Thursday, May 20, 2010

Raw Milk

We started doing Raw Milk again last week. We've done it before for a long time when Noah was little, but it's expensive, so we cut it out. But then, as I said, we watched Food Inc, and decided we needed to invest in better products for our kids. So now people think we're crazy to drink raw milk! I thought I would post an article my milk lady gave here it is! It's a lot, but you get the point just from the beginning if you don't want to read it all!

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Raw milk is an absolutely marvelous whole food, whereas pasteurized milk is just not designed for your best long-term health interests, and will invariably cause you problems if you drink it long enough.

Why is Raw Milk Good for you?

  • Raw milk still contains all of the valuable enzymes that are destroyed during pasteurization. Without them, milk is very difficult to digest. So if you have a lactose intolerance, it will simply disappear once you start consuming raw dairy products.
  • Raw milk is an outstanding source of healthy, “good” bacteria and micronutrients, including lactobacillus, acidophilus, and vitamins, which are virtually eliminated by the pasteurization process of commercial milk. It is an outstanding nutrient to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your intestine.
  • Raw milk still contains natural butterfat, which is homogenized or removed in commercial milk. Without butterfat, your body cannot absorb and utilize the vitamins and minerals in the water fraction of the milk. Butterfat is also your best source of preformed vitamin A, and contains re-arranged acids with strong anti-carcinogenic properties.
  • Raw milk does not contain synthetic vitamin D, which is known to be toxic to the liver, yet is still added to most commercial milk.
  • Raw milk contains healthy unoxidized cholesterol.

Pasteurizing milk, on the other hand, destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamins, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamin B12 and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria, and promotes pathogens.

From my perspective, there’s simply no rational justification to ever drink pasteurized milk, even organic pasteurized milk.

Once you heat milk, you distort the configuration -- the shape -- of the fragile milk protein, turning it from something good into something bad that will actually cause allergies and other autoimmune dysfunction. So, even if you start with organic milk from grass-fed cows, once you heat it the milk is ruined and should not be consumed.

In addition to the reasons mentioned above, raw-milk drinkers also rave about these additional benefits:

  • You feel the health benefits: Raw milk is not associated with any of the health problems surrounding pasteurized milk, such as rheumatoid arthritis, skin rashes, diarrhea, and cramps. Even people who have been allergic to pasteurized milk for many years can typically tolerate and even thrive on raw milk.
  • It tastes better: As with any food, fresher is always better and this applies to milk as well. Fresh raw milk is creamier and better tasting than pasteurized milk that has a shelf life of several weeks.

This is Dr. Mercola, and today's video update is about raw milk. Is it good for you or isn't it? If you've been on our website for a while, you know I've been a strong advocate of raw milk. I learned about it initially through the pioneering work of the Weston-Price Foundation. I've seen enormous benefit for many patients in my practice, and I strongly recommend it for a number of reasons.

There's a lot of confusion around this subject because many confuse organic milk with raw milk. Of course, raw milk is going to be superior almost every time. The problems begin with pasteurization of milk. Milk contains a very fragile protein, and proteins are composed of little amino acids and little strings. That is their one-dimensional shape. But they also have a two dimensional shape when they bend backwards and forwards. In addition, they have a three-dimensional shape. They have a tertiary structure in space which puts them in a unique, three-dimensional configuration; it's a very specific shape in space.

When you heat milk, even with a small amount of heat, as low as 110° F., you can distort the configuration, or shape, of the protein, turning it from something good into something bad that will actually cause allergies and other autoimmune dysfunction. This is one reason why cooking, or even worse, pasteurizing food, can be a problem, as even though it will eliminate bacteria, it also causes potential complications and dangers in the food.

We've seen enormous benefits for many in our practice who have begun using raw milk. Of course, the challenge in using raw milk is that it's somewhat difficult to get, as it's illegal in virtually every state in the U.S. except California, where you can purchase it in stores such as Whole Foods. For help in finding raw milk, go to or find a local dairy farmer who will sell it to you. There are ways to go about it whereby a consumer buys a portion of the cow, with the Cow Share Program. That seems to be an effective way to circumvent difficulties and legally obtain the raw milk.

