Animal milk and its products – cream, yoghurt, ice cream, etc., - are among the most consumed products worldwide. Their nutritional content and taste have been praised as well as how important they are to healthy bones due to their vitamin and mineral content, especially calcium. But, is it true? Or are these products, which are not precisely healthy, the cause of many diseases?
The human being is exceptional in nature for multiple reasons, especially for the fact that it’s the only mammal to consume milk from another animal past their weaning. And they do it in spite of the fact that each mammal produces milk which is specific for their species, adequate for raising their cubs and not for the cubs of other mammals. In addition, Mother Nature designed mammals to obtain milk directly from their mother’s nipples without contact with external agents due to the fact that it has a short life and gets contaminated easily. Humans nevertheless, being convinced that it’s healthy to keep drinking it in our adult life, have modified laws of nature to keep it adequate for consumption. However, there is evidence that this precious liquid is behind many of the diseases we suffer from.
It is obvious that composition of milk depends on animal, race, food, age, lactation period, time of the year and milking system, among others. And while its main component is water, its presumed nutritive content is fat (saturated fatty acids, cholesterol), proteins (casein, lacto-albumines and lacto-globulines), carbohydrates (fundamentally lactose), vitamins (moderate quantities of A, D and B) and minerals (phosphorous, calcium, zinc and magnesium). Proportions depend on the treatment performed, thus “whole milk” doesn’t contain the same amount of fat as “skim milk”. Now, is it really healthy to consume milk and dairy products? Many researchers disagree and many studies show evidence against it.
The problem of Calcium
The main reason for western nutritionists - not the ones from the Far East - to recommend drinking milk and consuming dairy products is because they consider them especially rich in calcium adding that periodic consumption of this mineral is necessary to be healthy, mainly to have healthy bones. With this idea, many people drink big amounts of it to the point that some, - as millions of Americans do - drink it instead of water. Nevertheless, the United States being the highest consumer of milk is also the country with the highest osteoporosis rate. Can someone reasonably explain this paradox?
It is no surprise that experts raise their voices to state not only that milk and dairy products are not adequate for human consumption but that they aren’t even a good source of calcium because one thing is the amount of this mineral present and another different one is its bio-availability. It is also to be confirmed if the amount of calcium the human body needs is the one publicized by dairy product companies.
The results of the study carried out by Harvard professors with 78,000 women between the ages of 34 and 59 during 12 years, published in the American Journal of Public Health in 1997 illustrate the problem of calcium. The conclusions of this study disagree with the hypothesis that a higher consumption of milk and dairy products protects women from bone fractures, common in cases of osteoporosis like those of the hip and forearm.
It’s also interesting to remember the “China Cornell-Oxford Project on Nutrition, Environment and Health at Cornell University” which started in 1983 with a detailed study of daily habits of 6,500 inhabitants from 65 provinces of rural China, because it makes up one of the most rigorous and conclusive health research projects. This work confirmed -among other things- that animal milk de-mineralizes adults. In other words, women who didn’t drink milk and who consumed only rice, vegetables, soy and its products, did not suffer from osteoporosis. However when they stopped the above mentioned diet and started drinking milk, their calcium levels dropped and the incidence of this pathology increased.
Thanks to research from Doctor John McDougal – Nutritionist from the Napa St Helena Hospital (California) – we know that women from the Bantu ethnic group, who don’t drink milk but get their calcium from vegetables, don’t suffer from osteoporosis in spite of having an average of 10 children and lactating for long periods.
Another example from the relationship between milk and osteoporosis is shown in the work by Doctor William Ellis, ex-president of the American Academy of Applied Osteopathy, who found that people who drink between 3 and 5 glasses of milk everyday show the lowest levels of calcium in blood. Adding to this the excess of acidity produced by lactic protein which the body neutralizes by freeing alkaline minerals (calcium).
A study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states, in the same line of thought, that the excess of lactic proteins is one of the most important factors in the development of osteoporosis. This study, published in 1983 shows that women up to the age of 65 that don’t drink milk and are vegetarians present a bone loss of 18% while omnivore women present a bone loss of 35%.
