subject: milk

Relationship Between Breastfeeding and Allergies: It’s Complicated

Relationship Between Breastfeeding and Allergies: It’s Complicated

The past few decades have seen a steady rise in the worldwide prevalence of allergic diseases, which has spurred research aimed at figuring out ways to prevent allergies [1]. The first six months of life are thought to offer a window of opportunity for preventing allergies. “Nowadays, most researchers and clinicians are trying to aim at this window of opportunity,” says Professor Daniel Munblit of Imperial College London, Sechenov University, and inVIVO Planetary Health. Read More...

Milk Casein Proteins: Ancient, Diverse, and Essential

Milk Casein Proteins: Ancient, Diverse, and Essential

Grab your nearest carton of milk. Find the nutrition label. Under total fat, you’ll likely find information about how much of that fat is saturated, unsaturated, and even trans fatty acids. Under carbohydrates, you’ll learn how much fiber and sugar your milk contains. But there is just one row of information when it comes to protein, giving the false impression that milk protein is not nearly as complex as milk fat or sugar. However, cow milk is made up of two different types of proteins, whey and casein, the majority of which is are caseins. There are four different subtypes of casein proteins, and for each of the four subtypes, there are dozens of different genetic variants. How’s that for complex? Read More...

What’s in the Dairy Case? A2 Milk

What’s in the Dairy Case? A2 Milk

It used to be that the only decision you needed to make at the dairy case was full-fat or low-fat milk. Today, consumers are faced with dozens of alternatives to conventional cow’s milk, including milks free of lactose and “milks” made from soy beans, nuts, rice, and even peas (more about that in future articles). One of the newest alternatives to hit the shelves is A2 milk. It is marketed as an easier-to-digest version of conventional cow’s milk, differing by only one amino acid in one protein chain. But does the change in one protein really change the way A2 milk is digested? Read More...

A Cow’s Milk Reveals Her Health

A Cow’s Milk Reveals Her Health

Defense wins games. Ask any coach impatiently striding the sidelines. “The defensive line-up must be ever vigilant and able to rapidly neutralize the attacking incursion, which may come from any direction. You cannot wait for help from the cover defense! Any defensive lapse will be ruthlessly exploited by this opposition and all will be lost,” shouts the coach at spent and cowed players as the bell signals the end of their halftime break. Coaches could learn a lot more about defense from biology. An exemplar defensive strategy par excellence is used by mammals, especially dairy cows, where the defensive system is the animal’s immune system, the best in the league, and the opposition threat is microbial infection. Read More...

The Woman Helping Military Moms Breastfeed

The Woman Helping Military Moms Breastfeed

Back in the 1990s, when she had her first child, Robyn Roche-Paull was an aircraft mechanic in the United States Navy. She knew she wanted to breastfeed as long as possible, but her maternity leave was six weeks long, and then, in theory, she could be deployed to any part of the world. At that time, there was no military policy to facilitate pumping at her workplace, though she persevered. She would pump in the supply closet or the bathroom. “It was very, very difficult. The outlet I needed to plug my pump in was right by the bathroom door, and people would come in an out all the time—so the door was always opening to the hallway, with me standing right there,” she explains. Read More...

Human Milk’s Lutein Content Adds to the Evidence for Breastfeeding

Human Milk’s Lutein Content Adds to the Evidence for Breastfeeding

Everyone knows that fruit and vegetables are crucial components of a healthy diet, but few have heard of lutein, a substance that is structurally similar to vitamin A and found in spinach and kale. Because the human body cannot make lutein, the amount that one swallows determines how much is available to protect the skin from ultraviolet light, lower the risk of some cancers, and—if relevant—moderate the progression of atherosclerosis. There is also mounting evidence that lutein is important in fetal and infant development. Fetuses and infants receive lutein directly from their mother—via blood that passes through the placenta, and by consuming human milk. Read More...

Assessing the Evidence Around Perfluoroalkyl Substances

Assessing the Evidence Around Perfluoroalkyl Substances

For approximately the past decade, scientists have started to wonder about potential hazards that could be posed to human health from chemicals collectively known as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These chemicals are widespread in the environment globally—they have been used in manufacturing products such as food packaging and textile coatings since the 1950s, and are now detectable in the food chain, and even in dust and dirt. Since these chemicals can accumulate in the body, researchers are studying how they might be passed from mother to infant. This appears to happen to some extent via the placenta and to a lesser extent via human milk. Such findings should not dissuade mothers from breastfeeding, however, because the levels of PFAS in infant formula have sometimes been found to be higher than those of human milk. Read More...

Fresh or Frozen: The Facts about Freezing Milk

Fresh or Frozen: The Facts about Freezing Milk

The first thing that comes to mind when many people think about freezing milk is ice cream. Ice cream, frozen yogurt, and custards are all sweet treats that are notable for their creamy consistency. Yet milk that has been frozen sometimes seems less appealing once it’s brought back to a liquid state. Though some might not prefer milk that has been previously frozen, the ability to freeze and store milk and dairy products can be a safe and economical way to provide beneficial nutrition that people need. Likewise, the ability to keep human milk frozen for one’s own child helps families around the world every day. A common concern about freezing milk—whether produced by human or cow—is whether nutrients are lost in the process. So what, exactly, happens when we freeze milk? Read More...

Food and Medicine: Dairy Reduces Markers of Chronic Inflammation

Food and Medicine: Dairy Reduces Markers of Chronic Inflammation

Cow milk evolved to best meet the needs of baby cows, but lucky for human consumers of milk and dairy products, many of those needs cut across species’ boundaries. Take, for example, the numerous anti-inflammatory agents found in cows milk. Although slightly different in degree and type from those found in human milk, several studies demonstrate that these factors, including calcium and the amino acid leucine, influence human markers of inflammation, particularly those related to obesity and the metabolic syndrome. And unlike baby cows, humans need not consume a milk-only diet to reap these benefits—even adding just two servings of dairy a day can have positive effects on inflammation and, by extension, human health. Read More...

Vitamin K2 Promotes Bone Health

Vitamin K2 Promotes Bone Health

The inevitable decline in humans with age is the ultimate certainty, greatly surpassing that of tides and taxes. Like an aging building reaching into the sky, it’s the foundations that really count. A strong foundation slows the adverse effects of aging and conversely a weak foundation results in foreboding cracks in the brickwork, a portent of future structural failure. Read More...