Dairy products - including all milk products, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, kefir, ice-cream, etc. - are related to all kinds of diseases including cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, cancer, allergies, asthma, digestive diseases, thyroid problems, neurological diseases, etc. The list is unlimited and I wish I could include it here, but for the sake of space let's concentrate on why this is so.

Milk can cause problems in several ways:
  • through sensitivity to the protein casein which creates havoc in our bodies in a similar way that gluten from wheat and other grains does.
  • through milk allergies which can juxtapose with the previous problem.
  • through lactose intolerance.
  • through the food livestock eats which can have, among other things, toxic lectins from consumed grains or GMO foods. Livestock can have hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, infections, etc. also
  • through other problems as well
Let's cover the basic principles of each problem.

Casein Sensitivity

The protein casein in dairy products creates serious problems just like the protein gluten in some grains like wheat. They can trigger an autoimmune response and/or mimic endorphins to cause changes in perception, mood, and behavior. The mechanism involved has to do with a failure of a particular enzyme which disassembles the gluten and casein protein, a digestive process necessary for our bodies to extract the nutrients from these proteins. Because of the failure of this enzyme to do its job, a remaining undigested fragment of those proteins survive, and to our defense/immune system this fragment resembles a virus. Then, thinking that it is a virus, our bodies will trigger an immune/defense response to protect our bodies from the 'invader'. Because this gluten or casein fragment is so similar to various disease-causing viruses, it will generate a complex reaction, an autoimmune response which is suspected to play a role in type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis and autism. Complex immune responses damage different tissues in different people, so the range of diseases is very diverse. Also, the undigested gluten or casein fragments look like opium-like drugs which can have a significant influence on our behavior and brains. They are literally drugs - and that is why people are so hooked on dairy and gluten!

In Detoxification and Healing, Sydney MacDonald Baker,M.D. explains this as follows (keep in mind that the following applies to casein in milk):
An average person and most doctors simply cannot believe that difficulty with the digestion and biochemical or immunological processing of the gluten found in these grains can cause substantial mischief.

Gluten intolerance affects approximately one out of a hundred people; if you look among sick people instead of in the general population, you will find a much higher incidence. If you have problems of just about any combination of symptoms you can name or even if you have been diagnosed with a disease and remain symptomatic, a brief avoidance of gluten in your diet will cover this base.

Gluten sensitivity is the protein in cereal grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. Sensitivity is not the same as an ordinary allergy.

Most sensitivity to foods involves delayed reactions and has to do with IgG antibodies. It is very easy to identify food allergies if you get an immediate reaction to them, for example if you get a rash after eating some strawberries. But it is very tricky to pin down a delayed food allergy because there is no clear-cut cause and effect. You may experience symptoms after two hours, but frequently they don't show up until one day to three days after you eat the food in question. Further complicating matters, the symptoms wax and wane. You may eat gluten with impunity one day but get diarrhea from it the next three times you indulge. Or your symptoms may be cumulative, occurring only after you've eaten gluten a number of times or when you eat a particular combination of foods you're sensitive to.

Delayed food allergies can cause just about any symptom, and chronic illness often involves a state of inappropriate immune vigilance in which food allergy gets involved even if it is no the cause of the problem. For some reason, your defense immune system can get stuck in a high vigilance alert and response, leading to chronic inflammatory symptoms that persist and even worsen long after the initial trigger has gone. When this happens, your immune system may develop an oddly aggressive attitude toward a variety of antigens or foreign substances in your body, including many found in the foods you eat.

Wheat and other gluten-containing foods and milk products may test positive on IgG food allergy testing but that, in you, produce effects that are not really allergic but are mediated by mechanisms that take weeks or months for alleviation after avoiding the foods.

