Saturday, January 15, 2011

Multiple Sclerosis 8- Dairy

In 1976, there was a quiet suggestion that consumption of dairy products may be related to MS.  In 1992, an epidemiological study was published that also showed some association between MS and milk.  Intrigued by the possibility, researchers at Oxford set out to determine whether childhood milk allergy had any relationship to MS.  Published in 2010, the study found no relationship between childhood milk allergy and development of MS.

I've written about the risks of milk consumption previously. It is worth noting that in addition to the risks I described earlier, some of the proteins found in cow's milk (butyrophilin) exhibit cross reactivity with proteins found in myelin.  In other words, some proteins in milk look like proteins in your brain.  A 2000 study in the Journal of Immunology found that these proteins in milk may influence the immune response that triggers demyelinating events. These findings were replicated in 2004 as researchers found that butyrophilin can influence the immune response to myelin.

Another problem with dairy is the prevalence is lactose intolerance.  While some may view lactose intolerance as a mere inconvenience, researchers expand on this:

The symptoms of lactose intolerance are caused by gases and toxins produced by anaerobic bacteria in the large intestine. Bacterial toxins may play a key role in several other diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and some cancers.  Sci Prog 2005;88 (Pt3):157-202

There are certainly good things that go along with milk.  It is the world's richest source of calcium.  But consider the other potential costs.  Along with the hormones, windup of the insulin IGF-1 axis, casein related problems, generation of beta casomorphin, potential cross reactivity with myelin protein & consequences of lactose intolerance, there is much potential for immunological aggravation.  Given this evidence, I do not believe it is in your best interest to regularly consume milk.

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