Different Breeds of Milk
In nature, we can observe young animals feeding exclusively on milk for nutrition. This is the case until they learn to feed on other food sources. Then, milk is eliminated from their diet completely. In humans, we can see the same biological pattern. Lactase, an enzyme that digests milk, disappears from the human body when it reaches maturity. That means that when our bodies mature, our bodies no longer produce the enzyme that is required to properly digest milk.
Our biological processes tell us that we are not meant to keep consuming milk throughout our lives. Adult humans have no more of a need for milk than adult lions or monkeys. Yet western civilizations keeps consuming milk, which is mostly absent in traditional Asian and African diets except for use as a laxative. Many Asians have allergic reactions when consuming milk.
In fact, for perhaps the majority of people in the world, including most southern European, Asian and African populations, lactose intolerance is the norm. It sets in at weaning or shortly after, when the body stops producing lactase – the enzyme it needs to digest the sugar lactose, which is a major ingredient of human and animal milk. And many people do not realize it. But just because the effects are less visible in some, it does not mean that it is healthy to be drinking milk. All toxicity is determined by dosage. And individuals have varying tolerance to varying doses. Some may tolerate milk better than others but for most of us, common American milk is not a recommended part of a healthy diet.
However, it has become a staple in many western diets. Milk, in general consists of protein and fat, so it does not combine well with other foods. Yet many people wash down their food with milk. Milk curdles right away when it reaches your stomach so any other food particles that may be in your stomach will mix with the curdled milk and become insulated from the digestive juices that would otherwise break it down. Remember that human adults no longer produce lactase, that enzyme needed to digest milk. This often leads to the rotting of the food inside our stomachs. This why the golden rule for milk is,
“Drink it alone, or leave it alone.”
At this point it is important to recognize that, like many other processed foods, not all milk is the same. There’s raw milk, organic milk, pasteurized milk, homogenized milk, and all of these different types of milk can be produced by different breeds of cows, which affects the quality of the milk.
The father of pasteurization, Louis Pasteur, developed the heat treatment process while experimenting with different methods to kill pathogens in wine. The milk Industry used this technology in the late 1800’s to market and push their product onto western consumers. And for the most part, it appears to have been an enormous public relations success.
Although the pasteurization process is credited for the decline in tuberculosis and typhoid, it also coincides with the development of sewage systems and cleaner water supplies. It is difficult to determine which factor was responsible for what percentage of the decline. However, it appears that the pasteurization process being the lone reason for the decline in these diseases is a bit of a stretch. It more likely that it is an association and not the primary cause.
While pasteurization may decrease the chance of ingesting certain pathogens, it also kills the nutritional value contained in the raw milk. The pasteurization of milk has also made milk even harder to digest properly than it already was. Pasteurization destroys the milk’s natural enzymes and alters its proteins.
Raw milk contains the enzymes lactase and lipase, which allow raw milk to digest itself. Pasteurized milk, which does not contain lactase and other active enzymes, can not be properly digested by human adult stomachs. The lack of enzymes and alteration of proteins also makes the calcium and other minerals in milk largely unusable. The process also destroys the healthy bacteria found naturally in milk and reduces the micronutrient and vitamin content.
Despite the FDA’s claims of increased safety from pathogens, pasteurization is a needless process if the cows were raised free range and grass-fed like nature intended. The milk would not need to be processed. Instead, they are restricted to unsanitary feed lots and fed high protein diets with genetically modified feed to increase profits.
Furthermore, the cows are injected with hormones that increase the size of their pituitary glands. This makes them produce up to three times more milk than a normal cow. Cha-ching! 3 times as much in profits. The hormone injections are accompanied by antibiotics to keep the cow healthy enough to keep producing cash. And these hormones and antibiotics end up in the milk with other particles from the infections that the cows may have acquired from unhealthy, profit-driven breeding practices.
To make things worse, milk is now routinely ‘homogenized’ to prevent the cream from separating from the milk. This involves the fragmenting and pulverizing fat molecules to the point that they will not separate from the rest of the milk. But it also permits the tiny fragments of milk fat to easily pass through the lining of the small intestine, greatly increasing the amount of denatured fat and cholesterol absorbed by the body. In fact, you absorb more milk-fat from homogenized milk than you do from pure cream.
When pasteurized milk is also homogenized, a substance known as xanthine oxidase is created. This compound can play a role in oxidative stress by acting as a free radical in your body.
Even organic milk, which should be from relatively healthy cows, is still not a healthy choice for milk, as it is still pasteurized. The real issue is not organic versus non-organic milk, it is raw versus pasteurized.
The healthy alternative to pasteurized milk is raw milk, which is an outstanding source of nutrients including beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus, vitamins and enzymes, and it is a great source of calcium. Raw milk is generally not associated with the health problems linked to pasteurized milk, and even people who have been allergic to pasteurized milk for many years can typically tolerate and even thrive on raw milk.
However, some people may still experience problems, such as upper respiratory congestion, when drinking raw milk, and the difference between the breeds of cows the milk comes from appears to hold the answer.
Our issue in America is that we have the wrong cows
A1 & A2 Milk
There are differences in the milk produced by various breeds of dairy cows. A1 cows are the newer breeds that experienced a mutation about 5,000 years ago, whereas A2 cows are the older breeds that do not have this mutation.
A1 cows include the black and white breeds like Holsteins and Friesians. Unfortunately, Holsteins are one of the most popular breeds in North America. The older breeds, such as Jersey’s, Guernsey, Asian and African are primarily A2’s. Goats and sheep also produce the healthier A2 type milk.
When you take A1 cow milk away, and stimulate our own endorphins instead of the toxic opiate of BCM 7, some great health benefits follow. BCM 7 is less active in people with a healthy GI tract.
(betacasein.net offers a list of published scientific studies of the differences between A1 and A2 milk and their health ramifications.)
Despite scientific evidence in favor of raw milk and against pasteurized milk, and despite the fact that until the early twentieth century the human species thrived on raw milk, it is actually illegal to sell raw milk to consumers in all but a few states in America today.
It is far more profitable to the dairy industry to pasteurize milk to extend its shelf-life, though such denatured milk does nothing whatsoever to extend human life. Furthermore, pasteurization renders milk from sick cows in unsanitary dairies relatively ‘harmless’ by killing some, but not all, dangerous germs, and this too cuts costs for the dairy industry.
At the end of the day, this is just another example of how profits have pushed our health and safety aside. Instead of waiting for dairy farmers to voluntarily reduce their own profits, just being aware of this inherent difference between the different breeds of milk can prove to be invaluable for many.