Updated: February 2023
Milk and cheese are things that many of us love dearly. I LOVE milk. I admit it! I will drink milk occasionally because it tastes so good.
The “Got Milk” campaign was a genius piece of marketing. It really made everyone think and believe that milk is good for you and that we get all kinds of benefits such as vitamin D and calcium absorption from drinking milk.
Some people can tolerate milk and others can’t. Some people will drink milk, eat cheese or ice cream and literally within minutes have horrible gas, belching or even diarrhea or headaches.
Current thinking on milk and dairy products center around the decreased health benefits associated with low fat, skim, or no-fat milk products.
Whole Milk vs. Low Fat Milk
I know it’s impossible for many to stay away from dairy products. So, I say that if you are going to drink milk or eat cheese, etc… go all in. Drink whole milk or real cheese instead of going with low fat alternatives.
Low fat dairy products could have a possible connection to multiple types of cancer including colon, prostate, and breast cancer. Your body needs fat. Fat helps your tissues repair and heal.
Fat actually insulates your nerves and helps them conduct fast signals. Fat is found in all cell membranes throughout your body. We need fat to be healthy.
So, if you are going to drink milk, at least drink whole milk.
I am anti-milk even though I love it. I would be a hypocrite if I told you that I don’t ever drink it. I’d say that about once a month, I’ll have a nice tall glass of cold milk.
Does Dairy cause Mucous Production?
When I drink milk or eat ice cream, I will pay for it. Dairy is mucogenic which means that it causes mucous production in the body. Mucous buildup can cause respiratory or lung problems.
Dairy breaks down the mucous membranes in the lungs and can cause a cough and expectoration of mucous. Proper breathing is critical to overall health.
Your body excretes wastes through urine and feces. Everyone knows that. What many don’t consider is that a very large amount of wastes are breathed out of our bodies every day.
If you have difficulty with respiration, it can cause an overall decrease in elimination of wastes and make you more inflamed and toxic.
I know, it sounds crazy that something as simple as drinking a glass of milk every day or even every other day could cause someone to have lung problems and be a major driver of inflammation, but it’s actually quite common.
People with COPD long for a good deep breath. Most of them can only remember what it was like to get one. What if utilizing a simple strategy such as removing dairy from their diet could help them? What would that be worth?
Asthma and Dairy
Most people have heard that asthmatics do better on a dairy free diet. Now you understand why. Mucous production in the lungs can cause blockage of passageways that are critical for gas exchange.
For the first 44 years of my life, I had a “hacky” cough and always had mucous production. After getting off of milk and dairy, it is gone!
Since I had lived with my “hack” for my whole life, I thought it was normal. Well, it’s not. I would have argued until my dying breath that milk is good for you and that you need it.
Like I said, the “got milk” campaigns have done a really good job with their marketing. However, you don’t need milk for strong bones, etc…
Should I take Calcium?
You need adequate amounts of Vitamin D in a bioavailable form. As Americans, we get enough calcium from our diets without milk. Some people need to supplement with calcium but that is determined through laboratory testing.
Bottom line: dairy is not the best source of calcium. If you need calcium, find out the reason your calcium is low. Is your calcium low because your losing calcium from your bones and developing osteopenia or osteoporosis?
Osteopenia and osteoporosis are inflammatory driven diseases. Does that sound familiar? I’ve written and said it over and over again. All chronic inflammation leads to disease. Find the source of inflammation to make change and improve your health.
If your osteoclasts (cells that break down bone) are working overtime and breaking down bone, high serum calcium levels may be seen on blood testing. Some cancers will break down bone and raise serum calcium levels.
Other health conditions can raise calcium levels on a complete blood chemistry. It’s important to find out why someone has alterations in calcium levels so that the root cause can be addressed.
Vitamin D and Calcium Absorption
Many people will take vitamin D in order to absorb calcium better. They don’t even look at the lab test results and just make the assumption that they need vitamin D. Many people don’t need to take vitamin D.
Calcium is also an important part of the acid base buffer system in the body. Some signs of calcium deficiency are: weak and brittle nails, confusion, depression, muscle cramps, and numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.
Dairy in general, (not just milk, has been proven to damage the inner lining of most peoples’ digestive tract and gut. Dairy proteins are not easily digested and can actually “leak” out of your digestive tract and can cause an immune response.
Therefore, dairy can be a cause or contributor to Leaky Gut Syndrome. Leaky gut is a major driver of inflammation and possible contributor to disease processes.
It’s amazing to think that something as simple as milk could cause an immune response that could make you inflamed for up to 3-4 days after drinking it.
That is in fact what I am seeing with most of the Food Sensitivity Tests that we are running on patients. You may drink a glass of milk and not suffer from it for 3-4 days until it creates a delayed immune response in your body.
The delayed immune activity can lead to all types of symptoms such as a headache, diarrhea, constipation, overwhelming tiredness, inability to get a good clean breath of air, and/or many other symptoms that you never would have realized.
What are Dairy Alternatives?
I recommend finding good alternatives to milk. Water is #1. Water is H20 which is made up of 2 hydrogens and 1 oxygen for each molecule. Water carries oxygen throughout your body.It’s hard to beat water.
Flax seed milk is good as well. I especially like the brand “Good Karma” flax milk. It tastes close to cow’s milk and doesn’t have a nasty aftertaste like other flax seed milks.
I don’t recommend coconut or almond milk because most food sensitivity tests I’ve ran on my patients test positive for coconuts and almonds.
There are some vegetarian cheeses on the market that have no casein. This is a great alternative for some people because the proteins in the vegetarian cheeses tend to be more absorbible and digestible.
I hope you enjoyed this article and put this information to good use.
Health is Happiness,
Dr. Keith Currie