Health Concerns With Dairy

Milk and dairy products are not necessary in the diet and can in fact be harmful to health.

A major concern of dairy consumption is the contaminants found in cow’s milk, which ranges from natural hormones to pesticides. The milk produced by the nursing mothers of all species, including humans, is specific to the developmental needs of each infant.

Cow’s milk naturally contains hormones and growth factors produced within the cow’s body that are specifically suited to the needs of an infant calf. Once introduced into the human body, these hormones may affect normal hormonal function.

Consumption of dairy products has been linked to a higher risk for various cancers, especially to cancers of the reproductive system. Most significantly, dairy consumption has been linked to increased risk for prostate and breast cancers.

The danger of dairy product consumption as it relates to prostate and breast cancers is most likely related to the insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), found in cow’s milk. Consuming milk and dairy products on a regular basis has been shown to increase circulating levels of IGF-1.

In addition to the increased levels of IGF-1, estrogen metabolites are also considered risk factors for cancers of the reproductive system, including cancers of the breasts, ovaries, and prostate. These metabolites can affect cellular proliferation such that cells grow rapidly and aberrantly, which can lead to cancer growth.

Commercial dairy cows are also treated with antibiotics for conditions such as mastitis, or inflammation, of the mammary glands, with traces of these medications being found in dairy products. Antibiotic treatment is used frequently due to the unnatural farming practices acquired to ensure dairy cows produce more milk than nature intended.

Pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxins are other examples of contaminants found in milk. Dairy products contribute to one-fourth to one-half of the dietary intake of total dioxins. All of these toxins do not readily leave the body and can eventually build to harmful levels that may affect the immune, reproductive, and the central nervous systems. Moreover, PCBs and dioxins have also been linked to cancer.

Cow’s milk consumption is also the leading cause of iron-deficiency anemia in infants, with the American Academy of Pediatrics now discouraging parents from giving children milk before their first birthday. Additionally it has been shown that milk consumption in childhood also contributes to the development of Type-I diabetes.

A 2001 Finnish study of 3,000 infants with genetically increased risk for developing diabetes showed that early introduction of cow’s milk increased susceptibility to type 1 diabetes. Certain proteins in milk resemble molecules on the beta cells of the pancreas that secrete insulin. In some cases, the immune system makes antibodies to these milk proteins & mistakenly attacks and destroys the beta cells.

Food allergies also appear to be a common result of cow’s milk consumption, particularly in children, with links to chronic constipation also being evident.

Contrary to common beliefs, clinical research clearly shows that dairy products have little or no benefit for bone health. The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, which followed more than 72,000 women for 18 years, showed no protective effect of increased milk consumption on fracture risk.

Another common problem associated with dairy consumption is Lactose intolerance. Symptoms include gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea and flatulence, which occur because many individuals no longer have the enzyme lactase to digest the milk sugar lactose.

Nursing children have active enzymes that break down lactose, but as we age, many of us lose much of this capacity. Due to the common nature of this condition, and in order to avoid these uncomfortable side effects, milk consumption is not recommended.

It is best to consume a healthful diet of fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes and fortified milk alternatives or juices.These nutrient-dense foods can help you meet your calcium, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin D requirements with ease—without facing the health risks associated with dairy product consumption.

( Source of facts: http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/health-concerns-about-dairy-products#.Up0PMqk4aRk.facebook )

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