in honor of food allergy awareness week...famous milk letter

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 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-

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 billion.

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

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

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

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

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; 213:1014).

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 California.

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 particles?

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

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

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 “liquid meat” 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 membrane.

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 disease.

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

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

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

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 difference.

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'

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

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

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
guy”" 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

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 Francisco.

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

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 people.

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

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 it?"

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% water!

"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


jack said...

no matter how many times i read it, this letter impacts me anew. i wish people would try some of the wonderful alternatives we have today and just walk away from dairy (and corn). we live in a consumer-driven culture - if we demanded corn-free foods and stopped buying the corn-laden ones, manufacturers would provide them. if we demanded dairy alternatives, manufacturers would make them!

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