Natural raw milk protects children from infections

Natural raw milk protects children from infections

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Raw milk with health effects

Despite the risk of germ contamination, raw milk protects infants from fever and infections, according to a study by the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. For example, babies who drank raw cow's milk were less likely to be sick compared to those who drank UHT milk. That is why the researchers are asking for Erika von Mutius, Professor of Pediatric Allergology and Head of the Asthma and Allergy Clinic at Dr. von Haunerschen Children's Hospital, new processes in milk production to preserve the valuable ingredients in milk. At the same time, the risky germs should be eliminated. The researchers are convinced that "this is possible in the context of newly developed industrial process technologies".

Raw milk prevents fever and runny nose Around a thousand mothers took part in the long-term study, who recorded the health of their child once a week until they reached the age of one. "Children who drank untreated cow's milk had a significantly lower risk of runny nose, respiratory infections, fever and otitis media than children who drank commercially heated milk," says study author Dr. Georg Loss. The risk of developing respiratory infections fell by up to 30 percent. With pasteurized milk, the effect weakens somewhat, but it still protects against fever, while UHT milk no longer had any effect. The latter is heated to 135 degrees Celsius and homogenized during production.

Immunological examination of infants after raw milk consumption
After the first year of life, the young subjects were examined immunologically. The study then concluded that infants who drank raw milk had lower levels of the inflammatory parameter CRP. "Higher inflammation levels are related to the development of chronic diseases such as asthma and obesity, as is known from other studies. Consuming raw milk could therefore reduce the risk of developing asthma later," says Loss. However, he restricts: "Caution should be exercised when eating raw milk", since the untreated milk is contaminated with bacteria and can result in diseases such as listeriosis, tuberculosis, diarrhea diseases such as EHEC and severe renal insufficiency. For this reason, the researchers are calling for new process technologies in industrial milk production, as reported by onmeda. However, as long as these new processing technologies do not exist in milk production, they will continue to apply: "Raw milk from the farm should always be boiled before consumption because it can be contaminated with pathogens such as Campylobacter or EHEC," reports the President of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Professor Andreas Hensel.

The institute recommends that pregnant women, children and the elderly and sick people should not consume any raw milk or products made from it. This should also be taken into account when traveling from school classes to farms, as has already reported.

Immune system is affected by raw milk proteins As has been known for a long time, children who are breastfed are better protected against infections. "The composition of cow's milk and breast milk is very similar in many respects," said Loss. However, it has so far been unclear how the positive effect of breast and cow's milk on the immune system of infants comes about. For example, the ingredients could act with viruses or have a positive impetus on the intestinal flora, which subsequently has a positive effect on the immune system. However, cow's milk can also cause allergic reactions, which is why it is not uncontroversial. However, according to the PASTURE study, the rate of allergic reactions was just 2 percent of the babies examined.

It has also been found that children who grow up on a farm with dairy cattle are less likely to develop allergies to cow's milk, said Erika von Mutius on the test results. The study included a thousand pregnant women from rural regions of Bavaria, Finland, France and Austria, some of whom live on farms and whose children up to the age of ten were examined to investigate the environmental effects of asthma and allergies. (jp)

Image: Timo Klostermeier /

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