From The Grass To You, Raw Milk

Have you ever heard of Raw Milk? Maybe you're not caught up on today's fab fitness lingo, but that means unpasteurized milk. If you're from the deep country and don't know what pasteurize is, it's when you take milk and separate the fat then run it through super heated tubes to kill all possible pathogens. This process is deemed necessary by the all mighty FDA and to consume raw milk in some states is illegal. This illegal declaration is probably why so many people are clawing to get some; all those rebel's out there. Put on your thinking cap because we're about to pull out some literature on raw milk and then we're going to do some theorizing.

Mark E. Gebhart, M.D., spoke at a microbiology seminar on raw milk. The M.D. next to his name informs us that he's being going to school for a long time. On the topic of pathogens left in milk without pasteurization Gebhart went into detail informing everyone about the redundant system of bioactive components that reduce or eliminate pathogenic bacteria. This conclusion drawn by him states that because their are enzymes such as lysozyme and lactoperoxidase, lactoferrin [which holds onto iron], antibodies and other substances involved in immune system function, and various molecules that bind to bacteria and prevent their attachment to the gut lining. Even more interesting was that when the most common cause of food-borne illness, Campylobacter, best known for being a contaminant of meats is added to raw milk, there is actually a reduction in the the disease-causing bacteria over time.[1]

In theory, a reason that the risk of pathogens may increase in cow's milk is due to diet and lifestyle. A cow that feeds on grains and processed gluten's will have a different body makeup than one that is grass fed. Most grass fed cattle roam a pasture while a grain fed cow will be in confined spaces the majority of it's life. This can lead to food contaminants or spread of pathogens between cattle. Also, a cow that is fed grains will typically have a fat make up higher in omega 6 which when over consumed by humans has a negative effect Moral of the story is look for grass fed milk if you decide to go raw. More information on Grass Fed cattle can be seen here.

Gebhart also brought into view the deactivation of some bioactive components during pasteurization. He showed an example of breast milk and raw milk and 14 of their healthy and beneficial components. Then when examining baby formula and pasteurized milk all 14 components had been deactivated. [1]

While we're near the topic of children [infant formula and breast milk] we should talk about pasteurization infancy and the infants that suffered. When raw milk first became taboo and society switched to pasteurized milk a few doctors were actually worried about the denaturing, destroying and breaking down, of the milks health benefits. In 1916 a study was produced and the findings were that Pasteurized milk gradually induces infantile scurvy, unless antiscorbutic diet is given in addition. This disorder quickly yielded to the substitution of raw for pasteurized milk. [2] One study showed that there is a loss in the soluble calcium and phosphorus contents of the milk due to heat and the amount of the loss depends upon the temperature to which the milk has been heated. [3] Another study  showed that pasteurization caused the loss of significant percentages of many of the B vitamins and nearly all of the enzymes in milk.[4]

Because pasteurization destroys many of the enzymes of milk, would it be possible that someone is lactose intolerant because they can't digest milk due to it's less bioactive property? Imagine yourself as a scientist because right now you are. When something is present in a substance that allows it to react it's called a reactant. In a chemical equation we need a reactant for a specific result. For example H+O2 are necessary to create H2O. Without both reactants a chemical reaction cannot occur. When your body needs certain enzymes to break down proteins and fats, a decomposition reaction, the removal of those enzymes can negate the reaction. In lactose intolerant individuals they do not posses the enzyme to break down lactate. If that bioactive component in milk is deactivated during pasteurization then wouldn't that be the cause to most lactose intolerance?

"Intolerance is bad."

Theory and literature
Infant formula is pasteurized milk that is then pumped full of artificial vitamins. Endu's view on artificial vitamins is not a positive one for the industry as you can find out by reading here. When we look at the above evidence we can see that raw breast milk results in an absence of scurvy, better bioavaliable calcium and phosphorus, and greater absorption of B vitamins and other enzymes. This applies for adults too. For example, a woman that is anemic can drink raw milk and thanks to the enzyme lactoferrin she will actually hold onto and absorb iron more efficiently. This is even supported by some literature [5].

You've read all of this and now you have to make an observation because today we are scientist's! If raw milk contains bioactive components that neutralize possible pathogens then we must infer that properly raised and fed cattle's milk is safe. If pasteurizing milk deactivates many bioactive components, vitamins, and enzymes then we should realize that pasteurized milk is less nutritious. Make a conclusion my scientist colleagues. Raw milk is potentially much better for you than pasteurized milk. Try it and see how you feel.

  1. Loren Muldowney,  Mark E. Gebhart, M.D. (2011) Got raw milk?  ER doctor calls for research into disease-fighting components. retrieved from http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/20080717/n1 
  2. Hess AF. Infantile scurvy: its influence on growth. The American Journal of Diseases of Children, August 1916, 152-165. 
  3. Bell, RW. The effect of heat on the solubility of the calcium and phosphorus compounds in milk. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, June 1925, Vol. 64, No. 2, 391-400. 
  4. Darlington, Jean Bullitt. “Why Milk Pasteurization, Part II: Plowing Under the Truth.” The Rural New Yorker, May 3, 1947, p. 4-5. 
  5. Krauss WE et al. Studies on the nutritive value of milk II: The effect of pasteurization on some of the nutritive properties of milk. Ohio Agricultural Experimental Station Bulletin 518, p. 11, January 1933.  


  1. My family and I have been drinking grassfed raw milk for about 4 years and we see the health improvements. We are rarely sick, and when we do come down with something it is brief and mild. My kids' teeth are strong and straight, despite my husband and I both needing braces when we were young. And the taste of fresh, real milk is incomparable!

    1. That's awesome, is there any physiological changes you noticed? maybe doctors noticing improved cholesterol?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

The Accute Effects Of Different Squat Intensities on Vertical Jump Performances
The Accute Effects of Different Squat Intensities On Jump Performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.