An important study published in 2015 confirms what many mothers have observed—children on raw milk don’t get sick as often. Published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the study compared health outcomes in almost one thousand European infants consuming raw milk, pasteurized milk or ultra-high temperature pasteurized milk with the occurrence of respiratory tract infections, rhinitis (runny nose), otitis (ear infections) and fever.
Researchers tracked health outcomes every week from age eight weeks to fifty-three weeks. “The main finding of this analysis was an inverse association between consumption of unprocessed [raw] cow's milk and rhinitis, RTI [respiratory tract infection], and otitis.” There was also an inverse association between raw milk and fevers. In other words, as raw milk consumption increased, the incidence of runny nose, respiratory tract infections, fevers and ear infections decreased. The researchers concluded that, “The protective effects of raw cow's milk on infections were comparable to those of breast-feeding, suggesting similar anti-infective properties of bovine and human milk.” Overall, consumption of raw cow's milk reduced the risk of manifest respiratory infections and fever by about 30 percent.
The study also measured C-reactive proteins—a measure of inflammation in the body--in the infants at age one year and found that “raw farm milk consumption was inversely associated with C-reactive protein levels at 12 months.” The researchers concluded that consumption of raw milk led to a “sustained anti-inflammatory effect” in the body. All of this is good news for vulnerable infants!
The many antimicrobial and immune-building factors in raw milk explain this protection from raw milk, including lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase and antibodies. Protective peptides derived from caseins and whey proteins include opioid peptides, antihypertensive peptides, casein phosphopeptides, α- and β-lactorphins and albutensin.
The butterfat in milk is an important protective component. Children who drink whole milk are much less likely to experience gastrointestinal problems.
Since raw milk is an inherently safe food, it provides Nature’s best protection against illness in both children and adults.