Medical experts are drawing an alarm signal on the consumption of raw breast-milk under the premises that it is a miraculous nourishment.
An entire market sector has been aggressively developing surrounding the consumption of raw-breast milk. Online stores and banks are selling raw breast milk as such or in other products from lollipops to ice cream in an attempt to monetize on the new craze that places breast milk at its center.
Nonetheless, a study coming from the Global Health and Policy Unit – Queen Mary University, London, aims to dissipate the myth and bring the medical risks of raw breast milk consumption to the front.
Firstly, breast milk is far from being the wonder food advertising is making it look like. While it is advertised as the most nutritious milk available, medical experts disagree. Cow milk for instance is richer in protein than breast milk.
Therefore, clinically, most of the benefits claimed to be accomplished by breast milk simply do not stand the test. Raw breast milk consumption does not build up immunity in adults, nor does it increase the muscle mass. Nor does it help with erectile dysfunction or human adult digestion.
Beneficial for children, breast milk does little to help the adult body. Even the benefits inferred on children are still under medical research. But for adults, there is no evidence that it boosts the body to any extent. Clinical trials have showed no effects on adults consuming raw breast milk as opposed to the the test groups ingesting a placebo.
All to the contrary, it can bring about serious medical concerns, particularly if we take into account that it is not a pasteurized product. Thus, if it is not stored properly it can accumulate a bacteria culture that is detrimental to the body if ingested.
The same logic follows if the milk comes from a source that unknowingly passes on infectious diseases, despite the fact that most women giving their breast milk away claim to have undergone rigorous medical check-ups.
Pumped and stored unpasteurized breast milk was found to contain hundreds of bacterial species in 74 percent of samples. This separate study was conducted in 2013 and it looked at breast milk samples purchased over the internet. Poor collecting, storage, and transit practices made it dangerous for children to ingest.
Furthermore, the Queen Mary University research states that unpasteurized breast milk bears a cohort of infectious pathogens. Ingesting this milk with untested sources or fake labels and kept under poor conditions may carry the risk of hepatitis B, as well as hepatitis B infection.
HIV, herpes, syphilis also feature on the list of potential infectious diseases that can be contracted from unpasteurized breast milk.
Milk banks are addressing specifically a segment of the population that simply cannot meet the needs of their babies, either for lack of milk or too little milk. Here, tests are conducted to make sure that the milk is safe for the future recipients.
However, not the same thing holds for the cohort of websites that are addressing adult consumption of raw breast-milk. There is little to no proof that the milk or the source has been tested previously.
Not to mention that websites looking to attract the adult population in its search for the superfood are pricing breast milk at four times the price of milk banks collecting it for infants in real need.
The value of breast milk is so high on the market that often online advertisers are stretching it with other types of milk, all to monetize on a craze unsupported by medical evidence.
The study was conducted by Sarah Steele and the results were published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.
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