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Don’t Get Your Calcium From Milk

Robyn Openshaw - Sep 19, 2018 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Image of someone holding a glass of milk and grasping at their stomach, from "Top 11 Chia Health Benefits, and How I Use It Every Day" at Green Smoothie Girl

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!

In this article:

Calcium in Milk and Healthier Sources


Milk from Another Species

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.

The Diet of Dairy Cows

Cow's Milk | Don’t Get Your Calcium From Milk

Especially 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.

Milk Calcium Myths: “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!

Dairy Calcium for Bones and Joints?

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!

Increasing Health Risks in Correlation with Milk Consumption

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 for fractures, cancer, heart disease, and early death.

Why would that be?

Oxidative Stress and Milk

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

What is Oxidative Stress?

Oxidative Stress | Don’t Get Your Calcium From Milk

Oxidative 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 and rapid aging. They are also the hosts 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.

Fermented Dairy Products

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.

Inflammatory Dairy Products

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 where you pay the price over time.

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

Dr.Campbell | Milk Leaches Calcium from Bones: Study

Colin T. Campbell, Ph.D., one of the most preeminent nutrition researchers in the world, conducted the most comprehensive, longitudinal research study in history 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.

Casein and High Rates of Disease

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 is linked to high rates of disease when animal products including dairy are consumed at a rate of 20% of the diet, which is the American average.

Diets with Less Animal Protein are Superior

Diets with Less Animal Protein are Superior | Don’t Get Your Calcium From Milk

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%.)

Debunking Myths About Calcium from Animal Products

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 hormones, antibiotics, or 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.

Why Milk is Bad for You Today

Why is Milk Bad For You | Don’t Get Your Calcium From Milk

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. I 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 mucus-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.

Try Raw Goat’s Milk Instead

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.)

Decrease Mucus Problems and Allergies

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 its calcium? Answer: From green foods (and ALL the plant food groups, actually) rich in highly bioavailable calcium.

Calcium Rich Foods with Additional Nutrients

Calcium from plant sources is 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

Keep the Calcium You Have | Don’t Get Your Calcium From Milk

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 denser. 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.


Say No to Cow’s Milk

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.

How do you make sure you get enough calcium? Tell me your (non-dairy) strategies in the comments section below!

Up Next: How To Use Water Kefir Grains To Heal Your Gut


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on September 6, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

Posted in: 12 Steps To Whole Food, Whole Food

11 thoughts on “Don’t Get Your Calcium From Milk”

Leave a Comment
  1. Anneliese says:

    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.

  2. Sharlene says:

    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?

    1. kddlporter says:

      Check out Sally Fallon’s work and Johanna Budwig. There is some disinfo and partial information here which those things may balance for you.

  3. Chris says:

    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.

    1. kddlporter says:

      Don’t know about CA. But I do know that you’re right about that observation here in Ohio.

  4. kddlporter says:

    Our mothers were not conned! They just nursed their babies until ready for the milk, drinking the milk themselves to make the necessary factors found there bioavailable to their own children in turn. Of course, they had real, raw milk with all of its protective enzymes still there, & through which the benefits of grasses & grains they can digest into bioavailable forms for us through such milk. They also cultured milk to make it more easily digestible, with even more beneficial nutrients & enzymes….& were able to store dairy with all of its benefits for longer periods of time. Most people had their own cows, or at least a goat, & controlled its diet, understood its care to maintain health & good milk quality, as well as overseeing the cleanliness of the whole deal. Pasteurization came about because of the factory farms, first of all in NYC where the rum-runners were blockaded in during the War of 1812. They established dairies with terrible conditions to use up, and to get a profit off of (along with getting folks dependent upon their booze), their distillery waste & terribly nutrition depleted & filthy ‘milk’ from cows raised in deplorable conditions.
    Doctors used to culture cows milk & use it on themselves & their patients with great success, and much lower rates of side effects & accidental deaths, before the rise of big profit pharmaceuticals. ………Jerry Brunetti documented in hard copy & online how he successfully avoided chemotherapy and treated his own cancer with that sort of treatment at the turn of the millennium. ……….Historically they couldn’t get rid of the distillery dairies, so they fought to at least have the filthy, germ-ridden milk pasteurized. It wasn’t intended to target folks free access to good milk or to restrict folks free & educated choices in medical care. ………….The filthy conditions continued, and then antibiotic use was added to the mix. So now you have denatured milk without the beneficial enzymes PLUS laden with antibiotics. Folks didn’t like skimming cream, or shaking their milk, so they clamored for the convenience of homogenized milk. Now you had altered fat molecules harder for the body to utilize.
    Then came artificial hormones to raise milk production by 300%. The guys who tried to avoid it couldn’t compete. Now you had hormones in the mix, and cows getting mastitis & more antibiotics, while people began experiencing early menses, obesity, flabby feminizing etc…….and cows coming down with cancer & being sent to the slaughter house early. Still, since the milk production was so high, the shorter lifespan of the animal was accepted by the marketplace.
    Then came GMO’s altering the feed of both animals AND humans. All bets are off on the outcomes of that one. We’re only beginning to see them, and most won’t admit it even when we do.
    Family farmers also farmed differently than modern corporate farms do. Nothing went to waste & everything, & everyone, worked together to common purpose which is impossible with larger, unnatural groups of people ordered only by the drive to profit, detached from the people and the animals and the land involved. Crops and pastures were rotated, land manured rather than chemically fertilized.
    Vaccines cultured on food substances and producing inflammatory responses in peoples’ bodies also share a part in explaining why so many are lactose intolerant & the rise in allergies & food sensitivities. Not to mention the toxic substances like mercury & formaldehyde in vaccine preservatives that cause poisoning & imbalances in the body, as well as creating digestive and nutrient absorption problems.
    It’s never good when elite castes of people begin driving things, when people do not educate themselves, and science falsely so-called creeps in with philosophies of men rather than honest observable & repeatable science, forensic investigation that is blind to special interests & lays it all on the table to be considered etc.
    Though people forget, and are easily swayed in ignorance & by emotion, Jerry Brunetti’s videos on food & his fight against cancer with cultured milk, and the Weston A. Price materials on milk, healthy fats & so forth are still available —much of it freely on the web.

    1. kddlporter says:

      Now that THAT’s off my chest….I realize most can’t keep a cow….sadly. There are more things to be learned & benefited from the experience than just milk, and many deprived & dumbed down folks and children of today could benefit from the non-virtual reality of that. (The old-timers who only had one Holy Bible, and Charlotte Iserbyt told the truth folks!…..but we were just too ‘smart’ for them, God & truth) How sad the fruit of that is. …..The fact that the FDA has come in gangbusters and like the gestapo to raid Amish farmers who were milksharing with neighbors or folks trying to find access to healthy & whole milk…..can be deterring as well….being much more problematic & traumatic than making do with bad milk, or finding alternatives. Sort of like the find-something-on-anybody-and-very-convenient IRS. ….Anyways, you can still culture milk as yogurt and kefir, and recoup some of its enzymatic benefits, make it more digestible etc. There’s nothing like Johanna Budwig’s emulsified cottage cheese (or quark) and flax oil, ground flax seed for nourishing cells, maintaining health & even as an effective component of fighting metastasized cancers. And, there is nothing wrong with supplementing herbal teas & infusions for calcium although you won’t get the essential fatty acids, enzymes and many, many health benefits of real, whole milk. Oatgrass, nettle and horsetail shavegrass are especially high in calcium & cheap. You need to pour boiling water over them in a heat-proof container, cover & let them settle & soak overnight or several hours. The infusion is pleasant tasting of itself, but you could also use it for cooking, a base for making green tea with its cancerfighting nutrients ……or the herbal tea of your choice. Peppermint goes well with it & has a calcium kick of its own. Dandelion provides potassium with your calcium etc. Start a patch of peppermint about anywhere & you’ll have a never ending supply (easily dried for the winter)….spreads like crazy & hard to kill. And we all know about dandelions :-). Good project for the children.