More recent studies show that by ingesting 75 grams of lactic protein more calcium is lost in urine than absorbed through diet.
We need to add that the ratio calcium / phosphorous from cow milk is not adequate for humans due to its high phosphorous content which acidifies the organism, with numerous negative implications in health.
The Opinion of Jean Seignalet
As published by Discovery DSalud in numbers 78 and 79, late Doctor Jean Seignalet – hematologist, immunologist, professor of medicine from University of Montpellier for many years and author of more than two hundred publications in prestigious medical journals – blamed in his work “Feeding, the Third Medicine”, many pathologies and the proliferation of others to five reasons: consumption of domestic cereals, ingestion of animal milk and dairy products, cooking of food, processing of oils and food contamination which leads to lack of vitamins and minerals. Talking about milk, he states: “Many people think that dispensing milk leads to calcium loss and problems like osteoporosis because television, magazines and most physicians state that quality of bones depends on the amount of calcium and that the best source of calcium is found in dairy products. I nevertheless say NO. The danger of calcium deficiency is an illusion. It is true that cow’s milk is rich in calcium but once in the human digestive tract, most of it precipitates as calcium phosphate and excreted in stool. Only a small amount is absorbed. Assimilable calcium is can be obtained from vegetables, raw meat and dried and fresh fruits. Calcium is also present in soil and is transferred to plants through roots. In conclusion, eliminating animal milk does not lead to lack of calcium. On the contrary, the hypotoxic regime – without dairy products – together with magnesium and silicium blocks the development of 70 out of 100 cases of osteoporosis and sometimes even helps recovery of part of the loss”.
We already mentioned that one of the main proteins of milk is casein. It is well known that a child assimilates completely casein from mother’s milk …. but not the one from cow milk. Such proteins are only partially digested through the neutralizing effect of milk with gastric acids, indispensable for breaking them.
What are the effects of a viscous substance such as animal casein in our bodies? In some people, it sticks to lymphatic follicles in the intestines which blocks absorption of other nutrients (In fact, casein is used as adhesive for paper and wood, etc.). In addition, its partial hydrolization has other consequences. For example, disposing of its metabolic by-products imposes a supplementary energy consumption which could cause immunologic problems. Thus, in people with deficiencies in immuno-globuline IgA, this protein is released in the blood stream and causes great variety of auto-immune reactions (we will talk about them later in this article when we touch the subject of diseases related to milk consumption). If we take into account – like shown in a report from the Memorial Kettering Hospital in New York – that the IgA antigen deficiency is one of the most common problems related to immuno-deficiencies, it starts to be worrisome.
Human milk contains 45 grams/liter of lipids of which 55% are poly-unsaturaded fatty acids and 45% saturated. It contains in particular linoleic acid which is a precursor of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes. While cow milk – the most consumed – contains 70% of saturated fatty acids and 30% of poly-unsaturated. This structure favours the formation of inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes. In addition, this 30% of poly-unsaturated looses its properties with heat – at temperatures between 40 and 45ºC – they denaturalize and cannot favour the formation of anti-inflammatory substances. Processed milk is a 100% inflammatory substance.
Pasteurization and homogenization cause saturated fat to cross intestinal walls in the form of small non-digested particles which unquestionably raises cholesterol levels and saturated fat in blood. In addition, cholesterol levels in milk are higher than in other products which are considered to have high cholesterol. In fact, some countries have withdrawn milk form the list of fundamental food items because they have seen that children who drink several glasses of milk everyday have their arteries in worse condition as children who don’t. Information that curiously seems not to have reached the population of the United States because, according to the Department of Agriculture, almost 40% of the food ingested in America consists of dairy products. It means that an average American eats daily 161 milligrams of cholesterol from dairy products. This is equivalent to 53 bacon strips! And they wonder about obesity in one quarter of the American population.
We will finally add an important fact from the already mentioned Dr. John McDougall: in the rush to increase sales, the milk industry relates milk fat to … weight. This argument allows them to state that cow milk contains “only” 2% of fat per 100 grams. And, of course, it looks like a low fat product. Nevertheless, we must understand that 87% of milk is water; if we deduct the water content, the fat content related to solids is much higher. Let’s not talk about condensed milk!
