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October 25, 2014
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The pros and cons of dairy


The contribution of dairy
I am concerned with the April 7 health feature and some recent letters regarding the consumption of animal products—in particular, the recommendation to eliminate dairy from the diet to prevent autism, and comments regarding casein.

Milk contains a variety of nutrients, one of which is calcium, which aids in the prevention of osteoporosis, plays a role in muscle contraction and nerve functioning, and promotes proper bone growth and development. Calcium is more readily absorbed into the blood with Vitamin D, lactose (a type of milk sugar) and protein. While substitutes exist, research has proven milk to be efficient in this macro-nutrient delivery.

The statement, “We do not have the digestive enzymes to digest dairy once we’ve been weaned,” is not based in study or fact. Every body is unique. There are always exceptions, as each of us grow and develop differently. Some people are lactose intolerant as they do not produce enough lactase to break down the milk sugar. Lactase milk can be used as a substitute. The majority of our population, however, is not lactose intolerant. With generalizations like this, one should question what the evidence is to prove that they apply to everyone.

In the recent body of research examining the benefits of milk, Kanwar and colleagues have stated that the following components of milk are of particular interest:

1) Lactoferrin has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasite and antitumor activities and accelerates immunomodulatory properties. Lactoferrin is a potent inhibitor for several types of viruses.

2) Casein has been protective in experimental septicemia. Casein was also protective in diabetic animals, reduced the tumor growth and diminished colicky symptoms in infants. Β-casein A-2 in milk is being researched not only for cardiovascular benefits but also in its association with less severe symptoms of autism and schizophrenia. (S. J. Bell et. al.)

3) A Proline rich polypeptide revealed a variety of immunotropic functions, including promotion of T-cell activation and inhibition of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis.

4) α-Lactalbumin demonstrates antiviral, antitumor and anti-stress properties.

5) Lactoperoxidase shows antibacterial properties.

6) Lysozyme is effective in treatment of periodentitis and prevention of tooth decay.