Are the Hormones in Milk Harming Your Health?

milkI had a conversation recently with someone about milk and realized that many people don’t know that our milk is high in hormones. While we have stopped the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH), diary cows in the US are typically always pregnant so the milk from those cows will be much higher in estrogen and progesterone than nonpregnant cows.

Milk from pregnant cows contains five times the estrogen during the first two months of pregnancy, according to one study, and a whopping 33 times as much estrogen as the cow gets closer to term. Could this increase in hormones in milk partially explain the rise in hormone sensitive cancers such as breast and prostate? Or early menstruation in young girls?
Ganmaa Davaasambuu, PhD, MD says: “The milk we drink today is quite unlike the milk our ancestors were drinking, without apparent harm, for 2,000 years. The milk we drink today may not be nature’s perfect food.”
Unfortunately, these hormones make it through processing so they will still be in yogurt and cheese. The amount of hormones is lower in lower fat milk. Goat and sheep milk are likely high in hormones as well. Check out the article below for more info on the unanticipated consequences of trying to produce cheap food.
Copyright 2016 Carole Bartolotto, MA, RD. All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “Are the Hormones in Milk Harming Your Health?

  1. I drank a lot of milk and in general consumed a lot of dairy. I wonder if this increased my risk of developing testicle cancer. Apparently, getting it in both testicles in fairly rare but my doctor said she thinks this is changing – possibly related to increased estrogen exposure. I’ve since changed my diet and eliminated dairy and too much processed food – although too late given that I lost both testicles and underwent radiation treatment before considering changing my diet. Is there any research on this?

    • Hi, I found an article that says there is a link http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.21032/full
      It says: Diet has been associated with testicular cancer in several studies.43, 80, 85, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148 Despite the inconclusive nature of these findings, a recent article states: “The timing of the testicular cancer trend is consistent with a dietary origin, and the search for candidates should extend beyond hormonal agents to include those capable of causing genetic damage.”116. High intake of fat has been associated with increased risk of testicular cancer,145, 147 a finding consistent with many reports for cancers at other hormonally influenced sites such as breast, prostate, colon and ovary.147, 149, 150, 151 Dairy products, particularly milk and cheese,85, 144, 146, 148, 152 have been linked to testicular cancer. These foods contain the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.153 It is reasonable to hypothesize that estrogens or progesterone in milk and dairy products may be associated with the development of testicular cancer.146 The strength of this association is further supported by the recent increasing trend in testicular cancer incidence and the increased consumption of dairy products in developed countries starting in the 1940s and 1950s.154 Another factor contributing to the level of estrogens in dairy products may be the treatment of cattle with hormones and antibiotics, although the impact of this practice on carcinogenesis is unknown. A recent study examined the relationship between dietary intake of phytoestrogens and testicular cancer but did not observe an association.155 Other foods found to have an association with testicular cancer are meat,85, 144, 147, 156 low intake of fruits and vegetables156 and low intake of dietary calcium.147

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