Ask the Expert: Hormones in Milk and Dairy Products
Q. Are your diet plan full of… milk? Is milk safe? I’ve heard pros and cons ranging from the happy mustache commercials to the large amounts of detrimental hormones found in dairy products. Help!
A. Americans have upped dairy consumption two cups a day over the last three decades. Today’s milk based products from cow’s milk pack a walloping hormonal punch far stronger than our ancestors ever ingested.
Milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream contain estrogens which can spur tissue growth, as well as a sugar component (lactose) which may act as a reproductive hormone on the ovaries. That, plus a protein (casein), appears to stimulate the production of growth hormones in our bodies. These are fine (with the exception of the excess xeno-estrogens) if you’re a calf or a human toddler. Once you are an adult, sex hormones have the potential to trigger and speed the development of some cancers, particularly of the breast.
Cow’s milk is high in lactose (milk sugar) which contains galactose. Galactose may contribute to the process that stimulates the growth of ovarian cells and follicles, placing stress on the ovaries, which in turn increases your IGF-I levels. This damages organs. High IGF-I also pumps up human growth hormone production, which in adults may help cancer express. Women with high IGF-I are at risk of developing breast cancer.
Dairy cows are pregnant 6-7 months per year while lactating. Do you suppose farmer Brown has individualized healthy meal plans for his cows? Heck NO! He wants more pounds of milk! And how does this come about? Rampant pregnancy hormones plus Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) given to non-organic cows increases lactation by 50-75%. BGH is estrogenic – yet another worry for humans. The latest studies show eleven types of estrogen in non-organic dairy products, some linked to estrogen positive breast cancer tumors.
If you are concerned about ovarian or breast cancer, switch from cow’s milk to sheep’s or goat’s in your diet plans, or even lactose free milk and absolutely, unequivocally only organic. As for calcium, consider supplementation, as well as increasing your intake of broccoli and other greens. Vitamin D should be taken in the D3 form while liquid drops are best sublingually.
Deborah Arneson is a Licensed Clinical Nutritionist and consultant. If you would like to Throw Your Health a LIFELINE!!! call Plan-it Lean at 312.664.2288.