Children who drink raw milk rather than pasteurized milk are less likely to develop asthma and allergies, according to a new, landmark six-year study by researchers at Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany.
The study says the pasteurization destroys beneficial ingredients, including Omega 3 – which researchers believe could hold the key.
“Fresh, unprocessed cow’s milk has a higher content of Omega 3 than does pasteurized, homogenized [where it’s treated to stop the cream separating] or low-fat milk. This factor partly explains why children who consume the unprocessed product are less likely to develop asthma,” immunologist Tabea Brick, one of the study’s authors, wrote in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Pasteurization, Brick said, lowers the level of Omega 3 fatty acids in dairy products. Omega 3 reduces the level of harmful inflammation, one of the main causes of asthma, allergies and other health problems. The body does not produce Omega 3 fatty acids. The study was reported in the Daily Mail.
The German study of 1,100 children was the first large-scale effort to determine a link between pasteurized milk and asthma. Earlier studies involved much smaller numbers of test subjects.
Scientists are particularly interested in this study because it followed the children for six years.
Brick and her colleagues believe that the benefits of drinking raw milk  could outweigh the risk of getting sick from bacteria in the product, although they stopped short of recommending raw milk, the Daily Mail reported.
The study is but the latest one to show the benefits of raw milk. For example:
- Pharmacologists discovered that pasteurization cut the level of natural vitamin D in milk by up to 20 percent, The International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
- A report in the British Medical Journal noted that pasteurization kills beneficial bacteria that boost the digestive system’s ability to absorb nutrients.
- The pasteurization kills vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting and bone health.
- Babies born to mothers that drink raw milk while pregnant were less likely to suffer asthma and allergies during childhood, a German study published in Current Opinion in Gastroenterology
Despite conventional wisdom, pasteurization  only became common after World War II. As recently as the 1920s, only a little over 1 percent of the milk sold in the United Kingdom was pasteurized.
In the US, raw milk sales are allowed in at least 29 states.
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