"Milk makes tired men wake up" – with this slogan, the dairy industry in the fifties sought the attention of its customers. And many a child had to learn that only big and strong, who drinks milk. But in the meantime, the image of healthy food is getting scratched: Some researchers are suspecting that certain components of milk can cause cancer. What is the subject of the thesis?
The assumption that the consumption of milk could contribute to the development of cancer is due, among other things, to observational studies in populations, as the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) reports. For example, in countries with high milk and cattle consumption, there are also high rates of colon cancer.
Pathogens in milk could cause inflammation
New insights from the Nobel laureate in medicine Harald zur Hausen and the DKFZ caused quite a stir in February. The researchers found in cow's milk and in beef so far unknown pathogens, which could pose a danger to humans. The so-called "Bovine Meat and Milk Factors" (BMMF) are suspected, according to DKFZ, to cause chronic inflammation, which in turn lead to a higher risk of colon and possibly also for breast and prostate cancer.
For her study, Hausen and his colleagues examined blood sera from hundreds of European dairy cows and analyzed milk and dairy products from supermarkets. They also took blood samples from healthy people and colorectal cancer patients. The result was clear according to the researchers: The BMMF were found not only in the animal products, but also in the human cells studied. On the other hand, it is not yet possible to estimate reliably how important the pathogens are for the development of tumors.
Milk without cow_15.25infection in infancy?
Scientists suspect that people already become infected with BMMF within their first year of life because their immune system is not mature enough during this period. From this, the experts conclude that infants should not be fed cow's milk too soon, but rather should be breastfed until the twelfth month. In adulthood, on the other hand, abstinence from cow's milk and beef is worthless because the infection has already occurred.
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) emphasizes that these findings and recommendations are based on a very thin data basis. To what extent BMMF influence the cancer risk, can not be reliably assessed, it says in a statement that was published a few weeks ago. Further research into the infectious agents is urgently needed. Independent scientists work for the BfR, who provide advice and advice to the Federal Government.
Federal Institute does not advise against milk
Although the BfR does not rule out that the thesis put forward by Hausen is correct, the BfR recommends unrestricted consumption of cow's milk for the time being. This is likely to reassure many people, because to this day, dairy products are at the top of the German shopping list: Last year, per capita consumption of fresh milk products was just over 88 kilograms, according to preliminary figures from the dairy industry association. In addition, each of us bought an average of 24 kilos of cheese and almost 6 kilos of butter.
Almond Milk_15.40 Another theory on the relationship between milk and cancer development is represented by the dermatologist Bodo Melnik, who teaches as a professor at the University of Osnabrück. His research focuses on the micro-ribonucleic acids (miRNA) contained in milk. Melnik believes that when dairy products are consumed, these acids are transmitted to the human body like a virus – causing damage by affecting the activity of genes. The growth-promoting effect of miRNS can promote the development of malignant tumors. And Melnik warns: "The consumer is currently exposed to the gene-manipulating effect of bovine miRNA defenseless and unconscious."
However, this view is highly controversial in science. For example, BfR has so far assumed that "the impact of milk-derived miRNAs on human health is very unlikely." Among other things, the Federal Institute points out that the acids in the human body can be broken down. "The previous scientific findings provide no reason to discourage the general population from the consumption of milk and dairy products in the recommended and normal in Germany consumption levels," said a spokesman.
The conclusion: In fact, there is vague evidence that cow's milk contains pathogens that could promote the development of cancer cells. Resilient research results are not yet available.
The theses on a carcinogenic or cancer-promoting effect of individual milk constituents are therefore still on more than uncertain legs. Further research is urgently needed, according to all experts, to improve the data and to achieve reliable results.
Cancer Information 10.15
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