The hormonal load
It’s good to know that milk contains 59 different types of hormones – pituitary, steroid, adrenals, sexual, etc. – the most important ones being growth hormones which together with milk protein promote fast calf growth in such a way that they soon double their weight. It’s evident that humans don’t need this. In addition, high levels of this hormone together with other toxic substances are the cause of many degenerative diseases.
It’s even kafkian to notice that in 1994 the FDA approved the use of bovine somatotropin or rbST by Monsanto to increase milk production from cows between 10 and 25%. This because, according to The Ecologist in 1998, the use of rBGH increases the levels of another proteic hormone – growth factor type 1 insulin (IGF1) in cow milk. And, given that IGF1 is active in humans – causing cell division – some scientists think that ingestion of processed milk with high levels of rBGH could promote uncontrolled cell division and growth in humans. In other words cancer. In fact, there are so many potential dangers from this hormone that its use is currently forbidden in Canada, the European Union and other countries.
Professor Jane Plant, whose personal experience is described below, author of Your life on your hands, explains that IGF-1 is also especially active during puberty and pregnancy. In the case of adolescent girls, she explains that this hormone stimulates growth of breast tissue. During pregnancy it enlarges breast tissues and milk ducts to favour lactation. She adds firmly that “High levels of this hormone increase up to three times the risk of breast or prostate cancer in people who consume milk or red meat from milking cows. Contrary to the belief that pasteurization destroys this hormone, I understand that casein prevents this from happening and that homogenization facilitates that IGF-1 reaches the blood stream. In the same line of thought, estrogens added to cow milk stimulate the harmful side of this hormone and that indirectly promote the development of tumors”.
Toxics in milk
We must add that milk may be contaminated with chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, puss from mastitis – so frequent in cows milked permanently – virus, bacteria, prions … Non forgetting that today milk as well as dairy products are “enriched” with additives, synthetic vitamins and minerals, seeds, plants, fruits, proteins, fatty acids …. In some cases in fact, with fat from different animals. It means that sometimes people can drink milk enriched with pig fat, without knowing.
And which are those toxic substances most frequently found in a glass of milk? They are:
- Metals and plastics: Equipment used in cattle farms to obtain; transport or store milk can contaminate it. In fact, iron, copper, lead, cadmium, zinc, etc., or their alloys have been detected. This contamination may produce a dangerous catalytic activity on oxidation reactions in milk.
- Detergents and disinfectants: We talk about formol, boric acid, benzoic acid, alkaline salts, potasic bichromate, etc., substances used to clean and disinfect materials in contact with milk. Its use is justified because water alone cannot carry organic matter residues and destroy bacteria which contaminate equipment and could be transferred to milk.
- Pesticides and fertilizers: Food used for cattle may contain chemicals used to increase crops and improve conservation. In this group belong acaricides, nematicides, fungicides, rodenticides and herbicides. Chemicals – DDT, dieldrin, lindane, metoxiclor, malation, aldrin, etc. – which could cause cancer.
- Mycotoxins: From cattle food which has been contaminated with mold, especially aspergillus flavus.
- Antibiotics and other drugs: Used in the treatment and prevention of infectious and parasitary diseases in cows, may be transferred to milk and contaminate it. These problems is made worse by the excessive and continuous use of this drugs in animals has made some strains of pathogen germs resistant and when transferred to humans, it’s difficult to fight the disease with antibiotics. For this reason consumption of milk form treated cows becomes dangerous. In 1976 The Daily Herd Management published that “most milk plants use 60 types of chemical treatment (antibiotic) to treat swelling of the nipples after each milking to reduce propagation of mastitis (swelling of utters). There is evidence that shows that these chemical baths leave residues in milk which may be harmful for humans”. Ten years later it was still the same and the prestigious The New York Times wrote that the “residues of antibiotics in milk are causing allergic reactions in people due to routine treatment performed in cows to prevent swelling of nipples and infusion programs in cattle farms”.
- Radioactive contamination: This is another worrisome problem. Even though these residues produce problems in rare occasions, we need to pay attention to it.