One interesting principle I'd like to share is this. I've been a very strong advocate of raw milk, and I've been quoted in the L.A. Times, Time Magazine and Wall Street Journal for me position on this. I find it very ironic that even though I'm a strong proponent of raw milk, and fully believe in its benefits, I personally cannot use raw milk. I love the taste of it, but it doesn't like me. It's not just raw milk; it's all milk. You see, I have, for some unknown reason, developed some type of sensitivity to milk, where if I take it, my kidneys start to fail and I go into renal insufficiency. It's a very serious issue for me, so I have to avoid all dairy in any shape or form. That's the challenge I have in my health journey. But it doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't use it.

The reason I bring up this example is that it's a very powerful illustration of the fact that you have to personalize the information you receive. You see, we give you general information on the website. But the whole purpose of the site is to educate you so that you understand that you need to listen to your body. Your body is going to give you the information, the feedback, the resources to understand whether or not any given information is in fact good for you.

It's important to realize that whether it's coming from me, another natural health practitioner or another physician, that you really need to integrate the info, keeping in mind at all times what your body is telling you. Your body will almost invariably, regularly, universally, tell you the truth so that you can have that feedback to adjust, monitor and fine tune your health.

If I were to blindly believe that raw milk was good for me personally and continue to drink it, I would probably be on renal dialysis, which is not a pretty picture. So you have to customize the information you receive, again, not only from me, but from anyone, and that's a very important principle to grasp if you hope to ever take control of your health.

I was happy to see a published story that documents how some families have become aware of the health benefits of raw milk and are switching to it, despite the warnings of public health officials who are ignorant about the serious damage that pasteurization does to the quality of the milk.

Less than 1 percent of the milk consumed in America is raw, which is most unfortunate as raw milk is a highly health-promoting food. Public health officials warn that raw milk poses the risk of transmitting bacteria such as listeria, E. coli and salmonella, but pasteurizing the milk kills these bacteria while extending the milk's shelf life, which also happens to be more profitable for the dairy industry.

While it is certainly possible to become sick from drinking contaminated raw milk, it is also possible to become sick from almost any food source. But it seems that raw milk has been unfairly singled out as a risk, when only a very small risk exists. This excerpt from the Weston A. Price Foundation Web site further states my point:

Except for a brief hiatus in 1990, raw milk has always been for sale commercially in California, usually in health food stores, although I can remember a period when it was even sold in grocery stores. Millions of people consumed commercial raw milk during that period and although the health department kept an eagle eye open for any possible evidence of harm, not a single incidence was reported. During the same period, there were many instances of contamination in pasteurized milk, some of which resulted in death.

Fortunately, even though the sale of raw milk is legal only in a limited number of states, more and more people are realizing its benefits and finding their own legal sources. Here are a few of the major reasons why more people are choosing to drink their milk raw.

It Has More Nutrients

Raw milk is an outstanding source of nutrients including beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus, vitamins and enzymes, and it is, in my estimation, the finest source of calcium available.

The pasteurization process, which entails heating the milk to a temperature of 145 degrees to 150 degrees F and keeping it there for at least half an hour and then reducing the temperature to not more than 55 degrees F, completely changes the structure of the milk proteins (denaturization) into something far less than healthy. While the process certainly destroys germs and bad bacteria, it also destroys the milk's beneficial bacteria along with many of its nutritious components.

Pasteurizing milk destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria and promotes pathogens. You may notice that raw milk left out will sour naturally but pasteurized milk will rot. This is because the beneficial bacteria in the raw milk helps to keep putrefactive bacteria under control. Pasteurized milk, however, does not have any of the beneficial bacteria left to keep it from rotting.

Then, of course there is the issue of the antibiotics, pesticides and growth hormones and the fact that nearly all commercial dairy cows are raised on grains, not grass, like they were designed to. This will change the composition of the fats in the milk, especially the CLA content.

