What causes addiction to Milk?
More than a decade ago, when the Government was putting green and red dots on vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, the milk industry, and hundreds of literate people, insisted that milk was vegetarian (even though it comes from an animal) and milk products should be listed with a green dot. We caved in. Even people with a plant based diet will often admit that cheese is their weakness. Considering that cheese smells like dirty socks, why? Cheese is a high-calorie product loaded with fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Typical cheeses are 70 percent fat. And the type of fat they contain is mainly saturated (“bad”) fat, which increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Cheese is the number-one source of saturated fat in the Western diet. About one-third of adults, and 12.5 million children and adolescents, are obese in America.
We should be very far behind – with a largely vegetarian diet and a penchant towards healthy meals at home – but we have also joined the ranks of obese nations. And obesity is a major cause of death through heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. In all three of these diseases we rank near the top. One-fourth of an average, 12-inch, cheese pizza contains nearly 13 grams of fat, including 6 grams of saturated fat and 27 milligrams of cholesterol. An ounce of cheese contains 9 grams of fat, including 6 grams of saturated fat. Partly skimmed milk versions of cheeses have just slightly lower amounts of fat.
But we will continue to drink milk and eat cheese/paneer. Now, many years later, I learn why people drink milk and eat paneer and cheese. Not because it is necessary for you, or because Krishna drank it (which he didn’t). No, the reason why people insist on it is because it is an opiate. You can get hooked onto cheese. There is a scientific reason. As milk digests, it produces mild opiates called casomorphins. In 1981, Eli Hazum, and his colleagues at Wellcome Research Laboratories, reported traces of the chemical morphine, an addictive opiate, in milk.
A casomorphin is a protein fragment derived from Casein, a milk protein. Casein is the major protein in the milk of all mammals. The distinguishing characteristic of casomorphins is that they have an opioid effect. Opioids are among the world’s oldest known drugs. Opioids are well known for their ability to produce a feeling of well-being, calm, intense feelings of pleasure, followed by a drowsy feeling. Opiates are addictive. Dependence can develop, leading to withdrawal syndromes if you stop at once. Concentrated milk products, like cheese, ice cream, and milk chocolate, contain concentrated quantities of these addictive narcotics. (Incidentally, Casein is sometimes even added to certain dairy-free and vegan cheeses.) It takes 10 lbs of milk to make 1 lb of cheese. As milk is turned into cheese, most of its water is removed leaving behind concentrated casein and fat. So, concentrated dairy products, like cheese, have especially high levels of opiates, so the pleasure effect is greater. That is why, for instance, many people take a glass of milk at night. And why it is given to bridegrooms on the wedding night!
Why would mammals evolve to have opioids in their milk? Dr Neal Bernard, founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, explains, “It appears that the opiates from mother’s milk produce a calming effect on the infant and, in fact, may be responsible for a good measure of the mother-infant bond. Psychological bonds always have a physical underpinning. Like it or not, mother’s milk has a drug-like effect on the baby’s brain that ensures that the baby will bond with Mom and continue to nurse and get the nutrients all babies need. Like heroin or codeine, casomorphins slow intestinal movements and have a decided antidiarrheal effect. The opiate effect may be why adults often find that cheese can be constipating, just as opiate painkillers are.”
The European Food Safety Agency, in response to a number of studies and public health concern, did a scientific literature review in 2009 to assess how addicting casomorphins are, and whether or not enough of the casomorphins cross the intestinal wall and get into the blood stream and ultimately cross the blood-brain barrier, etc. Do casomorphines play a role in autism etc.? They are still studying the matter, because they cannot come to a conclusion on how much is alright for the human body. However, this much we know: with opioid drugs, different people react differently to them and different amounts affect people differently. Further, it is generally accepted that binging on drugs on a daily basis is bad for us, even in sufficiently small quantities. Florida scientist, Dr. Robert Cade, has identified casomorphin as the probable cause of attention deficit disorder. Dr. Cade found Beta-casomorphin-7 in high concentrations in the blood and urine of patients with either schizophrenia or autism. Studies by Dr. Karl Riechelt, in Norway, indicate a very strong association between autistic behaviour, celiac disease, schizophrenia and ingestion of dairy. One research paper, from the University of Illinois, states, “Casomorphins possess opioid activity. The term, opioid, refers to morphine-like effects which include signs of sedation, tolerance, sleep induction, and depression.”
A recent case report entitled “Cow’s Milk-Induced Infant Apnea with Increased Serum Content of Bovine Beta Casomorphin 5″, published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition…”Infant apnea refers to when a baby stops breathing.” The researchers report “a case of a breast-fed infant with recurrent apnea episodes, which have always been preceded by his mother’s consumption of fresh cow’s milk.” Lab tests revealed a high level of casomorphin in the child’s blood, leading researchers to speculate that it was the “opioid activity that may have a depressive effect on the respiratory center in the central nervous system and induce a phenomenon called milk apnea.” “The aim of the present report,” the paper concludes, “is to draw researchers’ attention to the possibility of occurrence of a systemic reaction with an apnea seizure on the infant’s exposure to the proteins in cow’s milk. We are convinced that such a clinical situation occurs rarely; however, it is accompanied by a real threat to the infant’s life that can be avoided when applying a simple and not costly dietetic intervention…a dairy-free diet”.
As many as 1 in 10 infants, with recurrent apneic episodes, cannot be saved and die of SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome (also known as crib death). One in every two thousand babies dies this way. The researchers conclude: “Penetration of beta-casomorphins into the infant’s immature central nervous system may inhibit the respiratory center in the brainstem leading to abnormal ventilatory responses, hypercapnia [too much carbon dioxide], hypoxia [not enough oxygen], apnea, and death.” Casomorphins are also accused of participating in the cause of other conditions, including type I diabetes, postpartum psychosis, circulatory disorders, food allergies, and autism. ”In fact, gluten and dairy do act as drugs for many people” says immunologist and researcher Aristo Vojdani, PhD, MSc, MT, the CEO of Immunosciences Lab, Inc. in Beverly Hills, California. “Just as with the heroin or pain-pill addict, going off gluten or casein immediately can produce withdrawal symptoms”. Withdrawal symptoms include anger and depression.
By the way, as Casein breaks down in the stomach it also releases histamines. Histamine is a substance that plays a major role in many allergic reactions, dilating blood vessels and making their walls abnormally permeable. Histamines are released when foreign allergens are present (cold medicines, for instance, have antihistamines), which is also why 70% of the world’s population is allergic to dairy products. Nature’s way is to make nursing pleasurable. That same mechanism is what also makes weaning so difficult. So many adults have never been weaned from the addictive effects of milk. Are you a drug addict?
By Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi