Milk, Hormones and Children


There are so many concerns that a parent has anymore when it comes to deciding what to feed your children; it seems like every day in the United States we parents hear scary talk about how bad the quality of food is in the U.S., and how hidden ingredients can make your child or even you sick. One of those ingredients causing a stir is the use of growth hormones in dairy cows, which may be found in the milk we give our kids to drink. Today, we are going to briefly touch on this subject…

Growth Hormone in Cow’s Milk

Growth hormone is found in cow’s milk. Cows are often given synthetic recombinant bovine growth hormone, which is an artificial type of growth hormone to help them produce more milk. There is also a naturally-occurring growth hormone in milk. However, many people today are concerned about the synthetic type of growth hormone. Parents are also concerned about insulin-like growth factor-1, which is increased in a cow that receives recombinant bovine growth hormone. Insulin-like growth factor-1 is not absorbed in the intestines.

Milk and the Onset of Early Puberty

One of the reasons parents are concerned about the hormones in milk is because claims have been made saying the hormones are the reason children today are beginning puberty earlier. This is a phenomenon known as precocious puberty. However, pediatricians believe obesity is the main reason children today are starting puberty earlier.

There have also been studies done to debunk the theory that hormones in milk can lead to early puberty in children. It is important to note growth hormone is not the same as steroid hormones, such as estrogen. Growth hormone is a protein hormone. It is mostly destroyed by pasteurization and digestion. Children who are of short stature often receive growth hormone. Growth hormone injection do not cause early puberty.

Artificial Growth Hormones in Milk and Cancer

There has also been concerns raised about the artificial growth hormone in milk and cancer risk. Some claim artificial growth hormone can increase the risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer. However, there have been studies done to disprove this belief also.

Alternatives to Milk with rBST

Despite the fact that research has proven the health concerns about hormones in milk are overblown, there are still many people who want to avoid consuming any milk with artificial hormones. There are many ways you can avoid milk with artificial growth hormone. You can look for milk that has been labeled rBST-free, which can be found at just about any grocery store. You can also buy organic milk because it is free of artificial hormones. Furthermore, there are many alternatives to cow’s milk that are rich in vitamin D and calcium. Almond milk, soy milk and coconut milk are some of the types of milk people can try instead of cow’s milk. Simply be aware of chemicals and other toxins in food sources today, and be extra vigilant of what you and your family are purchasing from the grocery store and eating.

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