Organic Whole Milk – The Whole Story

An article in PLOS | One (Organic Production Enhances Milk Nutritional Quality by Shifting Fatty Acid Composition, a United States-wide 18 month study) reports the benefits of organic milk.

Investigators from Washington State University found that organic milk contains 25 percent less Omega-6 and 62 percent more Omega-3 over that produced conventionally. Alpha linolenic acid, the most important vegetable source of Omega-3 constituted 60 percent of the total fat content. Comparing organic milk to conventional milk using the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 the researchers found a value of 2.28 for the organic and 5.77 for conventional milk, a 2.5 fold difference favoring organic milk.

cow grazingOrganic milk production entails grazing cows that consume grass while conventional milk is produced using corn feed with the cows often being barn-raised or confined. We now know that it is the grass consumption that provides the Omega-3 and the higher fat content in whole milk over skim provides the highest quantity of omega-3 of all.

Over recent decades the consumption of milk has fallen in the U.S.  This has been driven in part by pediatricians’ recommendations that children be converted to nonfat milk, as they grow older. Concerns regarding dietary fat intake and obesity led many to eschew whole milk in favor of low or non-fat alternatives, yet the data supporting these restrictions is far from established. Indeed one study in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, 2013, found that children ages 2 to 4 who consumed 1 percent milk actually gained more weight not less.

Many readers are familiar with omega-3 fatty acids as constituents of fish. Salmon_FishThe fattiest fish, salmon and sardines, have the highest omega-3 content. The term omega-3 refers to three types of fats commonly found in the diet among them ALA (alpha linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

While EPA and DHA are found mostly in fish, ALA is the principal vegetable source of Omega-3. These are all distinct from the omega-6 fatty acids such as linoleic acid and arachidonic acid. As arachidonic acid is a precursor to prostaglandin synthesis, there has long been concern that Omega-6 consumption might contribute to inflammation but even this has not been fully borne out in the literature.

As with nut consumption, the subject of an earlier blog, we may need to re-evaluate many long held beliefs regarding dietary health and well-being. Mankind evolved in an environment devoid of foodstuffs that today we take for granted, among them ready sources of grains and many fruits. Our bodies are designed to consume and metabolize lipids.
ALA, EPA and DHA are essential fatty acids that must be consumed in the diet. Have we deprived ourselves of the health benefits of these foodstuffs ill advisedly? Whole milk consumption is now rising faster than other dairy product. Perhaps the public at large have decided that the “bloom is off the rose” for low fat goods.

About Dr. Robert A. Nagourney
Dr. Nagourney received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Boston University and his doctor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal, where he was a University Scholar. After a residency in internal medicine at the University of California, Irvine, he went on to complete fellowship training in medical oncology at Georgetown University, as well as in hematology at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla. During his fellowship at Georgetown University, Dr. Nagourney confronted aggressive malignancies for which the standard therapies remained mostly ineffective. No matter what he did, all of his patients died. While he found this “standard of care” to be unacceptable, it inspired him to return to the laboratory where he eventually developed “personalized cancer therapy.” In 1986, Dr. Nagourney, along with colleague Larry Weisenthal, MD, PhD, received a Phase I grant from a federally funded program and launched Oncotech, Inc. They began conducting experiments to prove that human tumors resistant to chemotherapeutics could be re-sensitized by pre-incubation with calcium channel blockers, glutathione depletors and protein kinase C inhibitors. The original research was a success. Oncotech grew with financial backing from investors who ultimately changed the direction of the company’s research. The changes proved untenable to Dr. Nagourney and in 1991, he left the company he co-founded. He then returned to the laboratory, and developed the Ex-vivo Analysis - Programmed Cell Death ® (EVA-PCD) test to identify the treatments that would induce programmed cell death, or “apoptosis.” He soon took a position as Director of Experimental Therapeutics at the Cancer Institute of Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. His primary research project during this time was chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He remained in this position until the basic research program funding was cut, at which time he founded Rational Therapeutics in 1995. It is here where the EVA-PCD test is used to identity the drug, combinations of drugs or targeted therapies that will kill a patient's tumor - thus providing patients with truly personalized cancer treatment plans. With the desire to change how cancer care is delivered, he became Medical Director of the Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Memorial in 2003. In 2008, he returned to Rational Therapeutics full time to rededicate his time and expertise to expand the research opportunities available through the laboratory. He is a frequently invited lecturer for numerous professional organizations and universities, and has served as a reviewer and on the editorial boards of several journals including Clinical Cancer Research, British Journal of Cancer, Gynecologic Oncology, Cancer Research and the Journal of Medicinal Food.

2 Responses to Organic Whole Milk – The Whole Story

  1. Gary Dobbins says:

    Now your talkin

  2. hphblog1 says:

    Reblogged this on Hope Practiced Here and commented:
    Food (or drink!) for thought ….

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