Sep 16, 2011

Fresh Raw milk may prevent asthma or even allergy

Children who drink fresh raw milk are at a significant lower risk of developing asthma and allergies than those consuming safer pasteurized version.

Researchers from Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel interviewed a group of European parents about their children's milk consumption while collecting 800 milk samples from the participants' households, Reuters reported.

Results showed that kids who drank raw milk had a 41 percent lower risk of asthma compared to those who only using store-bought milk.

Raw milk drinker children were also about half as likely to develop hay fever, researchers wrote in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Researchers found that the protective effect of fresh raw milk was associated with whey proteins, such as BSA and alpha-lactalbumin, which possibly help children's immune system development. These helpful proteins are usually destroyed by heat during boiling or pasteurization process.

Previous studies had also showed an association between drinking fresh raw milk and lower risk of asthma, allergy and hay fever but the new research is the first to target certain components in the milk that might be protective.

Researchers, however, warned that parents shouldn't start giving their kids fresh raw milk due to possible infection risks.

"Consumption of fresh raw milk is a double-edged sword," said a study author Georg Loss. "On the one side it is protective for the development of asthma and allergies but on the other side it may imply serious health risks due to harmful microorganisms."

"Pasteurization remains an effective tool to inactivate harmful microorganisms but may simultaneously destroy whey proteins," said Loss. "The results may give rise to technological developments aiming to destroy harmful microorganisms but preserving beneficial components of milk. The ultimate aim is to use a safe and protective milk for prevention of asthma."

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