Milk Consumption and the Risk of Asthma
by Dr. Frank Lichtenberger, MD, PhD
While normally I use this opportunity to write about Atopic Dermatitis, I found this recent scientific article to be very exciting. It deals with an important topic: Food!
When I graduated from medical school a little over a decade ago, we knew that eating the wrong foods led to chronic medical problems like obesity and hypertension. However, recent research is supporting the concept that certain types of food can prevent or treat other conditions, especially allergic conditions like atopic dermatitis and asthma – this report dealt with asthma.
It has been shown that children that grow up on farms tend to be protected from allergic conditions, this was originally thought to be due to the “hygiene hypothesis,” however this study found a relationship between the types of milk consumed in early childhood had a strong relationship with the development of asthma.
The authors showed that consumption of raw, unprocessed cow’s milk was associated with reduced odds of developing asthma between 4 and 6 years of age, with the greatest difference in children that consumed raw, unprocessed cow’s milk, high in fat, from an earlier age. The authors believe that this effect was largely due to the higher amount of “omega-3” fatty acids that were found in the raw, unprocessed cow’s milk. These anti-inflammatory fatty acids were lost in the processed milk.
While this is very exciting, there cannot be a recommendation to drink this type of milk as it is associated with an increased risk of infection. There are many other ways to add omega-3 fatty acids to the diet, that won’t risk infection.
Here’s a link to the original article: http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(15)01731-5/abstract