Autistic children often improve enough on a gluten-free [and a dairy free diet, it is well documented] diet at to make it worth continuing. The diet avoids wheat, rye, barley, and all products containing even traces of the protein (gluten) found in these grains. Oats are still a matter of controversy; some studies show no negative effect in gluten-sensitive individuals, but other individuals report reactions to them. The majority of psychologists, physicians, teachers, neighbors, and parents reject the idea that anything as completely innocent as bread or spaghetti could make your lose your mind. More practitioners every day prescribe a gluten free diet for individuals with diseases such as schizophrenia and autism as top treatment instead of it being it a last resort. If you have any chronic symptom and you have not tried eliminating gluten from your diet for somewhere between three weeks and three months to see what different it may make.

Doctors are conditioned to think that each disease has a separate cause, and each produces a separate disease, so it is no surprise that they will find it difficult to believe that sensitivity to the protein wheat, rye, barley, and maybe, oats could produce such a diverse list of conditions such as headaches, fatigue, malaise, depression, any sort of chronic digestive problem including difficulty gaining weight, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel, undigested food in stools, Sjögren's syndrome (dry eyes), epilepsy associated with brain calcification, history of migraine headaches, or digestive problems; osteoporosis, infertility, complications of pregnancy such as miscarriage, low-birth-weight infants, intestinal lymphoma, esophageal cancer, diabetes, thyroid problems, schizophrenia, autism, dermatitis herpetiformis (a chronic skin condition with tiny blisters that resemble those of herpes virus infections).

There is substantial evidence of a causative association between gluten intolerance and these problems. And the list grows as case reports of dramatic cures produced by a gluten-free diet attract the attention of researchers.

There are blood tests and urine tests that may predict whether you will feel better by eliminating gluten from your diet, but no blood or urine test is completely decisive. Response to a change in diet will be decisive for you.

The original peoples of Northern Europe, who like the peoples of the Americas, Africa, and the Far East, had not adapted to the consumption of wheat because they were hunter-gatherers or because they practiced agriculture based on corn, millet, or rice, as well as tubers. [...]

In order to understand gluten sensitivity, we must understand digestion of protein. A protein is an assembly of amino acids. Amino acids joined together are called peptides and when we have 100 or so amino acids joined together, we have a small protein. Most proteins have hundreds or thousands of amino acids, and they are folded into shapes that are kept permanent by bridges, usually made of sulfur. The strength of this assembly is quite strong, and so our digestive tracts are trusted with the task of disassembling the thousands of amino acids from our foods right down to individual amino acids, which then pass int our bloodstream to be then reassembled int our own very proteins. To be more precise, our digestive tracts uses stomach acids, and alkali juices from our intestines, combined with the digestive enzymes to do this job. Specific enzymes disassemble the proteins into peptides. Gluten intolerance has to do with a failure of a particular enzyme, a peptidase called DPP4.

When the same enzyme is sticking out of a lymphocyte, a cell of our immune/defense system and apparently doing a different job within the body, it is called CD26. Because of the failure or insufficiency of DPP4, an undigested fragment of protein, or peptide, survives and it appears to cause mischief in at least two ways. First, this undigested peptide, looks familiar to the immune/defense system, in other words, it produces a mimicry which is based on digestive weakness among the descendants of peoples who have not been eating wheat long enough to adapt. This will cause symptoms caused by the triggering of an immune response against a suspicious-looking peptide which will resemble a virus to our defense/immune system. Because the gluten-derived peptide is similar to various disease-causing virus, it generates a complex defensive response on the part of the immune system, which does not then find a virus to kill. The next step is damage to tissues by the antibodies aimed at the peptide. This triangle of viral stimulus, immune response, and autoimmune damage is suspected to be a common theme in various illnesses, such as type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and autism. The immune response damages different tissues in different people.

The second way that undigested peptides from gluten cause trouble is by entering the bloodstream. Peptides released from gluten when there is a failure of DPP4 possess another kind of mimicry apart from their resemblance to peptides from viruses. These peptides look like opium and the family of drugs derived from opium: heroin, morphine, codeine, and other semisynthetic derivatives. This understanding is based on the finding of opioid peptides in the urine of individuals with autism and schizophrenia, also from the dramatic withdrawal symptoms that occur in some individuals when they come off gluten. The malaise and irritability strongly resemble a mild version of the kinds of symptoms seen in heroin withdrawal.

