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Is Milk Affecting Your Fertility?

Other than the few who are lactose intolerant, we pretty much all drink milk. For years and years, I drank only skim. Anything thicker just made me gag. Plus it’s what the doctors, and heads of all medical communities, recommend that everyone over the age of two drink. It’s been touted as a way to keep our weight down while still providing us the necessary nutrients, like calcium.

But is it having an effect on our fertility?
The problem is, it seems our bodies need fat in order to maintain our cellular structure. And removing the fat from milk has actually been shown to cause an imbalance of hormones throughout the body, causing a failure to ovulate or produce a healthy egg. In a recent study, scientists found that women who ate full fat dairy were found to have a 27% lower risk of infertility. Women who ate low fat milk products twice a day were found to be twice as likely to not ovulate. This study shows that eating healthy fats, as are in milk, is helpful in reproduction. And we’re not talking about going out and eating whatever we want, or stuffing ourselves with cake and cookies. We’re talking about supplying our body with healthy fats. Natural, God given fats, not the ones we humans make ourselves.

The problem with milk today
Cows now produce about 20 times more than what is needed to sustain a growing calf. Yet, this over abundance of milk contains only the same amount of vitamins and minerals, meaning our milk is diluted of nourishment. And I’ve also heard that up to 40% of our milk supply comes from cows that have infections in the udders, called mastitis, and this milk is used for the public.  And to counteract the infection, they are routinely given antibiotics. These may antibiotics eventually make their way into the milk as well, though of course it’s only a small percentage of what the cow was given. To make matter worse, much of the milk in stores (and thankfully this is changing!) comes from cows that have been treated with a recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBST). This hormone seems to be linked to early puberty in girls as well as causing hormone imbalances in older women.

So what should we be drinking?
If you would have told me two years ago that I’d be buying only raw whole milk, I would have told you that you were off your rocker! But since my son had a horrible time with digesting pasteurized cows milk, I’ve changed my mind. Exactly two years ago I spent a lot of time researching raw milk as I was afraid of any germs and bacteria in it. I’ve come to the conclusion that not only is raw milk healthier for us, but it can effect our fertility.
The problem with pasteurized milk is that during the heating process, it loses much of it’s beneficial nutrients, nutrients that are already diluted. Most unfortunate for those suffering infertility is the loss of vitamin B in the milk.

A study done in 1934, published in the Journal of Dairy Science, (back when they were first fighting to keep raw milk) showed a loss of 38% of the B complex vitamins. Another study done as a masters thesis at the University of Georgia in 1979 showed a 34.4% loss of vitamin B6, a 33.8% loss of thiamin (B1), and a 24.1% loss of folic acid. These losses were due just to heating the milk.(source)

Another study was done (didn’t write the year-sorry!) on rats fed either raw or pasteurized milk. It was shown that the heated milk was not capable of supporting the reproductive systems in these animals. Two female rats were fed a diet of sterilized milk for approximately 8 months. During this time they were each mated 15 times to male rats that had either been fed a raw milk or sterilized milk diet. No pregnancies were shown on any of these 15 occasions. Once a female was switched to a raw milk diet for 11 weeks, she was able to get pregnant when mated with a male, also from the raw milk group. (source)

And finally, as a very unscientific study, the farmer I receive my raw milk from has many stories of her own. One being goat milk fed to orphaned puppies. A woman was buying raw milk from a different farmer to feed the pups and one by one they were slowly dying. She found my farmer and started buying milk from her, thinking that it was bad milk she was buying previously. Upon my farmer talking with the woman, it was found that she was heating the milk so it was warm when the pups were fed. This small thing proved to be fatal to the poor dogs and when she stopped heating the milk, the puppies started to thrive. My thinking is, if heated milk can’t sustain a puppy, why should we expect it to nourish our own bodies?

What’s a gal to do?
Personally, I won’t touch pasteurized milk anymore. I did take me quite awhile to get used to raw milk, and I have to admit, I still don’t pour myself a tall glass of it, but it’s all we buy. If you must buy pasteurized milk, at least buy full fat. Even better is to buy organic, in order to stay away from antibiotics and rBST. (Though make sure it’s not ultrapastuerized! That’s a whole other can of worms) And consider making yogurt or kefir out of it. This process at least returns some of the beneficial bacteria and nutrients back into the milk that have been lost due to heating. Also maybe consider consuming cheeses to meet your dietary needs. Many vegetables can also be used in place of milk for calcium consumption as well.

