we do not need more
of it is another simple sugar-lactose, composed of galactose
and glucose. Millions of Americans are lactose intolerant to
boot, as noted. As for protein, as stated earlier, we live
in a society that routinely ingests far more protein than we
need. It is a burden for our bodies, especially the kidneys,
and a prominent cause of osteoporosis. Concerning the dry
cereal issue, I would suggest soy milk, rice milk or almond
milk as a healthy substitute. If you're still concerned
about calcium, "Westsoy" is formulated to have the same
calcium concentration as milk.


To my thinking, there is only one valid reason to drink milk
or use milk products. That is just because we simply want
to. Because we like it and because it has become a part of
our culture. Because we have become accustomed to its taste
and texture. Because we like the way it slides down our
throat. Because our parents did the very best they could for
us and provided milk in our earliest training and
conditioning. They taught us to like it. And then probably
the very best reason is ice cream! I've heard it described
"to die for".

I had one patient who did exactly that. He had no obvious
vices. He didn't smoke or drink, he didnÂ't eat meat, his
diet and lifestyle was nearly a perfectly health promoting
one; but he had a passion. You guessed it, he loved rich ice
cream. A pint of the richest would be a lean day's ration
for him. On many occasions he would eat an entire quart -
and yes there were some cookies and other pastries. Good ice
cream deserves this after all. He seemed to be in good
health despite some expected "middle age spread" when he had
a devastating stroke which left him paralyzed, miserable and
helpless, and he had additional strokes and d ied several
years later never having left a hospital or rehabilitation
unit. Was he old? I don't think so. He was in his 50s.

So don't drink milk for health. I am convinced on the weight
of the scientific evidence that it does not "do a body
good." Inclusion of milk will only reduce your diet's
nutritional value and safety.

Most of the people on this planet live very healthfully
without cows' milk. You can too.

It will be difficult to change; we've been conditioned since
childhood to think of milk as "nature's most perfect food."
I'll guarantee you that it will be safe, improve your health
and it won't cost anything. What can you lose?

(Article courtesty of Dr. Kradjian and 



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