Don’t Get Your Calcium From Milk

Young woman refusing to drink milk

One of the most powerful industries in America is the dairy industry, earning over $50 billion and spending over $200 million annually to spread the lie that dairy products are necessary for human children’s health.

They’re smart enough to target mothers (and they started, very successfully, with our grandmothers), because parents can create habits for life if a child is drinking cow’s milk at an early age.

So, while for many this will be a revelation, it shouldn’t be: our mothers and grandmothers were conned!

The idea that the milk of another species is an appropriate and necessary source of calcium is a serious thinking error that has led to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and autoimmune disease in epic numbers.

Don't get your calcium from milk--picture of a cow milking facilityEspecially when you consider the atrocious diet our dairy cows are fed, the steroids and hormones and antibiotics they’re given, the lack of exercise they get in their pens, and the blood and pus that comes out in the milk that you then serve your child.

Milk is not a solution for getting your calcium.

Myth: “Milk and dairy build strong bones.”

Ask yourself why the U.S. consumes more than double the amount of milk and dairy than the #2 milk-drinking country—and yet has one of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world. The other highest dairy-consuming countries, in Scandinavia, are also among the highest for osteoporosis!

A recent set of long-term studies by a group of osteoporosis researchers shows that not only does dairy intake correlate with higher fracture rates, it is also associated with higher mortality rates!

The studies, following over 100,000 men and women for up to 20 years, showed that each additional glass of milk correlated with more risk they were for fractures, cancer, heart disease, and early death.

Why would that be?

Milk and Oxidative Stress

The researchers also found that the more glasses of milk people drank, the higher they scored for a biological stress marker called oxidative stress.

A Cell With Oxidative StressOxidative stress is when the number of free radicals overwhelms the number of antioxidants in your body.

Free radicals damage DNA and cell structures, leading to inflammation, rapid aging, and a host of degenerative physical and neurological diseases.

Milk-induced oxidative stress might also explain some of the other studies that associate dairy intake with other conditions, like acne and allergies.

Interestingly, the study found that fermented dairy products, like yogurt, did not correlate with oxidative stress–in fact, fermented dairy products had the opposite effect.

Fermentation consumes milk sugars like galactose and lactose–two of the suspects for oxidative stress–and produces health-protective probiotics, which may be the reason for the difference.

An important conclusion, overall, then, is that cow’s milk and most dairy products are highly inflammatory foods.

Milk, Casein, and Disease

Animal proteins, including casein (the protein in milk), are acid-forming in the body.  One of the body’s coping mechanisms to deal with acidity is to pull minerals (such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium) from resources like bones, to neutralize the acidity. The blood must maintain a precise pH, or you die–so it robs minerals from bones and tissues, and that’s where you pay the price over time.

Drinking milk, then, can result in a net loss of calcium and other minerals!

Colin T. Campbell, PhD, one of the most preeminent nutrition researchers in the world, conducted the most comprehensive, longitudinal research study in history (still ongoing) known as the Oxford-Cornell China Project. Published in 2004, The China Study examined dietary habits and disease rates in 6,500 adults in China over almost 30 years.

Campbell started with animal studies duplicated by other researchers all over the world and progressed to his enormous human population. The researchers documented massive evidence that casein (the protein in milk) is linked to high rates of disease when animal products including dairy are consumed at a rate of 20 percent of the diet, which is the American average.

He documents very low rates of those same diseases in subjects eating only 5% or less animal protein. Eight thousand statistically significant correlations resulted from this study. (“Statistically significant” means the likelihood the finding is due to chance is less than 5 percent.)

These findings definitively decimate American mothers’ nutrition beliefs that feeding their children dairy products will build strong bones and good health.

Modern mothers are wising up and feeding their children nuts, seeds, and greens, for highly bioavailable forms of calcium, and letting their children out in the sun. Because Vitamin D (the best source is the sun) and good sources of calcium make strong bones–not hormone-, antibiotic- and steroid-laced American dairy products.

Milk and Allergies

Cow milk’s large fat molecule is acid- and mucus-forming in humans; thus we are all “lactose intolerant” to one degree or another.

Our grandparents, with their strong genetics, withstood it well. Unfortunately, our own children with three generations of weakened genetics on a processed-food diet, are not faring so well.

Every time I see a child with green snot running from his nose, I wish I could in some socially acceptable way beg his mother to get her child off cow’s milk.

Don’t Get Your Calcium From Milk--a young boy reacting badly to milkI learned this the hard way, having weaned my own first child from breast milk to cow’s milk, at the pediatrician’s recommendation, only to see his excellent health destroyed. We were in and out of doctor’s offices and emergency rooms, on drugs ranging from bronchodilators to steroids to antibiotics, before I decided to try getting my little son off dairy and sugar, the mucous-forming foods. That was the end of a year of terror and drugs and Failure to Thrive. Getting him off those foods changed his life, and led to him regaining his weight and his health.