Most individuals with gluten-related symptoms will begin to experience relief a few days after excluding all gluten. It may take up between 3 weeks and 3 months.

Many doctors define the problem in terms of the lab test, the lab tests are meant to indicate celiac disease, which does not necessarily have a one-to-one correlation with all of the other problems associated with gluten sensitivity. Celiac disease is just one type of a broader spectrum of gluten sensitivity. [...]

Everything that we had learned about gluten applies to casein, one of the main proteins in milk, the lack of DPP4, thus the peptides pass into the blood where they do harm because the evoke an autoimmune response and/or mimic endorphins to cause changes in perception, mood, and behavior.; but it is to say that milk can cause you problems in other ways as well. [...]
The lack of these enzymes (peptidase) is not only due to heritability, but it is also believed to be due to multiple factors including toxicity (for instance, heavy metal toxicity) which ends up impairing their function. Keep in mind that there really is no way to avoid heavy metal toxicity as it is prevalent throughout the entire world. Some detoxify better than others though.

There are lab tests that can be done to diagnose this problem, but these tests have not been perfected to the point where they can substitute for a change in diet.

Milk Allergy

Milk allergy is another problem and it does not have a clear-cut boundary with casein sensitivity. It can produce just about any symptom you can think of as well. Allergies have a medical implication of an immune system reaction that differs from the peptide issue described above. When there is an allergic reaction to the proteins in milk (usually casein) there can be hives, eczema, swelling, itching, or digestive complaints, or a delayed reaction that can take practically any form or disease. A delayed reaction can occur at varying intervals and intensities after eating milk products.

Lactose Intolerance

This is yet another milk-related problem. Lactose is a sugar found in the milk of any mammal and it is made up of two simple sugars: glucose and galactose. There are people who lack the enzyme needed to separate these sugars so that each can be absorbed into the bloodstream. When this happens, the undigested lactose remains in the digestive tract where the digestive flora consumes it. As a consequence there can be bowel urgency, cramps, diarrhea, and gas. Hydrogen breath tests can distinguish this particular problem of lactose intolerance.

Questionable Livestock

Dairy products can have hormones, chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics, blood, pus, toxic lectins from consumed grains or GMO foods among other things. There has also been concern of viral infections with bovine leukemia virus (related to leukemia and lymphomas) or an AIDS-like virus. Salmonella, E. coli, and staphylococcal infections can be traced to milk as well. See for instance the Milk Letter for more information.

Other Problems

If you haven't heard that countries with the highest consumption of dairy products have the highest rates of osteoporosis, now you have, and you will understand why as well. This excerpt is from the book The Enzyme Factor where Hiromi Shinya, M.D. sums up other problems with milk and dairy products in general, including yogurt:
The main nutrients found in milk are protein, fat, glucose, calcium and vitamins. Milk is very popular because it contains a lot of calcium and is supposed to prevent osteoporosis.

But the truth is, there is no other food that is as difficult to digest as milk. Since milk is a smooth liquid substance, there are some people who drink it like water when they are thirsty, but that is a big mistake. Casein, which accounts for approximately 80% of the protein found in milk, immediately clumps together once it enters the stomach, making digestion very difficult. Furthermore, that component is homogenized in the milk sold in stores. Homogenization means equalizing the fat content in milk by stirring it. The reason homogenization is bad is that when milk is stirred, air gets mixed in, turning the milk's fat component into an oxidized fatty substance - fat in an advanced state of oxidation. In other words, homogenized milk produces free radicals and exerts a very negative influence on the body.

The milk containing oxidized fat then gets pasteurized at high temperatures over 212°F. Enzymes are sensitive to heat, and begin to be destroyed at temperatures 200°F. In other words, milk sold in stores not only lacks precious enzymes, but the fat is oxidized and the quality of the proteins is changed due to the high temperature. In a sense, milk is the worst type of food.

In fact, I have heard that if you feed milk sold in stores to a calf instead of milk straight from the mother cow, the calf will die in four or five days. Life cannot be sustained with foods that do not have enzymes.

