Did your mother ever tell you ‘drink your milk for strong bones and teeth’? She’s right – if you are a calf. In nature, do you know of any species that drinks another species’ milk? Humans are the only exception! Why should you not drink cow’s milk? The reality is that the calcium in dairy is not readily absorbed by humans. Cow’s milk has approximately 4 times more protein than human breast milk. This is great for cows as they grow rapidly into a full grown cow in about a year and weigh about 4 times as much as humans. The large amount of protein turns dairy into an acid forming food. To neutralise this acid the body needs calcium. Calcium is an alkalising mineral. To keep the blood balanced the body will draw calcium out of the bones to reduce the acidity. Too much acidity in the blood is fatal, so the body will do whatever it needs to do to balance the pH of the blood.
The ratio of calcium and phosphorus in cow’s milk is 1.3 to 1 and that in human milk is 2.3 to 1. Cow’s milk has a much higher amount of phosphorus, relative to calcium than our body requires. Phosphorus is an acid forming mineral and therefore the body needs calcium to decrease the acidity. Again, the body will draw calcium out of the bones to do this. Additionally, phosphorus inhibits calcium absorption in the stomach. Therefore it makes a lot more sense to eat foods that are low in phosphorus.
According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, consumption of dairy products, particularly at age 20 years, was associated with an increased risk of hip fracture in old age. Amy Lanou, Ph.D., nutrition director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C., states that the countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are the ones where people drink the most milk and have the most calcium in their diets. The connection between calcium consumption and bone health is actually very weak, and the connection between dairy consumption and bone health is almost nonexistent.
Common health issues related to dairy, we see at the clinic are recurrent ear infections, blocked nose, coughs and other respiratory problems, allergies, skin problems, such as eczema, and digestive problems. Sometimes, just stopping dairy can resolve these health issues.
An interesting article I found on the website about Michael Schmidt’s pasteurized and raw milk calf trial. He fed one cow with pasteurized milk and one cow with raw unpasteurized milk. After 5 months the cow that was fed on pasteurized milk needed some medical intervention to stop it from dying. In Australia it is illegal to sell unpasteurized milk for human consumption. The pasteurized cow’s milk we buy from the supermarket isn’t even fit for consumption by calves, so why would it be fit for human consumption?
So, what foods are high in calcium? Generally green vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, such as kale, collard greens, mustard greens, spinach, parsley, turnip greens, watercress and broccoli. Sesame seeds are exceptionally high in calcium. These need to be ground and are best eaten as tahina or hummus.
Case-Control Study of Risk Fractures for Hip Fractures in the Elderly, American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol. 139, No.5, 1994