The theory that diabetes is caused by a too early exposure to cow's milk usually as a substitute for breast milk has been supported with a scientific explanation as to why it might happen.
Scientists have discovered that the beta casein in cow's milk can trigger an immune response which may, in turn, cross react with an antigen to cause an allergic reaction.
They tested for antigen levels in 47 patients who had recently developed insulin dependent diabetes, and compared them with 36 healthy people. Twenty four diabetics tested positive for beta casein, against just one in the healthy group, and there were no significant differences in other antigen levels.
These findings, by researchers at the University of Rome and St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, give scientific credence to the "cow's milk hypothesis", as it is known. Several population studies have indicated that the risk of diabetes when exposed to cow's milk in the first few months of life increases one and a half times. This seems a low risk level if the latest findings are right. As all the best research papers say, more research is needed and urgently (The Lancet, 1996; 348: 926-8).
A link between cow's milk and multiple sclerosis (MS) has been suggested by Michel Odent and his Primal Health Research Centre. Early consumption of cow's milk protein is a risk factor, he believes, while research from as long ago as 1974 indicated that cow's milk was the major determinant of MS. Dr Odent also quotes the work of Professor Roy Zwank from Portland, Oregon, who has noted that MS sufferers who consume less than 15 g of saturated fatty acids a day have no relapse.
For more information on diabetes, see WDDTY vol 3, no 7 and vol 5, no 9.
!APrimal Health Research 1996; 4: 1-2.