- Dioxins: Chlorine derivatives deserve special attention. In addition to being related to pulmonary cancer and lymphomas, exposure to dioxins has been related to diabetes, problems in child development and several immune system derangement.
Diseases associated with milk consumption
There are everyday more voices alerting about the association – more or less direct -between milk consumption and the following illnesses:
- Iron deficiency anemia: Doctor Frank Oski – Director of the Pediatrics Department of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine – says in his book Don’t drink your milk that in his country between 15 and 20% of children younger than 2 years old suffer from anemia caused by iron deficiency and that half of the rest of anemias produced in the United States are associated to milk and dairy product consumption due to the small gastro-intestinal bleeding caused by milk.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: It has been found that complex antigen-antibody produced by milk is sometimes deposited on joints generating swelling and numbness. Studies by the University of Florida confirm that symptoms are worsened in patients who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis who drink milk. On the other hand, an article published in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology said that people who suffered from this pathology who stopped consumption and started drinking water, green tea, fruits and vegetable juice, experienced significantly diminished pain and swelling. Adding that upon return to a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, symptoms reappeared. In addition, a group of Israeli researchers demonstrated in 1985 – for the first time – that milk can induce juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Association between milk and rheumatoid arthritis was already established but up to that moment there was no link with the juvenile disease.
- Asthma: It is known that milk may stimulate excessive mucus production in the respiratory tract and that allergy to milk causes asthma. In addition, it ahs been demonstrated that children with excess of mucus and breathing difficulty present important improvement when they stop drinking milk.
- Autism: Italian researchers discovered that neurological symptoms of autist patients worsen with milk and wheat intake. It is believed that peptides from milk could have a toxic effect in the central nervous system when they interfere with neurotransmitters. In their research, Doctors from the University of Rome noticed significant improvement in conduct of these patients when they stopped milk intake for eight weeks. High levels of antibodies against casein, lacto-albumin and beta-lactoglobuline were found in these patients blood.
- Stomach cancer: Researchers from the Instituto de Salud Pública (Public Health Institute) in Morelos (Mexico) found a significant increase in the risk of getting stomach cancer in patients who consumed dairy products. In those who also ate meat, the risk was tripled.
- Breast cancer: Milk is considered by many as the direct cause of this “type” of cancer. If we add the influence from insulin hormone, the probability of suffering it increases considerably in great milk consumers (Discovery DSalud will publish in the next issue an article about this important matter so important to women).
- Ovarian cancer: Galactose – one of the sugars from milk – has been linked to ovarian cancer. Some researchers think that women who drink more than one whole milk glass each day have three times more probabilities to develop ovarian cancer than women who don’t.
- Pancreatic cancer: Researchers from Harvard University say that there is a “strong and positive” relationship between pancreatic cancer and intake of milk, eggs and meat.
- Prostate cancer: A study shown more than thirty years ago in a meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research in San Francisco and published in the Oncology News revealed, that according to Doctor Chan – epidemiologist from Harvard University – that excessive milk intake is associated with an increase in the risk of men developing prostate cancer. Explaining that it may be caused by the high calcium content in milk which diminishes vitamin D, which protects against prostate cancer in spite of the fact that milk contains this vitamin. Italian epidemiologists from the Aviano Cancer Center calculated the increase of this risk and established that it’s 1.2 times higher in men who drink between 1 and 2 glasses of milk everyday than in men who don’t drink at all. Nevertheless, men who drink two or more glasses of milk everyday, the risk to get this cancer increases to 5. Another study – made by the same researchers from Harvard University – discovered that men who consume high quantities of milk and dairy products have a 70% chance of developing prostate cancer. This opinion is shared by scientists from the University of Oslo who say that milk intake constitutes risk of developing prostate cancer. Adding that, surprisingly, skim milk intake is associated with a higher increase than whole milk.
- Pulmonary cancer: Dutch researchers concluded in 1989 that people who drink three or more glasses of milk everyday have twice the probability to develop pulmonary cancer than people who don’t drink it. And that, nevertheless, - against what their Norwegian colleagues think – people who drink the same amount but of skim milk seem to be more protected. It was also found in the Roswell Park Memorial Institute in New York that among people who drink three or more glasses of whole milk a day increase the risk of developing pulmonary cancer in 200% (compared to those who don’t drink milk). In addition, it has been documented that there is a direct relationship between the somatotropin hormone and pulmonary cancer, and between this type of cancer and dioxins found in milk.