If you are finally ready to hop onto the raw milk train, check out Real Milk. This site not only has great information on why raw milk is healthier, but also a list of farms in your area where you may be able to buy raw milk. (it’s how I found my farm!) Personally I love the fact that I can see the animals out grazing on pasture when I stop by for my milk. I get to see the entire production, and I know exactly what the animals are being fed.

Things to look for in a farm

  • Cleanliness. Make sure all aspects of the barn and grounds are clean.
  • Room to roam. The milk has more nutrients in it if the animals are allowed to free roam and eat on pasture
  • A farmer open to questions. You want to be able to ask how and when the animals are pastured, what they eat, if they are ever fed grain (as some do in the winter), and what happens if the animals get sick or contract mastitis.
  • Referrals. Most raw milk farms have plenty of folks who are more than willing to give a great referral as well as a lecture on how awesome raw milk is. If you are still unsure, a referral can ease your mind.

While I try not be an extremist in any area of nutrition (because I know not everyone is ready and needs more time), I do recommend raw milk whole heartily! I hope this post gives you something to think about and even if you can’t stand the idea of raw milk, replacing skim with full fat milk is beneficial to your fertility and well being. Healthy fat is not your enemy!

*Along with milk, make sure you replace that sugar filled, low fat yogurt with a whole milk plain yogurt. Use honey to sweeten it and add in fresh fruit if you’d like. Much healthier than sugar!


Anyone else glad they made the switch to Raw? How did you finally come around to the idea?

What would you tell someone who is still “on the fence”?


Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
Donielle is an author, amateur herbalist, lover of real food, and an advocate for natural health. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health, so much so that she is currently taking courses to become a master herbalist. Her personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and she began this blog in order to share all of the information she found helpful in her journey to healing.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
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Comments

  1. Alison @ Wholesome Goodness says:

    I just love raw milk! Its taste is so far superior to pasteurized milk that I can’t even drink the store bought stuff anymore. I’ve also been amazed by how raw milk doesn’t cause digestive or allergy problems for me, while pasteurized milk does. I only hope I never have to go without a quality raw milk source.

  2. What do you think about soymilk?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m a raw milk convert. I have had irregular periods my whole life- borderline infertility. It took a whole two months of drinking whole raw Jersey milk, butter and free range raw eggs to regulate my cycles and allow immediate conception.

    Nothing else worked. I’m off for the duration of pregnancy ONLY, and then right back on the raw stuff! Hooray for a blog that isn’t written by sheeple!

    -Jessica

  4. Great info! Stumbled… and tweeted… :)

  5. About a year ago, I started drinking raw and am living proof of drinking the good stuff and eating pastured eggs – I’m pregnant! Our son is 5 and we’ve not used any birth control in about 8 years.

    Plus, the pasteurized milk causes my son to have a runny nose.

    • @Julie, Congratulations Julie!!! How very exciting and how wonderful that your new little one is benefiting from your consumption of good foods while your pregnant too! Hope you have a great pregnancy!

  6. I love the idea of raw milk. The problem is that I teach at an international school in Rwanda and I’m seriously concerned about bad bacteria in my fresh milk. I receive 5 liters per week, but simmer it for about an hour as soon as it comes into the house. Do you think that *any* heating is bad? I haven’t been able to find any websites that speak to this.

    • @Amy, As far as I understand, the heating over 110 degrees causes the good enzymes and bacteria to die. Especially if you boil it for an hour, it’s probably pretty dead.

      But if I was in your situation, I can’t say I’d be doing anything differently! And at least it hasn’t been homogenized! And you could always make yogurt or kefir out of it to add back in some good bacteria as well.

