September 11, 2004
Q: I supplement my diet with milk to get plenty of calcium. Is milk and other dairy products as healthy as advertised? - Technical
A: Surprisingly, no. Cow's milk is simply, just that, for cows. Man is the only animal that drinks milk into adulthood. Milk is higher in iron and sugar than humans need. Although milk is high in calcium, only approximately 30% of it is bioavailable (easily used by the body) as compared to 60-70% for fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, roots, seeds, and vegetables. On a calorie rather than an ounce to ounce basis, the latter beats the former for bioavailable calcium, by a long shot. In industrialized nations, milk is fortified with vitamin D, to enhance calcium absorption-this being almost totally unnecessary as 10-15 minutes in the sun, two to three times a week, in healthy individuals, is sufficient to stimulate the body's skin to produce sufficient vitamin D, for calcium absorption. The magnesium-calcium ratios in milk are about 33% of the one-one ratio necessary for the most efficient absorption of calcium. After age 4, in most humans, lactase, the enzyme in the body, that breaks down lactose, the milk sugar, a disaccharide (two sugars) to galactose and glucose, monosaccharide (one sugar) sugars, declines drastically to near zero. Lactose then passes undigested, into the large intestine, where bacteria ferment it into gases and lactic acid. Symptoms produced by this process, are: abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, gas, and nausea- known as lactose intolerance. Galactose has been linked to increased risk of ovarian cancer in women. Milk proteins have been linked to several autoimmune diseases-diabetes, MS, and rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, asthma, Celiac's Disease, Colic, Crohn's Disease, heart disease, and obesity. In the diabetes link, bovine serum albumin (BSA) mimics closely, a protein on the beta cells, the insulin producing cells of the body. When the body develops an allergic reaction to BSA, it is also stimulated to destroy the beta cells through an autoimmune attack, causing diabetes. Milk also contains the two major proteins causing allergic reactions, casein and whey. If a person is allergic to the casein, then the milk of all animals is forbidden as this protein is identical in all animals. If a person is allergic to the whey of the milk of one animal, the milk of another animal may be tolerated as the whey structure varies from animal to animal. The milk proteins also contain phosphorous and sulfur compounds which acidify the blood. To alkalize the blood, the body draws calcium out of the bones-incidentally, the countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis, also have the highest consumption rates of milk and dairy products. The calcium is then filtered through the kidneys and may produce kidney stones. Milk in its natural state, is not homogenized (broken down into fat globules of equal size). When not homogenized, the milk fat globules cannot cross the intestinal barrier, into the bloodstream. Homogenized,The milk fat globules can cross the intestinal barrier into the bloodstream where they become part of the body's fat stores, along with any carcinogens, drugs (especially antibiotics producing increasing drug-resistant bacteria in humans), hormones, pesticides, and anything else that is stored in the fats. In short, if milk is to be used in the diet, moderation should be the guide.
Q: Whenever I ride my bike, I get knee pain although I have been riding bike for several years now. What can I do to prevent this? - Layperson
A: The first step should be to see if you have the proper size bike or, more specifically, the right pedal length. To do this, the best way would be to test-ride the bike. The knees should be slightly below a right-angle bend at the high reach of the peddle. If the bike has gears ride at a level where there is no excessive effort to peddle. The other option is to build the strength of the knees' s supporting ligaments, muscles, and tendons through a weight training program of leg lifts, lunges, and squats. Consult a personal trainer in these exercises.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this column, is NOT intended to diagnose and/or treat any health related issues and is provided solely for informational purposes only. Consult the appropriate healthcare professional before making any changes to your healthcare regime. Even what may seem like simple changes in the diet for example, can interact with, and alter, the efficiency of medications and/or the body's response to the medications. Many herbs and supplements exert powerful medicinal effects. Neither the author, nor the website designers, assume any responsibility for the reader's use or misuse of this information.