- Testicular cancer: British researchers discovered a link between testicular cancer and milk intake. The risk found was 7.19 times higher than in the general population and increases 1.39 per quarter of milk consumed.
- Cataract: There is growing evidence of the link between milk consumption and cataract. According to several scientific studies, human populations that are great milk and dairy products consumers have higher number of patients with cataract than those who avoid them. This defect has been linked to lactose and galactose. This relationship being more evident in women than in men. The most frequent type is cortical cataract.
- Ulcerative colitis: Milk consumption has been associated with this disease.
- Irritable colon: There are several studies linking this pathology to milk consumption.
- Diabetes Mellitus type I: Different studies show that infants fed with cow milk have a higher risk of developing insulin dependent diabetes – known as diabetes type I – since childhood. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine identifies milk as “responsible element or triggering factor in some genetically sensitive people”. Physicians who performed this research discovered that diabetic patients analyzed, showed levels of the antibodies that react with a milk protein called bovine albumin serum higher than normal, attacking it as invader and destructing it. And – fatal coincidence! – a section of this protein is almost identical to a protein on the surface of insulin producing cells, which makes defences from people sensitive to it, to fight their own cells causing auto-destruction. They conclude that eliminating milk and dairy products from infant diet could drastically lower incidence of this type of diabetes.
- Abdominal pain without lactose intolerance: There is a tight correlation– undisputed – between indigestion caused by lactose, lactose intolerance and milk intolerance.
- Chron disease: Doctor John Hermon-Taylor – Director of the Chirurgic Department of the St. George Hospital School of Medicine in Great Britain – says, after studying Chron Disease for 20 years, that Paratuberculosis – subspecies from Mycobacterium Avium – is undoubtedly linked to this pathology. And that this microorganism is transmitted through milk because it`s not destroyed by Pasteurization. In a study done between 1990 and 1994 about milk packaging they found that 7% were contaminated with Paratuberculosis.
- Coronary diseases: Several researchers link some milk components – cholesterol, fat, high calcium content, Xanthine and Oxidase content - to these diseases. In the case of the bovine enzyme xanthine oxidase, it has been found that it only causes problems in homogenized milk and that the damage is done mainly in blood vessels. One possible explanation is that this enzyme crosses intestinal wall and remains intact, it enters the blood stream and destroys masmogen, one of the components from heart tissue cell membranes. One of the researchers is Doctor Kurt Oster, Chief of the Cardiology Department in Park City Hospital in Bridgeport. In a period of almost four years Oster studied 75 patients who suffered from angina pectoris and arteriosclerosis. Milk was eliminated form their diet and they were given folic acid and vitamin C – to combat Xanthine oxidase – and in all cases the pain diminished. In addition, Doctor Kurt Esselbacher – member of the Harvard University School of Medicine – says without any doubt that “homogenized milk, due to its Xanthine oxidase content is one of the major causes of coronary diseases in the United States”.
Studies made in Russia show that people who drink three or more glasses of milk per day have 1.7 more probabilities of suffering from myocardial ischaemia than people who don’t. It is also known that intake of dairy products increases bad cholesterol (LDL) without affecting the good one (HDL), which constitutes a risk factor. We must add that lactic protein intake seem to be linked to coronary mortality because it has been shown that antibodies created against milk casein activate the platelet system stimulating thrombo-genesis. It’s also linked to swelling of artery walls favoring the arteriosclerosis process.
And talking about calcium from milk, it seems that the hardening of arteries is linked to the excessive content of this mineral in blood.
We will add that skim milk has been associated with coronary diseases non-ischaemic in men older than 45 and women older than 75. It is believed that milk protein contribute to the formation of homocysteine. Many believe that conjunction of this type of milk, lactose, calcium and homocysteine could be responsible for the calcification of arteries.