Milk causes inflammation

The first time I learned how bad milk is for the body was more than 35 years ago, when my own children developed atopic dermatitis' at six or seven months of age.

The children's mother followed the pediatrician's instructions, but no matter how much treatment they received, the children's dermatitis did not improve at all. Then, at around age three or four, my son began having severe diarrhea. And finally, he even started getting blood in his stool. Upon examination with an endoscope, I discovered that the toddler manifested early stages of ulcerative colitis.

Knowing ulcerative colitis is closely linked to one's diet, I focused on what kind of food the children usually ate. As it turned out, just when the children began developing atopic dermatitis, my wife had stopped breastfeeding and had started giving them milk under the pediatrician's advice. We eliminated all milk and milk products from the children's diet from that point on. Sure enough, the bloody stool and diarrhea, even the atopic dermatitis, completely subsided.

Following that experience, I began obtaining an itemized list of how much milk and milk products were consumed when I asked my patients about their dietary history. According to my clinical data, there is a high likelihood of developing a predisposition to allergies by consuming milk and milk products. This correlates with recent allergy studies that report that when pregnant women drink milk, their children are more prone to develop atopic dermatitis.

During the past 30 years in Japan, the number of patients with atopic dermatitis and hay fever has increased at an astonishing rate. That number may currently be as much as one out of every five people. There are many theories as to why there has been such a rapid increase in the number of people with allergies, but I believe the number one cause is the introduction of milk in school lunches in the early 1960s.

Milk, which contains many oxidized fatty substances, damages the intestinal environment, increasing the amount of bad bacteria and destroying the balance of the intestinal bacterial flora. As a result, toxins such as free radicals, hydrogen sulfides, and ammonia are produced in the intestine. Research about what kind of process these toxins go through and what kinds of illnesses arise is still ongoing, but several research papers have reported that milk not only causes various allergies but is also linked with diabetes among children. These research papers are available on the internet, so I encourage you to read them yourselves.

Why drinking too much milk will cause osteoporosis

The biggest common misconception about milk is that it helps prevent osteoporosis. Since the calcium content in our bodies decreases with age, we are told to drink a lot of milk to prevent osteoporosis. But this is a big mistake. Drinking too much milk actually causes osteoporosis.

It is commonly believed that calcium in milk is better absorbed than the calcium in other foods such as small fish, but that is not entirely true. The calcium concentration in human blood is normally fixed at 9-10 mg. However, when you drink milk, the calcium concentration in your blood suddenly rises. Although at first glance, it may seem as if a lot of calcium has been absorbed, this rise in blood calcium level has its downside. When the calcium concentration in the blood suddenly rises, the body tries to return this abnormal level back to normal by excreting calcium from the kidneys through urine. In other words, if you try to drink milk in order to get calcium, this actually produces the ironic result of decreasing the overall level of calcium in your body. All of the four big dairy countries - America, Sweden, Denmark and Finland - where a lot of milk is consumed every day, see many cases of hip fractures and osteoporosis.

In contrast to this, small fish and seaweed, which Japanese people have been eating for ages and were originally thought to be low in calcium, contain calcium that is not quickly absorbed in a way that raises the blood calcium concentration level. Moreover, there were hardly any cases of osteoporosis in Japan during the time when people did not drink milk. Even now, you do not hear about many people having osteoporosis among those who do not drink milk on a regular basis. The body can absorb the necessary calcium and minerals through the digestion of small shrimp, fish, and seaweed.

Why I question the "myth" about yogurt

Recently in Japan, various types of yogurt such as "Caspian Sea yogurt" and "aloe yogurt" have become very popular because of their widely advertised health benefits. But I believe these are all misrepresentations.

What I often hear from people who eat yogurt is that their gastrointestinal condition has improved, they are no longer constipated, or their waist has gotten smaller. And they believe these results are due to the lactobacilli found in all yogurts.

