Sunday, August 1, 2010

Organic Milk...Better for you and improves allergy symptoms.

There's a link between drinking organic milk and the reduction of allergies and eczema. In an article entitled Organic Milk Linked to Fewer Allergies Including Eczema and Asthma, the author references a Dutch study that suggests that children are one third less likely to suffer from allergies before age two if they're raised on organic dairy products.  Both child and breastfeeding mom were given organic dairy products, and the researchers found that there was clear evidence of less incidences of eczema as well as a decrease in the risk for other allergies and asthma.

I've written about this in a prior post, but when Abigail was a newborn, her cheeks were red, raw and inflamed.  I was breastfeeding, and as soon as I eliminated dairy (non-organic at that time) from my diet, her cheeks cleared up.  When we started her on formula, we gave her a soy-based formula and when it was time, gave her soy milk.  By the time our second came along, we had made the switch to organic foods.  He also showed an intolerance to dairy, but instead of soy formula, we used a lactose free formula.  He does still drink organic soy milk but eats organic dairy products.  Interesting that Abigail has the peanut allergy, had bouts of eczema and was frequently on Albuterol or Pulmicort for wheezing.  Our son did have regular ear infections until tubes, but still shows no signs of any sort of allergy.

According to the article, researchers believe that organic milk may be better due to the higher concentrations of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA).  Wikipedia states that "meat and dairy products from grass-fed animals can produce 300-500% more CLA than those of cattle fed the usual diet of 50% hay and silage, and 50% grain.  CLA is also known for it's anti-cancer, body weight management, anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular improvement properties.

Organic milk also has as much as 71 percent more omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3 is a alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and is most commonly found in flax seed products and cold-water fish.  You've probably seen products containing DHA and EPA fatty acids which are also omega-3 acids and both have significant health claims.  The omega-3 acids are known to support the development of brain, eyes and nerves, reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, have significant anti-inflammatory benefits that promote immune system enhancements and provide anti-cancer effects particularly for breast, colon and prostate cancers.  According to Wikipedia, recent studies are also showing a positive benefit of omega-3 fatty acids for ADHD as well as psychiatric disorders. So, if there was ever a case to switch to organic milk, this is probably it.

I don't pretend to understand the science of milk production, but wanted to pass on one last thing that I learned.  I've recently started purchasing organic milk that comes from a small, family-owned farm.  It's pasteurized to the point where it meets state laws, but not beyond that.  First off, it tastes wonderful.  Second though, is the claim that many lactose intolerant people can drink it without issue. Wondering why, I searched the internet.

According to a paper I found written on the subject of lactose intolerance the problem is mostly limited to the US.  The author writes that the stripping of nutrients in the pasteurization process causes lactose intolerance.  She writes that the " intolerance is caused by a lack of the enzyme lactase in large enough quantities within the human digestive system to break down lactose, a fairly complex disaccharide found in milk.  Raw milk contains harmless bacteria which produce lactase which, in turn, enables the human body to break down and absorb lactose.  Pasteurized milk has had all of these bacteria killed off and is therefore lactase-free, but still contains lactose, causing problems for many people who try to drink it."  Apparently, there are also studies tying pasteurized milk products to decreased bone density, weakened tooth enamel, vision problems (from vitamin B6 insufficiency), and to a large increase in asthma.

What I've taken away from all of this is that while organic milk is best for everyone, if your family is prone to allergies, eczema and asthma, organic milk is even more important, especially milk that is not ultra-pasteurized.  Minimally pasteurized milk is even better if you have access to a local dairy.  Second, essential fatty acids are very important in our diet.  I've found chewable omega-3 supplements that are peanut/tree nut safe for Abigail and have started adding flax seed to my baked goods.

Just one last CIA with all supplements, do your own research, contact your physician if you have any questions, and this should go without saying, if you have a fish allergy, make sure you're getting omega-3 from a non-fish source.  Readers with life-threatening milk allergies also shouldn't enjoy the benefits of organic milk.


Karen said...

I'm going to have to check to see if there are any dairies in the DC area that treat milk like your local dairy does. I'm lactose intolerant and am curious to try it out. I always have to have lactaid pills with me so I can pop one anytime I have anything with dairy in it. It would be nice to cut out at least some of those pills.

Julie Redfern said...

Thanks again for all the information! I knew organic milk was important but not for all those different reasons. I saw something the other day about eliminating corn from your diet and was wondering if you had ever heard about doing that? I know high fructose corn syrup is out but didn't really understand why no other corn products.

Mom with a Mission said...

Hi Julie. Google GMO corn and you can see why. It's one of the big 4 GMO crops and linked to organ failure, cancer growth, etc. It's found in corn flour, meal, syrup, starch, gluten and oil. Also found in sweeteners..fructose, glucose, dextrose and modified food starch.

If we eat corn on cob, I make sure it's from an organic farm. I buy frozen corn from Trader Joe's because it's non-GMO. We don't drink anything with artificial sweeteners including Splenda.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog recently and have been reading along your study! I'm really excited to find out what happens. I have a 5 yo DS who is starting kindergarten soon and has a full on peanut/tree nut allergy. Really worried about no longer being in a peanut free environment (I hear the school is great, but still, I'm worried!) and really appreciated your posts on the school, school bus, letter to parents, etc. Please keep writing! It feels nice to know you're not alone!


Mom with a Mission said...

Melissa, welcome. Thanks so much for leaving a comment. Glad the school posts are helpful. Have you looked into the PAL program on the FAAN website? I'm definitely planning on starting off the school year by going into Abigail's class, reading a allergy story (I need to find a good one), answering questions and then giving the kids some sort of certificate or badge or something. I'll post the details of what I decide soon.

Good luck to you and your family as you start the Kindergarten year!

kelly said...

I am still wary of raw milk (although it's healthier than pasteurized milk). For one, there's still cow hormones in there that wreaks havoc in human bodies. I find my acne stopped after I stopped drinking milk altogether.

And oh my GOD! Your children should NOT be on soy milk. Babies on such milk either die or suffer from some ailment due to malnutrition!

Vegan couple jailed - their baby had soy milk and apple juice:

Not to mention the world's soy that are genetically modified is now 91%.

Soy Milk is unhealthy (2006 article):