nutritionists attempt to warn new parents off feeding their toddlers and
children cow's milk because they consider it to be the source of the most
common allergens. It's also a highly polluted foodstuff, as it is
adulterated by all the chemicals, including hormones, to which milk-industry
cows are now exposed.
Nevertheless, the received wisdom is that milk's allergenic potential has
mostly to do with the adulteration of milk through homogenization or
However, new evidence reveals that the danger is inherent in milk
itself-even the purest of raw milks-and that the inherent indigestibility of
certain components in milk could be behind serious mental disorders.
A new book, called The Devil in the Milk by Dr Kevin Woodford, claims that
beta-casein, one of the proteins in milk from certain breeds of cows, can
cause a wide variety of illnesses-from heart disease to autism and
According to Woodford, some 5000 years ago, proline, an amino acid present
in bovine milk, underwent a mutation that converted it into histadine, also
known as beta-casomorphin-7 (B-CM7).
Although the older breeds of cows-Guernseys, Jerseys, African and Asians,
also known as 'A2 cows'-produce milk that still contains proline, the milk
of recent breeds such as Holsteins and Friesians, or 'A1 cows', which
constitute virtually all dairy cows in the US, contains B-CM7.
B-CM7, which is a thousand times more narcotic than the beta-casein protein
of human milk, acts as a powerful opiate in humans. Consuming this amino
acid can cause devastating illness, even when taken in raw, unadulterated
It is milk with this amino acid that leads to a host of autoimmune
disorders-including type 1 diabetes, where the body destroys its own
insulin-producing cells-that usually arise during childhood or early
adult-hood. Woodford also believes that the A1 beta-casein triggers an
inflammatory response in blood vessels, interferes with the immune system
and causes excess mucus production.
Most concerning, however, is the mounting evidence that these milk products
may even be a major factor behind the neurological impairment in babies and
children that leads to autism and schizophrenia.
Although B-CM7 ordinarily cannot pass through the intestinal walls, in
babies and young children, the gut wall is more permeable to allow for the
digestion of human milk and colostrum. This means that, in babies fed on a
diet of cow's milk or milk formula, or in those who have intestinal damage
or a 'leaky' gut, these protein molecules will easily pass through the
blood-brain barrier, causing strong opiate effects.
In fact, this was exactly the theory proposed by Dr Andrew Wakefield, who
claimed that the MMR vaccine causes damage to the gut, leaving it
susceptible to the incomplete breakdown and excessive absorption of peptides
that have opioid actions-such as proteins from milk and gluten. Indeed,
biochemical evidence has demonstrated increases in the levels of peptides in
people with autism (Autism, 1999; 3: 45-65).
An animal study using rats showed that just 65 seconds after being dosed
with B-CM7, the animals became restless and ran around agitatedly. A few
minutes later, the rats became inactive and antisocial, distancing
themselves from the other rats in their cage while sitting with their heads
against the cage bars, before becoming hyperdefensive (Autism, 1999; 3:
Although the findings from animal studies may not necessarily apply to
humans, a clinical study found high levels of antibodies to bovine casein in
90 per cent of autistic and 93 per cent of schizophrenic patients. In
addition, when put on a gluten- and casein-free diet, 81 per cent of
autistic children showed improvements in most behav-ioural categories within
three months (Nutr Neurosci, 2000; 3: 57-72).
Furthermore, a Norwegian study of children with autism also found increases
in opioid peptides, which have effects on brain maturation, as reported by
K. Reichelt and A.M. Knivsberg at the 12th Defeat Autism Now! Conference,
October 3-5, 2003, in Portland, OR, while an American study found that the
blood-brain barrier in autistic children is more permeable to many peptides,
including those found in milk (J Neuroimmunol, 2002; 129: 168-77).
How to avoid A1 milk products
Although Woodford doesn't know whether B-CM7 in cheese, yoghurt or ice cream
can cause the same reactions, it may be more prudent to stick to French
cheese or milk products, as the French, who rejected A1 cows, have only A2
breeds. In the US, you may wish to obtain your dairy products from the
single A2 dairy farm located in Firth, Nebraska. Alternatively, ask your
local dairies to follow the lead of New Zealand farmers, who have
inseminated their cows with semen from A2 bulls, which means that the
resulting calves will produce only A2 milk.
Although people with normal digestion don't absorb as much B-CM7 as do those
whose gut is compromised, one simple way to avoid this completely is to
consume only goat's or sheep's milk products, which do not contain the
Vol. 20 06 September 2009