(I originally wrote this article for FitLife.TV)
Did you know that American milk isn’t allowed to be sold in Europe, Canada or 30 other countries including Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand and Japan?
And yet millions of Americans reach for their milk cartons daily to get their fill of calcium and other nutrients. It is estimated that Americans, on average, drink 20+ gallons of milk every single year. Not to mention ice cream and other products consumed that also have milk as a main ingredient.
But does consuming American milk have negative effects on the body that we as Americans have yet to realize?
With all the propaganda encouraging consumers to buy milk, not a lot of Americans realize that there is continued scientific research being performed that has linked milk to increased cancer risk and other undesirable health issues.
So what’s going on with American cows that isn’t happening to their relatives in other countries?
In 1994, the use of recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) in dairy cows was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The injection (invented by Monsanto) of this hormone helps cows produce about 20% more milk. It ALSO stimulates some unanticipated action in the liver, making it increase Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) levels in a cow’s milk by 80% or more.
IGF-1 is a protein produced by people (and cows) and is important for growth during childhood as well as anabolic activity in adults.
So not only does rBGH and IGF-1 affect the cows, but it ends up in their milk and thus into every person who chooses to drink it.
The big question is: should we be concerned about this?
The IGF-1 produced by both cows and humans is identical, meaning the same 70 amino acids are arranged in the same order for this hormone in cows and in people. The overabundance of this hormone in cow milk has been linked to increased cancer risk and premature arrival of puberty.
A study done by researchers at The University of Bristol concluded the following:
“These data provide some evidence that variation in childhood milk and dairy product intakes underlies associations of leg length (a marker of prepubertal growth), IGF-1 and cancer risk. The association appears to be due to the protein content of milk.”
Another study done by the University of Osnabrück in Germany examined the correlation between IGF-1 and acne in adults. IGF-1 naturally increases during puberty, which is one of the causes of teenage acne. Milk consumption also increases this hormone (unnaturally) and may result in acne and increased cancer risk. The study reports as follows:
“Milk consumption results in a significant increase in insulin and IGF-1 serum levels comparable with high glycaemic food… Acne is proposed to be an IGF-1-mediated disease, modified by diets and smoking increasing insulin/IGF-1-signalling. Metformin treatment, and diets low in milk protein content and glycaemic index reduce increased IGF-1 signalling. Persistent acne in adulthood with high IGF-1 levels may be considered as an indicator for increased risk of cancer, which may require appropriate dietary intervention as well as treatment with insulin-sensitizing agents.”
No wonder other countries are hesitant about drinking our milk! After the approval of rBGH milk in 1994, the U.S. began pushing Mexico, Canada and Europe to also approve this Monsanto GMO milk to be sold in their respective countries, using reports from the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), an international expert scientific committee, which “... unequivocally absolved rBGH from any adverse veterinary and public health effects.”
However some professionals, such as Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., believed that “.... these JECFA committees… operate under conditions of non-transparency and conflicts of interest, and are predominantly staffed by unelected and unaccountable U.S. and Canadian regulatory officials and industry consultants with no expertise in public health, preventive medicine and carcinogenesis.”
Both Canada and Europe commissioned independent committees to examine and review scientific literature on the effects of rBGH on both cows and people.
“Based on conclusions on the adverse veterinary effects of rBGH, particularly an increased incidence of mastitis, lameness and reproductive problems, Health Canada reluctantly broke ranks with the U.S. in January 1999, and issued a formal ‘notice of non- compliance’, disapproving future sales of rBGH.”
European committees agreed with Canada and had similar conclusions regarding the rBGH milk:
“The public health committee confirmed earlier reports of excess levels of the naturally occurring Insulin-like-Growth Factor One (IGF-1), including its highly potent variants, in rBGH milk and concluded that these posed major risks of cancer, particularly of the breast and prostate, besides promoting the growth and invasiveness of cancer cells by inhibiting their programmed self-destruction (apoptosis).”
Despite the banning of milk in other countries, the U.S. continued to approve the use and marketing of rBGH milk to its American citizens. The media has done little to publicize the existing scientific evidence that there are indeed potential health hazards associated with the drinking of Monsanto milk products.
Did the concerns of Canadian and European committees prove to be true?
In 2007, the Cancer Prevention Coalition filed a petition with the FDA requesting a ban on rBGH milk in the U.S. but so far the FDA has done nothing about it. In the petition they stated:
“This petition is based on scientific evidence of increased risks of cancer, particularly breast, colon, and prostate, from the consumption of milk from cows injected with Posilac®, the genetically modified recombinant bovine growth hormone…”
It then goes on to describe concerns about the toxicity in rBGH milk and states that,
“Increased levels of IGF-1 have been shown to increase risks of breast cancer by up to seven-fold in 22 publications, risks of colon cancer in 16 publications, and prostate cancer in 10 publications.”
You’d think that with so much concern circulating about the safety of rBGH milk that the FDA would at least label it so consumers know what they’re drinking. However, many people don’t even know what rBGH milk is or what GMO means.
“The FDA has misled dairy producers and consumers with regard to its requirement for labeling of rBGH milk, to the effect that “No significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST treated cows.” This, however, is misleading in extreme as the “FDA has determined it lacks the basis for requiring such labeling in its statute.””
Please see the full petition here.
There is growing concern that Monsanto is unreliable, especially in regards to its claims that GMO milk and other GMO products like soy and corn are safe. Despite popular and widely circulated claims that “...no negative health consequences have been detected (or are anticipated)...” with GMO products there is a lot of evidence to suggest otherwise.
Are we to continue being guinea pigs in a giant human experiment?
It is important now more than ever for EVERY person to take full responsibility for their health. We must do everything we can to be sure the food we are eating is SAFE and PROVEN so. We, as consumers have power in where we put our money. As we become active in pursuing truth, whatever that may mean, we can and will be able to take a stand against corporations who may not have our best interest in mind.
It is up to us.
Going off of dairy can be tricky at first, but isn’t as hard as you might think. Try different options until you find what you like and reach out to friends who are doing the same thing! If you don’t want to go off dairy you can also simply try to avoid rBGH milk by buying organic dairy products or products that are listed as rBGH or rBST free.
Best dairy alternatives: Almond milk, coconut milk, cashew or hemp milk, rice milk, organic butter, coconut butter, coconut cream, cashew sour cream, nutritional yeast (instead of cheese), coconut yogurt and kefir (coconut or water). I do NOT recommend soy or tofu as alternatives.
Individual studies from PUBMED are linked when quoted above.Photo 1