Blog Directory - Blogged foodliterate: Organically Speaking - Part 4

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Organically Speaking - Part 4

Last week I explained what rBST is, how it is made and why it is used. I promised this week to discuss some of the purported issues surrounding its use. I'm sure there will be something I've not covered, but here is what I know is being said about rBST.

rBST causes endocrine issues like the premature onset of puberty. The reality - BST was tested on humans in the 1950's as a treatment for dwarfism; it was shot directly into test subjects pituitary gland and showed absolutely no effects. Later the scientists determined that somatotropins are species specific and the human body doesn't recognize BST. Since rBST is identical to BST, there is pretty little doubt that it won't cause your endocrine system to go haywire.

rBST causes cancer, especially prostate cancer. A test performed on rats appeared to show a dose-related increase in mild inflammation of the prostate. Besides the fact that inflammation of the prostate is not related to cancer formation, there was also no difference in results between the positive and negative control groups. If any prostate changes were due to the rBST, there should have been significant differences in the two groups.

rBST causes thyroid cysts. Again with the rats - poor guys. Both the positive and negative control groups got thyroid cysts, no neither the frequency or severity of the cysts were attributable to the rBST.

rBST causes an increase in IGF-I (insulin-like growth factor I) levels. For starters, IGF-I is naturally found in humans as well as cows and isn't intrinsically harmful. Secondly, the amount consumed in milk (even that from cows treated with rBST) is less that is produced daily by our own bodies. In fact, what we swallow in our own saliva daily equals to the IGF-I found in 23.75 gallons of milk and what we produce naturally daily equals the amount found in 750 gallons of milk. None the less, early studies showed an increase in the IGF-I concentration in milk from cows treated with rBST. Those levels were determined to be less than the IGF levels that can be observed during a normal lactation cycle and also less than the observable variation in milk from both rBST and non-rBST treated cows.

rSBT is banned from use in Canada and the EU. True, but neither of those entities has said it was because of health concerns. Both Canada and the EU tightly regulate/subsidize their milk markets and don't want the extra production.

BST and rBST are just proteins, digested like any other that enter our digestive system. All milk contains BST and over 120 studies have been run & evaluated by the FDA, AMA, NIH, DHHS, etc. As always, if you prefer to buy milk that is collected from non-rBST treated cows - no problem. If you've just been scared by the news media and weren't sure what you should do - hopefully I've helped you out.

Well, I'm on vacation next week and celebrating my birthday, so that means no post next week. I promise to be back the beginning of June, so come back to see what I'm talking about!!

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