I never fed any of my next three children any dairy products. I did buy raw goat milk, and made it into kefir. Goat milk has a smaller fat molecule, some compounds similar to human breast milk, and when I fermented it as kefir and made it our daily breakfast, my children never got sick again. (Note: getting raw goat milk requires some “pounding the pavement” in your community, and I believe one reason this food was very nutritious for my small children is that the goats were untreated with steroids and hormones.)

I have counseled willing mothers about this many times, and every time the mothers reported that the mucous problems disappeared or decreased as they eliminated dairy products. Related asthma and allergies dramatically decreased as well.

How Should You Get Enough Calcium?

Logic begs the question: where does the cow get HER calcium? She gets it from green foods (and ALL the plant food groups, actually)—rich in highly bioavailable calcium.

Calcium from plant sources are 50-60% bioavailable to humans, compared to cow milk bioavailability of about 30%.

Whole foods like greens, veggies, fruits, legumes, and nuts and seeds all have calcium, plus the micronutrients like magnesium, zinc, and vitamins A and D to help absorb it.

Keep the Calcium You Have

Don’t lose the calcium you’re eating in plant foods, by doing things that decrease it! Keep your bones strong, with these habits:

  • Get some sun: Vitamin D is a big factor in absorbing calcium.
  • Exercise: Exercises that put weight and stress on your bones make them more dense.  Running, jumping, dancing, climbing stairs, and weightlifting are all good weight-bearing, bone-building exercises.
  • Avoid salt: Salt leaches calcium from your body, and your bones are the biggest calcium stores to draw from.  If you do eat salt, eat it minimally, and make sure it’s only unrefined sea salt, not toxic table salt.
  • Avoid animal proteins: Animal proteins, as we’ve already discussed, leach calcium from bones by creating an acidic environment.
  • Stop Smoking: Several studies have shown smoking to be correlated with rapid bone density loss and osteoporosis.
  • Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol interferes with calcium absorption and bone density on many fronts, including decreasing hormone production, increasing cortisol formation, and blocking Vitamin D.

Cow’s milk is the perfect food for baby cows.  But the evidence is against it being a good source of calcium (or anything else) for humans.

Learn WHY and HOW to eat more whole foods in my FREE VIDEO MASTERCLASS going on right now.  It’s your shortcut to my best tips, getting to the bottom of the controversies, and learning to eat more of the world’s healthiest foods.

33 thoughts on “Don’t Get Your Calcium From Milk

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  1. You mention blood and puss in milk. My highschooler recently toured a standard dairy farm here in CA. I told him to ask about the blood in milk, and the response he was given was this.
    Yes, occasionally there is blood or puss in the milk, and when it happens THE MILK IS DUMPED and the cow is put into quarantine until she is healthy.
    I do not like milk, and we dont’ drink it as a family. I’m not trying to argue a point, and maybe there are a few farms out there that don’t do things correctly, but I believe there are more farms out there doing them the correct way, when it comes to this issue.

  2. What about raw milk and raw kefir that’s grass fed? My family is consuming both of those things… is it still leeching calcium from our bones?

  3. My problem is that giving up straight milk isn’t that hard, but I love ice cream, yogurt, and cheese (or stuff with cheese on it). I recently tried going completely dairy free for 3 weeks and didn’t experience and significant improvement (other than a little less acne), but I was constantly craving ice cream and cheese! I work at a frozen custard shop and we serve sorbet, but nothing (even some of the best coconut ice creams) can match the glorious taste of creamy, milky ice cream. Any suggestions? I guess you could say that I’m a dairy-holic that wants to live a healthy lifestyle and do what’s best for my body, but at the same time be able to enjoy things like ice cream and cheese without constantly feeling guilty for indulging.

  4. Ever since I was a kid I disliked milk. I used to have mine on the rocks. It meant less milk and watered it down. I also wondered why we were the only mammal that fed other mammal’s milk to our young, yuck! It always seemed so unnatural to me. And as an adult the both casien and whey, not lactose have given me many problems. Though I don’t drink milk I ate yogurt, cheese and ice cream. Not so much anymore.

  5. Thanks for getting this truth, (sad but so true) out there. We need raw, organic dairy because of the CLA’s in it. But regular dairy is largely sugar and other things that harm us. I have been trying to educate people on this but the brain washing is deep!!

  6. “Toxic table salt?” Table salt is mined from salt deposits from ancient seas! Ancient seas that didn’t have all of the runoff and sewage from major cities in it as well as decades of fertilizers washing down our streams and ending up in the sea. Obviously those things are a drop in the bucket but the sea salt that some people reverence is all obtained from the coasts where the bad stuff is more concentrated. Salt that is mined… free of additives… can actually be tiny bit better than modern-day sea salt.