      (As for the fertility link, I think it’s most important that it’s full fat and not skim)

  7. Thanks! I’m always looking for more natural ideas, especially on pregnancy/fertility/baby stuff. I know too many people who say they “can’t” get pregnant and of course they eat tons of junk food and such. I just know things would be different if they ate differently but you can’t just go say that, you know? I’ve never had problems getting pregnant and we don’t use any birth control (I blogged about why awhile back) but this just confirms what I already thought!

    What do you think about raw milk use during pregnancy? I have two kids who are allergic at the moment (one who was exposed to pasteurized milk and a lot of other crap and really can’t handle it; one who was exposed very little and to a much better diet in general who I believe will outgrow it — he’s nearly 5 months and hasn’t had any dairy through me since 3 weeks old) and I would LOVE to know if it’s possible to “prevent” a dairy allergy/sensitivity by consuming raw milk during pregnancy.

    • @Kate, I know what you mean about telling others to change their diet. I have many, MANY friends that still have empty arms and it’s so hard to bite my tongue. I’ve shared my story and my thoughts on nutrition, but that’s all I can do.

      As for raw milk during pregnancy; safety wise, I don’t see a problem with it. I drank it and didn;t have any issues, though it’s something each woman would have to decide for herself.
      As for preventing a food sensitivity; I don’t know. I do know that when I was pregnant with my son I drank a lot of skim milk during pregnancy and while nursing. He can’t tolerate pasteurized milk AT ALL. He’s better with raw goats milk, but can do raw cows milk if needed. I drank raw milk during my pregnancy with my daughter and at 8 months old, she has shown no signs of a milk sensitivity while nursing. So I don’t know if it’s just not in her genes, or if it was the raw milk, or just an all around better diet that helped her. But I do think consuming great dairy like raw milk is great for growing babies!

    • I have been trying to conceive for 7 years and take exceptional care of my body. I have tried every natural remedy I can. Sometimes it is really unexplained and not anybody’s fault that they can’t conceive.

      • @Jami, Yup, you’re exactly right. I highly believe that while food and natural living are key to healing the body, we also live in a fallen and broken world where our bodies don’t always work as we’d hope.

        I’m so sorry for your struggles.

  8. you’ve probably seen me posting on katie’s kitchen stewardship blog. i grew up on a small dairy farm in northern michigan & studied animal science at michigan state university.

    there are numerous inaccuracies about the dairy industry in this post.

    first, there is NO incentive for farmers to put mastitic milk into the food supply. in fact, farmers get a premium for producing milk with a low scc (somatic cell count – high #’s are an indicator of mastitis) & get money taken away for producing milk with a high scc count. milk IS NOT puss.

    there is a ZERO tolerance policy for antibiotics in milk. milk cows who are treated with antibiotics for mastitis does not enter the food supply until after the drug’s withdrawl time has been observed. milk from all farms is tested for antibiotic residue.

    finally, rBST is identical to BST, which is found in all cow’s milk. rBST is created by a process similar to the one used to make insulin. BST & rBST are peptide hormones. peptides are amino acids, the building blocks of protein, & are digested in your stomach. thus, there is no concern in consuming milk from rBST cows or cows in general, since all milk has BST in it. i would love to see the citations for the claims you make about milk from rBST treated cows.

    this all being said, i was raised on a diet of raw milk from our bulk tank & fully support those who want to drink raw milk. I shy away from anything but red cap vitamin d milk when it comes to the grocery store.

    finally, an article that sums up my thoughts on organic milk, if anyone is leaning in that direction:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14458802

    • @tonya, Thank you for your thoughts and the dialogue it started. My thoughts are very much in line with Jenny’s from Nourished Kitchen. And even if antibiotics, mastitis, and rBST were not of any concern, I’d still shy away from it due to the changes that take place during pasteurizing.

      My information and facts come from sources like http://www.realmilk.com and http://www.westonaprice.org both of which I highly trust. Plus the fact that I’ve heard to many stories of healing from folks on raw milk!

  9. I grew up on raw goats milk, raised my kids on it for several years, and now buy it locally when it is available. I am hoping more small homesteaders will get into this movement in my area and be providers for those that want it. Thanks for posting about raw milk!