People Feel the Health Benefits

Pasteurized cow's milk is the number one allergic food in this country. It has been associated with a number of symptoms and illnesses including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Skin rashes
  • Allergies
  • Colic in infants
  • Osteoporosis
  • Increased tooth decay
  • Arthritis
  • Increased tooth decay
  • Growth problems in children
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Acne
  • Recurrent ear infections in children
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Infertility
  • Leukemia
  • Autism

Raw milk, on the other hand, is not associated with any of these problems, and even people who have been allergic to pasteurized milk for many years can typically tolerate and even thrive on raw milk.

Raw milk is truly one of the most profoundly healthy foods you can consume, and you'll feel the difference once you start to drink it.

It Tastes Better

As with any food, fresher is always better and this applies to milk as well. Fresh raw milk is creamier and better tasting than pasteurized milk that has a shelf-life of several weeks. Ultra-high-temperature milk can be stored without refrigeration for about six months.

Even people who have never liked the taste of milk find that raw milk has a soothing, pleasant taste that they can't resist.

Obtaining raw milk can be a challenge but it is well worth the effort to seek out. You can go to for some help, but if you are unable to find any through that site I would suggest contacting a dairy farmer and asking him or her to buy the raw milk directly.

It is technically illegal to sell in many states but many people tell them they are using the milk for their pets. Alternatively, another strategy that has stood nearly every legal test is the cow-share program. One merely purchases a small ownership of a cow for $10 or $20 and then the farmer is able to sell you the milk from the cow as you are part owner and it is perfectly legal to drink raw milk from your own cow.

More Reasons Why You Don’t Want to Drink Pasteurized Milk

"Pasteurization was also found to affect the hematogenic and growth-promoting properties of the special milk (raw milk from specially fed cows, whose milk did not produce nutritional anemia--whereas commercially pasteurized milk did) ..."

-Krauss, W. E., Erb, J.H. and Washburn, R. G., Studies on the nutritive value of milk II. The effect of pasteurization on some of the nutritive properties of milk," Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 518, page 11, January, 1933.

"Resistance to tuberculosis increased in children fed raw milk instead of pasteurized, to the point that in five years only one case of pulmonary TB had developed, whereas in the previous five years, when children had been given pasteurized milk, 14 cases of pulmonary TB had developed."

-The Lancet, page 1142, May 8, 1937

"Human or cow milk added to an equal volume of agar did not support the growth or allowed only slight growth of B. diphtheriae Staph. aureus, B. coli, B. prodigiosus, B. pyocyaneus, B. anthracis, streptococci, and unidentified wild yeast. The factors in human milk inhibiting bacterial growth (‘inhibins’) were inactivated by heating at 56 degrees C. (pasteurization temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees C.) for 30 minutes or by standing 12 to 24 days at 5 degrees C., but not by repeated freezing and thawing. The ‘inhibins’ in cow’s milk were not inactivated by heating at 80 degrees C. for seven minutes but were destroyed by heating at 85 degrees C. for seven minutes. Attempts have not been made to identify the natural antiseptics."

-Dold, H., Wizaman, E., and Kleiner, C., Z. Hyt. Inf., "Antiseptic in milk," The Drug and Cosmetic Industry, 43,1:109, July, 1938.

"Milk, an animal product, is the essential food of all infant mammals. Mammals are so classified in the scale of living things because of the common characteristic of the female nursing her young. The infant mammal is accordingly carnivorous in his natural habits irrespective of whether the adult of the species is herbivorous or carnivorous.

If the adults on a carnivorous diet show conditions of deficiency on cooked meat, is it not reasonable to suppose that growing infants on entirely cooked carnivorous diets will do likewise? Many experimenters, such as Catel, Dutcher, Wilson, and others, have shown such to be the case in animals fed on pasteurized milk ...

Can human infants be born of mothers who are deficient, and yet attain a fair degree of skeletal development if given a proper raw milk supply? The three infants in figure 4 were born of mothers known to by hypothyroid. Prior to the birth of the infants shown, all three mothers had given birth to children within three years. Each of the previous children was asthmatic, showed infantile rickets, and possessed poor skeletal development.