- Multiple sclerosis: Scientists from the University of Michigan are studying factors associated with multiple sclerosis and even though they only have partial results, they have established a link between multiple sclerosis and excessive milk consumption.
- Constipation: Milk is known to cause constipation in children and elderly people. This problem is usually solved by eliminating milk form the diet and increasing vegetables and fibre consumption. Chronic constipation and perianal lesions have been associated with a clear intolerance to cow milk.
- Chronic fatigue: According to a study done with children in Rochester (New York) in 1991, drinking milk increases 44.3 times the risk of developing this disease.
- Anal fissures and fistulas: They could be caused by an allergy to a protein from goat milk.
- Urinary incontinence: Many children who wet their beds, stop doing it when they remove milk and dairy products from their diet.
- Lactose intolerance: In order to be used by the human body this sugar from milk must be hydrolyzed which is done by an enzyme called Lactase which starts disappearing as soon as we start growing teeth. It seems that in white people lactase remains longer than in black people. This could be linked to the relationship between melamine and lactase. People who live in cold places would have lighter skin in order to use the maximum amount of solar radiation and synthesize vitamin D to transfer calcium to the bones. It has been observed that in most people who don’t produce lactase or do it in low levels, non-hydrolyzed lactose passes through the intestine where it is attacked by bacteria which produces fermentation, bloat, colic, diarrhea, etc. All of which irritates intestinal walls and produces micro-wounds with blood loss. This small continuous haemorrhaging end up causing iron deficiency (anemia).
In addition, lactose could cause other disorders non the less serious given that it is responsible for processing heavy metals like cadmium, mercury and iron, as well as other toxic substances.
- Lymphomas: A study done at the University of Bergen (Norway) for one and a half years with almost 16,000 patients showed that people who drink two glasses of milk per day have a 3.4 times higher risk of developing lymphomas than people who drink less. The mechanism responsible for this is not clear yet in spite of the fact that it’s known that cow milk may transmit bovine leukaemia. The same study showed a weak association between milk intake and kidney / female reproductive organ cancer.
Another mechanism which favours lymphomas is through dioxin contaminated milk. An article published by The Washington Post said that people who consume large quantities of fat – meat and dairy products – are 10 times more prone to develop cancer, especially pulmonary cancer.
- Migraine: It has been experimentally proved that migraine symptoms are significantly reduced when milk is eliminated form their diet.
- Ears, throat and sinusitis: In 1994 the Natural Health magazine published a series of findings associating milk with increase in ear and throat infections. These studies showed that tonsils and adenoids reduced their size when milk consumption was limited.
- Allergic reactions: Allergy to milk protein has been defined as “any adverse reaction favoured by immunologic mechanisms to one or more of the proteins of milk (casein, lacto-albumin, betalactoglobuline)”. Medical research recognizes the link between milk and allergic reactions establishing that between 2 and 5% of the population suffer from it. Allergic reaction could be immediate – that means in less than 45 minutes – or late – showing symptoms hours or days later.
- Gastro-intestinal bleeding: Secondary gastro-intestinal bleeding or intolerance to cow milk proteins in children has been adequately documented. This bleeding is so serious that it has been blamed as one of the most common causes of anemia in children.
- Bad absorption syndrome: Researchers from the University of Helsinki (Finland). Have proven the relationship between milk proteins and damage to intestinal mucus membrane. This damage is responsible for bad absorption syndrome characterized by chronic diarrhea, vomit and growth delay.
- Sleeping disorders: Studies carried out at the Free University in Brussels between 1986 and 1988 confirmed the relationship between milk consumption and sleeping disorders in children. This and other studies found a link between allergy to milk and sleeping disorders. All symptoms improved when milk was removed from their diet and worsen when milk was reinstated. The average time to see improvement was 5 weeks. Agitation shown by these children also improved.
- Peptic ulcers: In the past they used to recommend milk to people who suffered from stomach problems, especially peptic ulcers. Today this is considered dangerous because milk and dairy products worsen all symptoms. The temporary relief that these patients felt was due to the fact that milk was taken cold and it was the temperature that caused the temporary relief.
