A COMPLETE FOOD
Exerpts from Raw-milk-facts.com
There’s little mention in the mainstream media these days, of traditional foods having healing properties. Sure, there’s a ton of hype touting unfermented soy products, vegetable oils and supplements as modern saviors, but in reality, these items have risk-to-benefit ratios like many drugs do (1).
Few people are aware that clean, raw milk from grass-fed cows was actually used as a medicine in the early part of the last century (2)(3). That’s right. Milk straight from the udder, a sort of “stem cell” of foods, was used as medicine to treat, and frequently cure some serious chronic diseases (4). From the time of Hippocrates to until just after World War II, this “white blood” nourished and healed uncounted millions.
Clean raw milk from pastured cows is a complete and properly balanced food. You could live on it exclusively if you had to. Indeed, published accounts exist of people who have done just that (5)(6). What’s in it that makes it so great? (7).
Our bodies use amino acids as building blocks for protein. Depending on who you ask, we need 20-22 of them for this task. Eight of them are considered essential, in that we have to get them from our food. The remaining 12-14 we can make from the first eight via complex metabolic pathways in our cells.
Raw cow’s milk has all 8 essential amino acids in varying amounts, depending on stage of lactation (8). About 80% of the proteins in milk are caseins- reasonably heat stable and, for most, easy to digest. The remaining 20% or so are classed as whey proteins, many of which have important physiological effects (bioactivity) (9). Also easy to digest, but very heat-sensitive (10), these include key enzymes (11) (specialized proteins) and enzyme inhibitors, immunoglobulins (antibodies) (12), metal-binding proteins, vitamin binding proteins and several growth factors.
Current research is now focusing on fragments of protein (peptide segments) hidden in casein molecules that exhibit anti-microbial activity (13).
Lactoferrin (14), an iron-binding protein, has numerous beneficial properties including (as you might guess) improved absorption and assimilation of iron, anti-cancer properties and anti-microbial action against several species of bacteria responsible for dental cavities (15). Recent studies also reveal that it has powerful antiviral properties as well (16).
Two other players in raw milk’s antibiotic protein/enzyme arsenal are lysozyme and lactoperoxidase (17). Lysozyme can actually break apart cell walls of certain undesirable bacteria, while lactoperoxidase teams up with other substances to help knock out unwanted microbes too.
The immunoglobulins, an extremely complex class of milk proteins also known as antibodies, provide resistance to many viruses, bacteria and bacterial toxins and may help reduce the severity of asthma symptoms (18). Studies have shown significant loss of these important disease fighters when milk is heated to normal processing temperatures (19).
Lactose, or milk sugar, is the primary carbohydrate in cow’s milk. Made from one molecule each of the simple sugars glucose and galactose, it’s known as a disaccharide. People with lactose intolerance for one reason or another (age, genetics, etc.), no longer make the enzyme lactase and so can’t digest milk sugar (20). This leads to some unsavory symptoms, which, needless to say, the victims find rather unpleasant at best. Raw milk, with its lactose-digesting Lactobacilli bacteria intact, may allow people who traditionally have avoided milk to give it another try.