The first child shown in Figure 4 was breastfed from birth, with the mother living under excellent health-promoting conditions. The second child was on powdered milk for four weeks, and on raw certified milk after that without cod-liver oil or orange juice. Both the first and second child began supplemental feedings when they were about five months old and were very healthy babies. The third baby was always sickly and had been on formulae since birth.

These formulae included powdered milk, pasteurized milk, boiled milk, boiled certified milk and canned milk. She had suffered from severe gastric distress during her entire infancy and when eight months old she developed asthma. She is very small though her parents are of larger build than the parents of the other two children.

The strictest bacteriologic standards for milk must always be maintained. The feeding of cattle should receive greater attention. It should be determined experimentally, if possible, whether health and resistance are undermined by pasteurization. If so, in our attempt to protect the child from milk-borne infections, we may be denying his heritage of good health by removing from his milk vitamins, hormones, and enzymes that control mineral assimilation and promote body development and general resistance to disease. Is it also possible that these same elements are as important to the adult invalid who needs milk as to the infant?

Let us have closer cooperation between raw-milk producers and public-health officials so that the growth-producing factors of raw milk can be studied. We cannot afford to pasteurize milk if it is found that pasteurization diminishes the potency of the growth-promoting factors that determine the skeletal development of our children. We cannot afford to lessen the resistance of our children to respiratory infection, asthma, bronchitis and the common cold when factors preventing them are present in greater amounts in properly clean raw milk than in pasteurized milk."

-Pottenger, F. M. Jr., "Clinical and experimental evidence of growth factors in raw milk," Certified Milk, January, 1937.

"Some have questioned whether pasteurized milk is really involved in the production of scurvy. The fact, however, that when one gives a group of infants this food for a period of about six months, instances of scurvy occur, and that a cure is brought about when raw milk is substituted, taken in conjunction with the fact that if we feed the same number of infants on raw milk, cases of scurvy will not develop--these results seem sufficient to warrant the deduction that pasteurized milk is a causative factor.

The experience in Berlin, noted by Newmann (Newmann, H., Deutsch. Klin., 7:341, 1904) and others, is most illuminating and convincing in this connection. In 1901 a large dairy in that city established a pasteurizing plant in which all milk was raised to a temperature of about 60 degrees C. After an interval of some months, infantile scurvy was reported from various sources throughout the city. Neumann writes about the situation as follows:

‘Whereas Heubner, Cassel and myself had seen only 32 cases of scurvy from 1896 to 1900, the number of cases suddenly rose from the year 1901, so that the same observers--not to mention a great many others--treated 83cases in 1901 and 1902.’

An investigation was made as to the cause, and the pasteurization was discontinued. The result was that the number of cases decreased just as suddenly as they had increased ..."

-Hess, A. F., "Infantile Scurvy, V. A study of its pathogenesis," Am. J Dis. Child., November, 1917.

"Although pasteurized milk is to be recommended on account of the security which it affords against infection, we should realize that it is an incomplete food. Unless an antiscorbutic, such as orange juice, ... or potato water is added, infants will develop scurvy on this diet. This form of scurvy takes some months to develop and may be termed subacute. It must be considered not only the most common form of this disorder, but the one which passes most often unrecognized. In order to guard against it, infants fed exclusively on a diet of pasteurized milk should be given antiscorbutics far earlier than is at present the custom, even as early as at the end of the first month of life."

-Hess, A. F., "Infantile Scurvy. III. Its influence on growth (length and weight)," Am. J. Dis. Child., August, 1916.

"One of the most striking clinical phenomenon of infantile scurvy is the marked susceptibility to infection which it entails--the frequent attacks of ‘grippe,’ the widespread occurrence of nasal diphtheria, the furunculosis of the skin, the danger of pneumonia in advanced cases ..."

-Hess, A. F., "Infantile Scurvy. V. A study of its pathogenesis," Am. J. Dis. Child., November, 1917.

