A new study out of Sweden found that drinking pasteurized milk is risky indeed. Researchers followed two cohorts, one of over 61,000 women and the other of over 45,000 men. Author Karl Michaelsson and his colleagues analyzed the data to determine the association between milk consumption and time to mortality or fracture, including hip fracture. Higher milk intake was associated with higher mortality in one cohort of women and in another cohort of men, with a higher fracture incidence in women. The study was published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2014;349:g6015).
An amazing letter followed this study, published in the same journal (BMJ 2014;349:g6993). The author is Jonathan R. Kerr, professor of epidemiology, Department of Public Health, Escuela de Medicine ye Clencias de la Salud, Universidad del Rosario, Bogota, Colombia. The title: “Milk and mortality: raw versus pasteurised milk.”
He writes: “A serious flaw in Michaelsson and colleagues’ study is that it did not distinguish between raw and pasteurized milk. These two entities are completely different in structure, content, nutritional benefits, and disease associations, and referring to both as “milk” underestimates this difference.
“Whole raw milk, from grass-fed cows, is an enhanced source of nutrients, including beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and high levels of vitamins (A, B, C, D, E, K), enzymes, calcium, conjugated linoleic acid, in a package that optimises absorption of all its contents.
“Pasteurisation reduces contamination with pathogens but also kills the beneficial lactobacilli that produce vitamin K2, improve absorption of nutrients, and normalise gut function.
“Pasteurisation denatures the fragile and nutritious milk proteins and enzymes, and it reduces the vitamin content. In addition, contamination can occur after pasteurisation and lead to outbreaks of serious infection. Pasteurisation also negates the reduction in childhood asthma and atopy associated with the consumption of raw milk.
“The authors also did not measure the fat content of the milk. This is important because deficiencies in fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are associated with decreased bone mass and osteoporosis. Most health conscious people try to limit their intake of saturated fat, which is widely accepted to be associated with heart disease, although this is controversial.
“In conclusion, even though legislation mandates the pasteurisation of milk, raw milk from grass-fed dairy cows is still available in Europe and North America and is widely available in less developed countries with an agrarian economy, such as Columbia.”
Of several letters generated by the original article, this one was the most read and generated the most interest! The author is obviously very familiar with all the information posted at realmilk.com.