  10. A few months before trying to conceive my husband and I bought a cow share for the raw milk. In Colorado it is illegal to buy raw milk, but not part of a cow. We toured the farm and talked to the bovine vets who run the operation prior to buying in. I chose not to drink milk just because I did not like practices of how animals and humans are treated in large operations. Concern for residual artificial hormones and antibiotics were a secondary concern, but were there. We were getting the share for my husband but I am a convert. On the road to having a baby I began learning about drinking whole fat milk if I drank dairy because of some of hormones that bind with fat that are lost during processing for lower fat dairy products. That is a key component I think people struggling with fertility need to learn. I love supporting my local dairy now, I know the conditions the cows are kept in, I can talk to the vets/owners when I want, and my milk is tested for four major bacterium two days before I get it. For me it is raw milk or vegan milk.

    • @kia, Good for you for taking such care in the milk you drink! It’s so important to know where our milk comes from and how it’s produced. We too have a cow/goat share program and if for some reason it was taken from us, we too would go with non dairy milk, as the way conventional cows are treated is not only deplorable but the milk is unhealthy to drink!

    • Hi Kia!
      I realize I am replying to an old post but I am hoping you may still get this.. I also live in CO and have never had raw milk and have no idea where to start looking or how to start looking, cleanliness, etc. I would love the name of the farm/s you recommend. Thank you!

  11. Tanya –
    Is easy to cling to the methods of an outdated system – as though consumers, like myself, who want something different ought to learn just to like what the industry wants to feed us; however, we make our choices with education, care and concern.

    First, while industrial dairy farmers may not have a financial incentive to sell milk with a high or moderately-high SCC count, that doesn’t mean that mastitic milk doesn’t make it to the general market. I, for one, want my milk to come from health cows. Heat, stress, udder health and other factors influence the health of dairy cows and cows without access to pasture are more likely to become ill. Once the milk goes to the bulk tank, it’s impossible to judge whether the whole herd is ill or just a few individual cows and as long as that SCC count in the bulk tank is acceptable for the price – it gets sold and goes into the mouths and bellies of the American public. Milk from sick cows is not acceptable to me.

    Despite your lip service paid to a “zero tolerance” for antibiotics in milk, and while many industrial milk producers have taken efforts to come into compliance with FDA standards regarding antibiotic residue in milk, until every farmer removes treated cows from the herd, there will still be antibiotic and disinfectant residue in milk and that is unacceptable to me as a consumer. Studies indicate that even with best practices, these residues remain in milk. Moreover, many of the tests are inaccurate and don’t yield the same results when testing milk. And FDA standards still allow milk with limited antibiotic residue levels into the milk supply. That, to me, is unacceptable. The cow share in which I participate treats cows with antibiotics only when absolutely necessary, and NEVER returns them to the herd from which cow share recipients draw their milk.

    Regarding, rBST and BST may appear to be ostensibly the same regarding the chemical make up; however, there is a striking difference. Cows treated with rBST are hyperstimulated and will produce an unnaturally large amount of milk; moreover, they also see an increase in other hormones in response. The problem isn’t BST, but what an unnaturally large infusion of a hormone does to the milk of the cow. A 1996 study pinpointed rBST as a risk factor for breast and gastrointestinal cancers. Again, not acceptable.

    What you failed to address in your comment was pesticide levels in industrial milk. 92% of conventional milk is tainted by DPA, 85% of conventional milk is tainted by DDE (a known carcinogen), 23% is tainted by dieldren (a known carcinogen and suspected hormone disruptor), 21% is tainted by cyhalothrin (a suspected hormone disruptor), 15% is contaminated by Endosulfan sulfate, 6% is contaminated by 3-hydroxycarbofuran (a neurotoxin) and the list goes on and on and on.

    Moreover, milk from conventionally raised cows lacks CLA, beta carotene and retinol by comparison to milk from grass-fed cows.

    Clean milk is what consumers want, and should receive.