"... Recently, Minot and his colleagues came to the conclusion that adult scurvy can be precipitated by infectious processes; in other words, that latent scurvy can by this means be changed to manifest scurvy. In general, therefore, investigations in the laboratory as well as clinical observations are in agreement in stressing the interrelationship of scurvy and bacterial infection."

-Hess, A. F., "Recent advances in knowledge of scurvy and the antiscorbutic vitamin," J.A.M.A., April 23, 1932.

This illustrates the futility of pasteurization of milk to prevent infection from diseases the cows may sometimes have, such as undulant fever. The infant is then made subject to the common infectious diseases, and deaths from these common diseases are not attributed, as they should be, to the defective nature of the milk.

Effects of Pasteurization of Milk on Tooth Health

The Lancet, page 1142, May 8, 1937 says that in children the teeth are less likely to decay on diet supplemented with raw milk than with pasteurized milk.

"Dr. Evelyn Sprawson of the London Hospital has recently stated that in certain institutions children who were brought up on raw milk (as opposed to pasteurized milk) had perfect teeth and no decay. Whether this was due actually to the milk being unheated, or possibly to some other, quite different and so far unrecognized cause, we cannot yet say; but we may be sure of one thing, that the result is so striking and unusual that it will undoubtedly be made the subject of further inquiry."

-Harris, L.J., Vitamins in Theory and Practice, page 224, Cambridge, University Press, 1935.

Effect of Pasteurization of Milk on Growth

... Fisher and Bartlett "point out by statistical treatment that the response in height to raw milk was significantly greater than that to pasteurized milk. Their interpretation of the data led to the assertion that the pasteurized milk was only 66 percent effective as the raw milk in the case of boys and 91.1 percent as effective in the case of girls in inducing increases in weight, and 50.0 percent as effective in boys and 70.0 percent in girls in bringing about height increases."

-Krauss, W. E., Erb, J. H. and Washburn, R.G., "Studies on the nutritive value of milk, II." "The effect of pasteurization on some of the nutritive properties of milk," Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 518, page 8, January 1933.

"... Daniels and Loughlin observed that young rats fed long heat-treated milks, evaporated, condensed, and pasteurized by the ‘hold’ method failed to grow normally, but if the precipitated calcium salts were incorporated into the various milk, growth was normal ..."

-Daniels, A.L., and Loughlin, R., Journal of Biological Chemistry, 44.381, 1920, as abstracted by Holmes and Pigott, "Factors that influence the anti-rachitic value of milk in infant feeding," Oil & Soap, 12.9:202-207, September, 1935.

Calcium Availability in Pasteurized Milk

"Kramer, Latzke and Shaw (Kramer, Martha M., Latzke, F., and Shaw, M.M., A Comparison of Raw, Pasteurized, Evaporated and Dried Milks as Sources of Calcium and Phosphorus for the Human Subject, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 79:283-295, 1928) obtained less favorable calcium balances in adults with pasteurized milk than with ‘fresh milk’ and made the further observation that milk from cows kept in the barn for five months gave less favorable calcium balances than did ‘fresh milk’ (herd milk from a college dairy)."

-Krauss, W. E., Erb, J.H., and Washburn, R.G., "Studies on the nutritive value of milk, II. The effect of pasteurization on some of the nutritive properties of milk," Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 518, page 8, January, 1933.

"Guinea pigs fed raw milk with an addition of skim milk powder, copper and iron salts, carotene, and orange juice grew well and showed no abnormalities at autopsy. When pasteurized whole milk was used, deficiency symptoms began to appear, wrist stiffness being the first sign. The substitution of skim milk for whole milk intensified the deficiency, which was characterized by great emaciation and weakness before death ... At autopsy the muscles were found to be extremely atrophied, and closely packed, fine lines of calcification ran parallel to the fibers. Also calcification occurred in other parts of the body. When cod liver oil replaced carotene in the diet, paralysis developed quickly. The feeding of raw cream cured the wrist stiffness."

-Annual Review of Biochemistry, Vol. 18, Page 435. (1944).

In The Lancet, page 1142, May 8, 1937 it is shown that chilblains are practically eliminated (result of higher calcium values of raw milk or improved assimilation of calcium) when raw milk rather than pasteurized milk is used in the diet of children.