- Other reactions produced by milk: In addition to those mentioned there are other problems linked to milk consumption. For example severe lactic acidosis associated to allergy to cow milk, increase in the risk of pre-eclampsia in sensitive women, learning disorders in children or some female infertility cases. It is also important to mention that lactating women who drink milk expose their infants to the risks associated to milk.
Jose Ramón Llorente
PS. The author is president of the Sociedad Española de Nutrición Ortomolecular (Spanish Society for Orthomolecular Nutrition) and studies mentioned in this article are properly documented and are not cited due to restriction of space.
A real story
The story of Professor Jane Plant, geochemist and chief of the British Geological Survey – a prestigious public institution in Great Britain dedicated to geological research -, may constitute a significant example for many women after surviving five breast tumors and conventional treatment to treat her cancer. And she says she has done it in a very simple way: eliminating dairy products from her diet.
Her story is similar to that of many women. She felt the same panic when she was diagnosed breast cancer and trusting her oncologist she went through a mastectomy and to irradiation of her ovaries because she was told that by promoting menopause, the production of estrogens would stop and cancer could be cured. In fact, her cancer was reproduced four times.
“I suffered amputation of one breast and very painful radiotherapy and chemotherapy. I saw the best physicians in my country but deep inside I knew I was facing death. I was about to give up”, she tells in her book Your life in your hands in which she tells her story and explains how she found the idea that saved her life: “During a trip to China with my husband, I thought this disease was practically inexistent in this country. In fact one woman in 10,000 dies of breast cancer in China while in the UK the numbers are 1 in 12. My husband – also a scientist – and myself, started researching the way of life and feeding patterns of oriental people when we found the idea that saved my life: neither Chinese women develop breast cancer nor Chinese men develop prostate cancer because they are incapable of digesting milk and therefore don’t drink it. In addition, we learned that Chinese people are incapable of comprehending the western obsession of drinking cow milk. They never use it, much less to feed their infants! And if you stop to think, it cannot be coincidence that more than 70% of the world population cannot digest milk. Today I think that nature is trying to warn us about the wrong type of food”.
When Jane Plant realized this, she was undergoing chemotherapy for her fifth breast tumor. And it was then when she decided to stop completely consumption of dairy products and all products containing milk: soups, cookies, pastries, margarine, etc. And what happened? “In just a few days – she mentions in her book – the tumor started shrinking. Two weeks after my first chemotherapy session and one week after sopping milk and dairy product consumption, the tumor started itching. Then it softened and started to shrink. About six weeks later it disappeared. In fact, my oncologist from Charing Cross Hospital in London could not refrain to say: I can’t find it! when he examined the area where the bump was. He obviously didn’t expect that someone with such an advanced cancer – it had already invaded lymphatic system – could survive”. Fortunately this oncologist overcame his initial scepticism and is currently recommending his patients a non-lactic diet.
Convinced that stopping milk consumption had saved her life, Jane Plant decided to leave her knowledge and experience in the above mentioned book. Immediately after, more than 60 women suffering from breast cancer contacted her to ask for advice. Their tumors also disappeared.
“Even though it was not easy to accept that such a “natural” substance like milk could have such health effects – explains Plant – it’s clear to me that the link between dairy products and breast cancer is similar to the one between tobacco and pulmonary cancer. Another example comes from Doctor Daniel Cramer in 1989 – from Harvard University – found that these products are implicated in ovarian cancer. Data from prostate cancer lead us to similar conclusions. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that the number of men who suffer this type of cancer in China is 0.5 per 10,000 while in the UK the amount is 70 higher. The clue is clearly milk consumption”.
For Professor Plant cow milk is great food … but only for calves! And she is convinced that nature has not designed it for consumption by any other species. “In fact, I am convinced – she concludes - that I saved my life by stopping consumption of cow milk. I only wish that my experience could help other men and women that, without knowing, could be ill because of the dairy products they consume”.
In her book, in addition to details from her own experience and interesting data about her research in effects of cow milk in human health, she collects nutritional recommendations which are summarized in a diet based on soy milk, herbal tea, sesame seeds, tofu, nuts, fish, eggs, low fat meat (no chopped veal, which could be from milking cow), lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.