    • @Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen,

      you mention a lot of “facts”. do you have sources for them, or are they just word of mouth from other bloggers? i should also point out that not all conventional dairy farmers are “industrial” dairy farmers. in fact, Aamost 90 percent of U.S. farms are operated by individuals or family corporations. (http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/CollegeRelations/AGRICU.htm) my family milked approximately 30 head in a stanchion barn & sold milk via the michigan milk producers co-operative.

      a farm’s bottom line is a very thin line. there is no financial incentive to introduce mastitic milk to the food supply. you are right that milk is co-mingled in the bulk tank, first on the farm, then during transport & finally at the processing plant. since you agree that a large farm has no incentive to introduce mastitic milk to the food supply (I presume since they’re producing such a volume of milk) let’s talk about small farms. if, on a small farm, a cow’s wildly mastitic milk is put in the bulk tank, it’s being co-mingled with a smaller volume of milk & thus will have a greater impact on the farm’s overall scc reading & impact the farmer’s income. thus, there’s no incentive for the small farmer to introduce mastitic milk to the food supply either. once milk is co-mingled in the bulk tank, it is indeed possible to tell the general overall health of the herd. if a farmer was placing the milk of several mastitic cows into their bulk tank, that would increase the overall scc count of their farm’s milk much higher than if it was just one cow.

      finally, have you seen mastitic milk? it can get pretty clumpy & gnarly. if there was as much mastitic milk in the food supply as you’d like people to believe, it’d be pretty easy to tell.

      please show me evidence that the FDA allows antibiotic residue in milk, their tests are inaccurate & rBST is a risk factor for cancer. if your cow share farm does not return cows treated for mastitis to the herd, are they culled (sent to slaughter, sold)? further, if they do occasionally treat with antibiotics, it can’t be an organic farm so you must be drinking milk with pesticide residues, correct?

      not sure if you read katie’s kitchen stewardship or not, but i’ve already address the issue of CLA. all milk contains it, but studies do show that grass fed cattle do produce milk with more CLA’s.

      pesticides were not mentioned in the original article, so i did not address it in my post.

  12. Tanya –
    Yes, of course, I source my information accurately. All good bloggers, journalists, writers and consumers do. But, where’s your data sourced? MSN?

    Yes, I’m also aware – and undoubtedly most other readers on this thread are aware – that 90% of milk farmers are considered small, family-run farms. The point is moot since many small, family-run farms still practice unsavory, conventional practices. Being a “family-run” farm doesn’t equal sainthood and it certainly doesn’t mean that you practice optimal techniques to maximize the nutrient-density of your milk.

    You’ve repeated yourself that there’s no financial incentive to introduce mastitic milk into the supply. And I’ve agreed with you – milk with high SCC counts result in reduced income. But it still makes it to the bulk tank – and, from there, into the food supply. That is not acceptable. If a cow is raised on pasture with access to shelter instead of in a climate-controlled building and fed on grain, the cow is more likely to enjoy good health and her milk will be more nutrient-dense. But of course, that takes up a lot of space and influences the bottom line of dairy farmers.

    And, yes, I HAVE seen mastitic milk when visiting an industrial dairy farm and it was gnarly. The dairy – a nice dairy – reeked of cows and manure. By contrast, I’ve also visited small grass-based operations and they were infinitely cleaner places with undoubtedly healthier cows.

    The FDA allows a “safe tolerance level” of 10 ppb in milk for the following antibiotics (ampicillin, amoxicillin, cloxacillin), 20 ppb of cephapirin, 50 ppb of ceftiofur and 5 ppb of penicillin. None of the tests regularly available test for all antibiotics, and the FDA only requires them to detect only 4 of the 6 commonly used antibiotics. (Sourced from FDA, North Carolina State University CES).

    As for the farm from which I source my milk, none of the cows have been put on antibiotics, yet. They practice holistic pasture management, optimal care and natural, homeopathic remedies first. However, the farmer reserves the right to treat them with antibiotics with the understanding the cow will not be returned to the herd ever. Whether its culled or kept for other uses makes no difference to me. And, you’re right, it’s not a certified Organic farm – and they’ve no intention to go through the expense and bureaucracy of becoming a certified organic farm and I support them in that. The Organic label, for me, makes little difference. I want to see the farm and its practices before I support it. Regarding pesticide residue in my milk, the cows feed on native flora from untreated fields NOT the pesticide-tainted gmo grain and soy that’s found on all those “family run” farms of which you seem to speak so highly.