However, this belief in the benefits of lactobacilli is questionable from the start. Lactobacilli are originally found in the human intestine. These bacteria are called "intestinal resident bacteria." The human body has a defense system against bacteria and viruses coming from the outside, so even those bacteria that are normally good for your body, like lactobacilli, will be attacked and destroyed by the body's natural defenses if they are not intestinal resident bacteria.

The first line of defense is stomach acid. When lactobacilli from the yogurt enter the stomach, most are killed by stomach acid. For that reason, there have been recent improvements made and yogurts are being sold with the catchphrase, "lactobacilli that reach your intestine."

However, even if the bacteria do reach the intestine, is it really possible for them to work hand in hand with the intestinal resident bacteria? The reason I question this claim about yogurt is because in the clinical setting, the intestinal characteristics of people who eat yogurt everyday are never good. I strongly suspect that, even if the lactobacilli in yogurt reach the intestine alive, they do not make the intestine work better but only disrupt the intestinal flora instead.

Then why do many people feel yogurt is effective in improving their health? For many, yogurt seems to "cure" constipation. This "cure," however, is actually a mild case of diarrhea. Here is the way this probably works: Adults lack enough of the enzyme that breaks down lactose. Lactose is the sugar found in milk products, but lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, begins to decrease in our bodies as we grow older. This is natural in a sense, because milk is something infants drink, not adults. In other words, lactase is an enzyme that is not required by adults.

Yogurt contains a lot of lactose. Thus, when you eat yogurt, it cannot be properly digested owing to the lack of lactase enzymes, which in turn results in indigestion. In short, many people develop mild diarrhea when they eat yogurt. Consequently, this mild diarrhea, which is really the excretion of stagnant stool that has been accumulating in the colon until then, gets mistakenly characterized as a cure for constipation.

Your intestine's condition will worsen if you eat yogurt everyday. I can say this with confidence based on my clinical observations. If you eat yogurt everyday, the smell of your stool and gas should be increasingly pungent. This is an indication that your intestinal environment is getting worse. The reason for the smell is that toxins are being produced inside the colon. Thus, even though people talk about the health effects of yogurt in general (and yogurt companies are more than pleased to tout their own products), in reality, there are many things about yogurt that are not good for your body.
Yet another problem with dairy products is their lectin content which can cause serious problems as well, including diseases like multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Lectin sensitivity is a whole other story, and it seems to be related to the quality of the livestock's feed. For more information please read the Lectin Report.

The Solution

Remember that these problems apply to all dairy products including, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, kefir, ice cream, etc. When casein is the problem, raw milk with all its benefits is NOT going to help. Think of it as an addictive opioid drug which delivers a fix. Butter is considered to be safe for some, but it has to be tested through an elimination diet to see if it is really tolerated. A good alternative is ghee butter.

We usually crave those foods which cause us problems and to which we are intolerant. People generally experience withdrawal symptoms when excluding those foods from their diets, but these withdrawal symptoms are only temporary and can be relieved with natural measures. The solution is to do an elimination diet as explained here. Do check it out! It includes tips on how to avoid withdrawal symptoms as well.

The only period of time when we should be consuming milk is when we are babies and then it has to be breast milk. We were not meant to drink the milk of other animals. As adults we simply should not be consuming dairy. I believe that everybody benefits from eliminating dairy and gluten from their diets and that doing the elimination diet to detect food allergies and intolerances is the first key to recover one's health. Food sensitivities can manifest not only in a myriad of diseases, but also chronic illness often involves a state of inappropriate vigilance of our immune/defense system in which food allergies get involved even if it is not the cause of the problem - leading then to chronic inflammation, which translates into disease!

Further Reading

Origins of Agriculture - Did Civilization Arise to Deliver a Fix?

The Milk Letter

The Dark Side of Wheat - New Perspectives on Celiac Disease and Wheat Intolerance

Opening Pandora's Bread Box: The Critical Role of Wheat Lectin in Human Disease

Detoxification and Healing: The Key to Optimal Health by Sidney MacDonald Baker, M.D.

Legal high: milk is a heavily promoted drug