    1. Table salt is how you refer to refined salt. You seem to be referring to sea salt, with all 84 minerals intact etc. different things

    1. Carla, There is a new non dairy ice cream that is BETTER than any ice cream on the market (dairy or non-dairy). It’s called NadaMoo! – trust me…try it. Everyone’s favorite flavor right now is “Birthday cake”. If you have a Sprouts near you, they tend to carry it, or check NadaMoo!’s website for a store locator. No, I do not work for them, just their biggest fan! I have tried ALL the non-dairy since I am 100% plant based, and it is truly the only one I like!

    2. My favorite brand is SoDelicious. It is dairy free. It was hard for me to find a brand that also did not have soy in it. They do make products using soy but they keep them separate. The other two ingredients they use to make non-dairy products is coconut and almond and YUM! It seems to be expensive for the little amount you get, but you eat less of it because it is rich and did I say YUM???? I use their almond milk for my cereal/oatmeal. Their creamer for my coffee and I hide the ice cream from the rest of my family! They are all on to me now, so it is a regular riot at my home come dessert time! I tried making my own ice cream but it was expensive especially when you have so many people liking different flavors. Now this brand is a staples at my house. No I don’t own stock in their company – wish I did! It was hard to find a store that kept it in stock but if you go to their website you can search where they have merchants. Here is their website:

  7. Thanks for sharing this Robyn. I too learned early that milk is not beneficial for my children. I too fight the urge to tell every mother who has a child with constant runny nose and recurrent ear infections to eliminate dairy.
    I wonder if you think there is truth to what jenniferny says. I’ve seen many nutrition experts make the same claim. Raw milk was not available for us, so I cannot comment on that.
    Do you know if The China Study was conducted with animals raised by US poor standards? Do you think the findings would be different if they ran it to compare with organic- grass fed- pasture raised- animal products?

    I wish doctors would encourage moms to give their kids green smoothies. They’d be so much healthier. Thank you for sharing your research.

  8. I read an article that too much calcium can cause plaque in your arteries if you have too much, which is what is usually prescribed (calcium supplements) to those who are getting older and having bone loss. The article also talks about a mineral called Strontium that can help build strong bones. Could you verify this Dr. Janet Lund recommendation for less calcium and getting calcium from the foods you eat (like you mention) and taking Strontium to build strong bones. She Wrote the Calcium Hoax. Thank you. I trust your judgment and know you do a lot of research for your recommendations. Calcium and strong bones is a big issue and if it affects your heart, that’s a even bigger issue. Thanks for your consideration.

    1. Virtually ALL Organic Milk sold in stores, whether labeled as Ultra-Pasteurized or not, has been ULTRA-PASTEURIZED and has NO nutritional value!!
      Organic Milk sells slower than regular milk.
      Without the Ultra-Pasteurization most Organic Milk sold in stores would go bad before being sold.

  9. Articles such as this one need to specify that they are speaking about the milk sold in stores that is either pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized, and NOT Raw Milk.

    There is a HUGE difference between Pasteurized Milk and Ultra-Pasteurized Milk & Raw Milk!!

    Virtually every article that I see on milk is referring to the white liquid that is sold in stores, which has been either pasteurized or ultra pasteurized. .

    Pasteurizing the milk like this destroys ALL of the enzymes, many if not most of the vitamins and also changes the calcium to a substance NOT usable by the body. .

    Ultra-Pasteurizing the milk destroys EVERYTHING in the milk that is good!!!!! .

    Raw Milk from an organic farm that pastures their cows and practices proper sanitation is a COMPLETELY different thing that the white liquid from commercially raised and fed cows that is sold in stores!!!!!! .

    Raw Milk from these cows retains ALL of the enzymes and vitamins and the calcium is in its natural highly absorbable and bio-available form!!!!!

    1. A really good long term study on Raw, vs Pasteurized, vs Canned Milk study is
      POTTENGERS CATS: A STUDY IN NUTRITION by Francis Marion Pottenger Jr. MD.

      It is an afternoon read, and will truly open your eyes about virtually all of the milk sold in stores today.

      As a side note to milk, virtually ALL juices that are sold in stores have been either Pasteurized or Ultra-Pasteurized and are as nutritionally dead as milk!!!!!

      If you expect nutrition from milk you MUST buy it from an Organic Farm that you trust in it raw form.

      If you expect nutrition from juice you MUST squeeze/press it yourself in your home!!

    2. A fairly easy way to tell if the milk you are buying is Pasteurized or Ultra-Pasteurized is to look at the code dating.
      If it is longer that 7-10 days it HAS BEEN Ultra-Pasteurized!!!