    Yes, all dairy contains CLA; however milk and cream from pasture-fed cows contains SIGNIFICANTLY more than that of cows raised on those farms practicing conventional methods. For example, a conventionally fed cow will produce cream that contains about 30 mg CLA per tablespoon, but a cow fed on pasture will produce cream that contains about 145 mg CLA per tablespoon of cream. That’s a big difference.

    While pesticides weren’t mentioned in the original post, you’ve still yet to address them. 92% of conventional milk contains DPA and 85% is tainted by DPE. Those are pretty big numbers.

    • @Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen,

      I sourced MSN for the organic milk article because as a layman’s press article it does a great job of surmising published research data, which may not be as readily understood. i would be happy to source you to the research data although it will take me some time to do so. i do have other things going on.

      so you contend that farmers dleiberately lower their income by introducing mastitic milk into the food supply? that makes no sense. why would they do that? you also agree that 90% of farms are family farms yet you also consider them industrial. what is “industrial” in your mind? anything other than grazing, no grain & no antibiotics? you say you don’t care what happens to culled cows, so are you okay with them being sent to slaughter? that sounds rather “disposable”. if they can’t continue to produce milk w/o treatment for mastitis they’re gone.

    • @Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen,

      further info on SCC

      The SCC values for all herds on the DHIA SCC program for 2004 were recently
      released by the Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory in the ARS branch of USDA.
      The data show very interesting and encouraging information. The 2004 national
      average SCC value for DHIA herds was 295,000 cells/ml. This is the first time that the
      yearly average value has gone below 300,000. Eighteen states averaged fewer than
      300,000 for the year, while only 7 states averaged over 400,000. No states averaged
      above 500,000 which is a very encouraging indicator of the continual improvement in
      milk quality in the U.S.

      [b]Other data reported for 2004 showed that the SCC averages decreased as the size of
      the dairy herds increased. [/b] Larger herds usually have people specialized in and
      responsible for only certain tasks, which allow them the time to do their jobs more
      thoroughly and accurately. Consequently, the factors that affect cow udder health (as
      indicated by SCC values) are usually given closer attention in larger herds, with the
      result being lower average SCC values. (extension publication – http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/an_sci/extension/dairy/newsletters/0805nlet.pdf)

    • @Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen,

      here’s one page (of many) of collected extension publications for dairy farm improvement. extension is tax dolalr funded. if most of the family farmers are cutthroats like you ellude to, why is this info being produced with tax payer money, just to fall on deaf ears?

      http://www.ces.purdue.edu/dairy/quality/qualpubs.htm

  13. Also … I just wanted to mention that the connection between treating dairy cows with synthetic hormones and human cancer risk is wide and well-documented. Perhaps the most compelling analysis comes from the the International Journal of Health Services in which researchers conclude:

    Levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) are substantially elevated and more bioactive in the milk of cows hyperstimulated with the biosynthetic bovine growth hormones rBGH, and are further increased by pasteurization. IGF-1 is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, as evidenced by marked growth-promoting effects even in short-term tests in mature rats, and absorption is likely to be still higher in infants. Converging lines of evidence incriminate IGF-1 in rBGH milk as a potential risk factor for both breast and gastrointestinal cancers.

    Again, this isn’t about whether rBST is the same, chemically speaking, as naturally occuring BST; rather, it’s about what the cascade of abnormal levels of hormones do to the milk when a cow is hyperstimulated with rBST (which for other readers who many not be aware, is a different name for rBGH).

    • @Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen,

      Insulin-like growth factor one (IGF-1) is a protein and a natural component of milk from
      all cows and humans. The amount of IGF-1 in milk of cows increases slightly after rbST
      supplementation but does not exceed normal concentrations in milk of cows or the
      concentrations in human milk (Table 1 – I’ve reproduced it below). IGF-1, like other proteins, is broken into smaller peptides and amino acids in the digestive tract of humans before it can be
      absorbed. Therefore, IGF-1, like bST, is digested in the stomach and intestines of
      humans before it can be absorbed. (an extension prublication – http://www.livestocktrail.uiuc.edu/uploads/dairynet/papers/rbST-Facts%20and%20Fiction%20DD%202008.pdf )