      1. kddlporter says:

        Oh, and for mom’s worried about calcium….here’s another calcium source just learned of. Some soak pastured (free range) eggs in the shell in a jar of apple cider vinegar & take a swig of that through the day for calcium. Never could handle THAT myself…lol….let alone get the children to. And, believe me, I’m cheap, determined, can be very creative when I want to be…..and I tried. A tip from another cancer-fighter was to do the same thing, but using freshly squeezed lemon juice as the acid in making the calcium solution. Easier to palate, and both the lemon-calcium solution AND the softened egg, WITH the biotin -rich membrane still intact (rather than adhered to the typically discarded shell) can be added to your green smoothies. How’s that for a win-win? Helps your hair as well as your bones, and a plus for pregnant mommies is that it helps developing brain tissue. They may especially need that if the shock and potential meningeal inflammation of vaccines is in their future…..and to have the grey matter necessary to find ways around all the unintended consequences of our ‘conscious evolution’ crew, the builders & busy-bodies who like to focus on other peoples’ families & mandate what they do or don’t do.

        1. kddlporter says:

          And, I also live in dairy country. Never knew a farmer….not even a corporate farmer employee… allow pus & blood to pass through their milk machines & into the tanks. In most cases the lines are clear & you can see the milk flow through them. Not even those young men & women trained in a ‘vocational school’ to work on the farm his own grandfather used to own, but which was bankrupted and forced into auction to be bought up by corporations at a discount when they were ‘transferring the wealth’ and working their economic ‘transformation’ back in the ’70’s and ’80’s ….as most of them are. They’re still not that ‘virtual’ and detached from reality, too connected to the land, the animals & people——-even without owning or controlling them. They still have choice.

          1. kddlporter says:

            No protein diets lacking in enzymes, b12, complete profile essential fatty acids don’t benefit ‘the people’…..OR make better use of the land & resources: they benefit classes of people wanting to create & control a weakened, more subservient, & easily controlled serf class that is still ‘useful’ as a commodity and as capital. It also helps if they can lower their intellect, their procreative ability & birthrate. Substituting picture & video for literacy, and destroying math & ciphering ability helps, too. …..You can more easily sort out and eliminate the ‘resisters’, while promoting those willing to sell out to the system for advancement.
            Fascist scientists used to discuss & ‘experiment’ with these things, just as the communist elites and managers did & do. Our own dear government imported a few of those folks with Project Paperclip and the Ratlines. Both socialist with managing elite classes building pyramidal societies. Care to guess who gets in on that biggest, bottom level?
            Don’t forget: Slave owners developed diets of breadfruit because they kept slaves alive, but so weak the fears of rebellion were lessened.
            Did I mention that I don’t buy the ‘China Study’? Doesn’t fit reality and real history. Read old books. Whole books. Not just textbook clips. There is a reason third world societies lag behind & its cultural mores & societal structures, supporting tyrants, & corrupt & wicked systems rather than educating people to freedom.

  5. L C says:

    I so very much wish real food bloggers/authors would always give info on raw, exclusively grass fed dairy. It’s dishonest to not give it a fair chance and say ” we’re the only species who drinks another species milk and it’s so stupid”, especially when they go on to say they use another species milk, goats in this case.
    God told the children of Israel He was taking them to a land flowing with milk and honey. And for all the studies saying dairy causes mucous, there are plenty debunking that as well, google it. We as a family of 8 have always had raw, fresh grass fed cows milk and my kids are very healthy, very few colds/allergies, and honestly raw milk is VERY soothing to their sore throats, upset tummies etc.
    I had estrogen dominance, severe migraines, NO energy, terrible Pam for 5 years before changing all dairy/animal products to grass fed etc and now it is completely reversed! So say what you want, but my experience outweighs everything said.

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