September 15, 2011
BASEL, SwitzerlandA new study linking raw milk to a reduced incidence of allergies and asthma among children adds more fuel to the raw milk debate that has been occurring over the past few years. The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, suggests the protective effect of raw milk consumption on asthma and allergies may be associated with the whey protein fraction of milk.
Researchers at the University of Basel examined data from a comprehensive survey about farm milk consumption and other farm-related exposures for 8,334 school-aged children; 7,606 provided serum samples to assess specific IgE levels. The researchers also collected 800 cows milk samples from participants homes and analyzed them for viable bacterial counts, whey protein levels and total fat content.
The found children who drank raw milk had a 41% lower risk of asthma compared to those who consumed store-bought milk. Kids who drank raw milk also had a 50% lower risk of developing hay fever compared to those who did not. Boiled farm milk did not show a protective effect.
The researchers concluded the protective effect of raw milk was associated with whey proteins, such as BSA and alpha-lactalbumin, which may help children's immune system development. Those proteins usually are destroyed by heat during boiling or pasteurization process.
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