    3. Raw milk from a cow is the best nourishment for newly born calves – everyone agrees on that! However, cow milk is an unbalanced protein source for any human – young or old. Plus cow milk contains FOUR TIMES more Calcium than Human breast milk… this high percentage of Calcium is needed by a calf to build strong bones so that it can stand and walk within a day or so of being born … is that a clue? Human mothers via BIG FOOD advertising and Doctor’s guidance are being encouraged to feed their toddlers with highly processed Formula powder … UUUGGHHH!, then force feed children in their early years with cow milk – totally the wrong stuff to nourish any human with. Concerned about your health? Time to get real! The London Health Centre (London, England).

      1. Dr Mike Grant, do you eat meat??
        Humans WERE NOT designed to eat meat either, but we do.

        Carnivore, Omnivore, Herbivore and Human teeth.

        Looking at this picture, It is very obvious what humans are.

        No, humans were not designed to drink cows milk, but we were not designed to eat meat either, or cook our food. But today most people do.

        To take that one step further, humans WERE NOT designed to eat processed food, but we do even though processed foods are the cause of virtually ALL chronic illness in humans and pets today. YES, commercial dog food.and commercial cat food are processed foods too.
        Processed food is nutrient dead food!!!
        Eating processed food is the basic equivalent to eating McDonalds every day.

        In Genesis 1: 29-30 God told us (humans) what we were to eat:
        Genesis 1:29-30 New International Version (NIV)

        29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
        30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

        Jordan Rubin had severe, debilitating Crohns Disease. He tried everything that conventional medicine had to offer and it was worthless. He switched to The Makers Diet, as outlined in Genesis 1, 29-30 and was completely healed.
        You can read his story in : THE MAKERS DIET, by Jordan Rubin.

        I have been drinking Raw Cows Milk and Raw Cows Milk Kefir for many, many years. Unlike virtually every other person my age ( I am considered a senior citizen) that I know, I take NO prescription medications and I also rarely get sick, in fact I do not even have a doctor because I have not needed one in many, many years!! This tells me that I AM doing something right!!

        With the state of food in this country today, there are FAR FAR worse things in the Standard American Diet than drinking Raw Cows Milk from an Organic Farm that practices proper sanitation.

        I have read several testimonials from people who, when they were young, injured their esophagus and were unable to eat any solid food. At the time of their testimonials that had been living exclusively on Raw Cows milk, one for 40 years and still going, the other 50 years and still going.

        While it is not an ideal food for a human, and as I previously stated, there are FAR FAR worse things in the Standard American Diet than Raw Cows Milk from an Organic Farm that practices proper sanitation.

  10. My mother drank a ton of milk & died of pancreatic cancer. I will forever think milk was the reason. My husband has a cousin to Lupus disease & we used to eat a ton of cheese & sour cream etc..they just published a finding cheese is linked to auto immune diseases.

  11. I have never drank milk and do believe that cows milk is meant to bring an 85 pound calf up to 600 pounds in a year and should never be in our food supply. I have no problems with butter, cheese or yogurt.
    We have a cow/calf operation now and had a dairy herd in the past.
    I wish people actually understood what goes on at the farm instead of listening to everyone else.
    Our cows are pasture raised, not penned up. We DO NOT give our animals antibiotics unless they NEED it for medical reasons. The animal or milk is then kept from being used for meat or dairy until the antibiotic is out of their system.
    Blood and pus is only in the milk right after a calf is born and for a short period of time. No farmer puts that into the bulk tank or it would contaminate the rest of the milk in the tank. It will NEVER reach the consumer’s hands because ALL milk is tested before it goes in the tanker truck and is either accepted or rejected.
    I do hate the government mandate that all calves sold must be inoculated, we have no choice.
    We do not inoculate the animal we personally eat.
    I can not say what happens on a factory farm, but please stop painting us all with the same brush. Our cows are well treated, fed well and free to roam.

  12. Eight thousand statistically significant correlations at 5% probability of chance error means that 400 of these are erroneous findings. The number of comparisons chosen makes me skeptical of the quality of research design.

    1. I’m concerned that you may be missing the point that over 7500 of those findings are NOT by chance but because of a long term study originally inspired by the dairy industry who quickly tried to debunk the findings…if people found out the results would be devastating for this 50 billion dollar industry. Do you remember when milk advertisements used to say milk builds strong bones? Well they got in trouble for false advertising and had to take it off the air. Now they make no such claims except to say “got milk?” There is much evidence that supports the findings that cows milk is mucus forming and that many young children are actually allergic to it. Sometimes we as consumers need to look at evidence instead of advertisements to determine whether or not to consume a product. What large scale independent studies have you found that would support the idea that cows milk is good for you?

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