Pasteurization Destroys Vitamin A

"... According to S. Schmidt-Nielsen and Schmidt-Nielson (Kgl. Norske Videnskab. Selsk. Forhandl., 1:126-128, abstracted in Biological Abstracts, 4:94, 1930), when milk pasteurized at 63 degrees C. (145 degrees F.) was fed to mature rats, early death or diminished vitality resulted in the offspring. This was attributed to the destruction of vitamin A."

-Krauss, W.E., Erb, J.H. and Washburn, R.G. Studies on the nutritive value of milk, II. The effect of pasteurization on some of the nutritive properties of milk," Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 518, page 9, January, 1933.

Pasteurization Destroys Vitamin B Complex

"Pasteurization of milk destroys about 38 percent of the B complex according to Dutcher and his associates ..."

-Lewis, L.R., The relation of the vitamins to obstetrics, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 29.5:759. May, 1935.

"Mattick and Golding’s "Relative value of Raw and Heated Milk in Nutrition, in The Lancet (220:662-667), reported some preliminary experiments which indicated that pasteurization destroys some of the dietetic value of milk, including partial destruction of Vitamin B1. These same workers found the raw milk to be considerably superior to sterilized milk in nutritive value."

-Krauss, W. E., Erb, J. H. and Washburn, R.G., Studies on the nutritive value of milk, II. The effect of pasteurization on some of the nutritive properties of milk," Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 518, page 7, January, 1933.

"... On the 7.5 cc. level two rats on raw milk developed mild polyneuritis toward the end of the trial; whereas three rats on pasteurized milk developed polyneuritis early, which became severe as the trial drew to a close. On the 10.0 cc. level none of the rats on raw milk developed polyneuritis, but three on pasteurized milk were severely afflicted."

-Ibid, page 23.

"Using standard methods for determining vitamins A, B, G and D, it was found that pasteurization destroyed at least 25 percent of the vitamin B in the original raw milk."

-Ibid, page 30.

Pasteurization Destroys Vitamin C

"... The pasteurization of milk has been found to destroy 20 percent to 50 percent [of the vitamin C] the first month of life. The reasonable procedure, therefore, appears to be to use pasteurized milk to insure protection against disease germs of various kinds and to supply the vitamin deficiency through other foods. The success in infant feeding based on this principle is evinced especially in the amazing reduction in infant mortality in the summer months."

-Jordan, E.O.,A Textbook of General Bacteriology, Twelfth Edition, Revised, page 691, W. B. Saunders Co., 1938.

"Within the past few years an increasing number of patients affected with scurvy have been brought to the Oregon Children’s Hospital. As the prophylactic amount of vitamin C (15 mg. daily) is contained in 300 cc. of breast milk, scurvy is rarely found in breastfed babies. The vitamin C of cow’s milk is largely destroyed by pasteurization or evaporation."

-Overstreet, R.M., Northwest Medicine, June, 1938, as abstracted by Clinical Medicine and Surgery, "The Increase of Scurvy," 42, 12:598, December, 1938.

"Samples of raw, certified , certified Guernsey and certified vitamin D milks were collected at the different dairies throughout the city of Madison. These milks on the average are only a little below the fresh milks as recorded in Table I, indicating that commercial raw and certified milks as delivered to the consumer lose only a small amount of their antiscorbutic potency. Likewise, samples of commercial pasteurized milks were collected and analyzed. On an average they contained only about one-half as much ascorbic acid as fresh raw milks and significantly less ascorbic acid than the commercial unpasteurized milks.

It was found that commercial raw milks contained an antiscorbutic potency that was only slightly less than fresh raw milks and that pasteurized milks on the average contained only one-half the latter potency. Mineral modification and homogenization apparently have a destructive effect on ascorbic acid."

-Woessner, Warren W., Evehjem, C.A., and Schuette, Henry A., "The determination of ascorbic acid in commercial milks," Journal of Nutrition, 18,6:619-626, December, 1939.

Reprint No. 7
Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Publication Date: 12/11/39

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