      Source of milk | IGF-1(ppb)
      Cows (no rbST)
      After calving |150
      Early lactation (day 7) | 25
      Late lactation (day 200) | 1 to 5
      Cows injected with rbST | 6 to 14

      Human milk
      At birth | 29
      3 to7 days after birth | 9
      6 to 8 weeks after birth | 18

  14. Where do you get your facts from? If these are true thank goodness I DON’T live in America.
    I milk 330 herd of Jersey cows here in the UK. The milk is tested daily for anti-biotics. The slightest trace found in the milk and the whole lot gets poured down the drain and we don’t get paid.
    Out of 330 cows, only 4 have mastitis ie. 1% (so where does 40% come from?)
    I NEVER drink milk thats been mucked around with. I only drink RAW full cream milk fresh from the cow. Yummy, there is nothing like it.
    Skim milk yuck, don’t they feed that to pigs? Or they used to!

    • @Ann Davies, Ann, most of my facts come from either the book “The untold story of milk” or from http://www.realmilk.com and http://www.westonaprice.org All are good sources for real and true information and I have never been led astray by them! I believe here in the U.S. they just get paid less for milk but it’s still bought as long as it doesn’t go over the minimum requirement for ‘ickiness’. :-)

  15. Quote from THIS website: “I’ve also heard that up to 40% of our milk supply comes from cows that have infections in the udders, called mastitis,…”
    Quote from: http://www.rawmilk.com “Around 40 per cent of the national herd suffers from mastitis or udder infection …..”
    I have worked on numerous dairy farms, the smallest 37cows to 1,000 cows in the UK and Australia. I’m currently milking 330 Jersey cows and ONLY TWO of them have mastitis (ie. 0.6%). These cows are milked last so the milk DOES NOT go for human consumption.
    In the UK, any antibiotics found in milk results in farmers NOT getting paid and the milk destroyed. The milk is tested DAILY by the dairy.
    The raw Jersey milk fresh from the bulk tank is delicious, cool and creamy. Nothing in the supermarket can compare it for flavor! Yummy.

    • @Ann, How fabulous! I’d love to believe it’s the same here in the U.S. , but so much of what I read states otherwise.

  16. Hi Donielle!
    I have recently switched to a vegan diet and have noticed a difference in my fertility the past couple of months. I am trying to get pregnant so I am willing to have a serving or whatever is needed of dairy each day in order to get fertility on track again. My question is whether or not goats milk would be just as effective? Also, I’m not familiar with unpasteurized milk or raw milk. Are there any supposed dangers to drinking it? Thank you for your time :)
    Rose

    • @Rose, Rose, first I must comment on the vegan diet thing as I feel from the research I’ve done that it’s not a diet that will help sustain fertility or nourish a new little baby. If you are unable for some reason to eat muscle meat, I would highly suggest you eat plenty of other animal products like whole milk, eggs, butter, etc. The nutrients contained in animal foods are highly beneficial! Fat and cholesterol (cholesterol is only found in animal products) help to produce our hormones, and progesterone is actually reliant on cholesterol for it’s manufacturing. The very fact that you mention your fertility is changing makes me suspect that something is missing from your diet in a very large way. It may also be an issue if you are consuming nuts, legumes, and grains that have not been properly soaked as they would pull more nutrients from your body than what you’re able to put back in. I don’t ever like to tell someone how they eat is ‘wrong’, just that if you find your health (fertility included) deteriorating something needs to change.

      As to how many servings…it’s really going to vary depending on how many other animal products you consume. At least a few would be my recommendation. To the safety of raw milk – I personally think that as long as you find a farm that’s clean and has a great system, it’s perfectly safe. You can check out http://www.realmilk.com for a lot of other information regarding the safety as well as a list of farms where you’s be able to [purchase it. And yes – goats milk would be just as effective as long as it’s raw. (it’s actually what we drink at my house!)

      • @Donielle- Thank you for the very helpful info! I am glad you said something about the vegan diet (which I love) but lately it has been something that concerns me regarding fertility. It may have to be something I start again after children.
        I am very excited that goats milk is just as effective, as it is my preference! Were you on goats milk when you were able to conceive?
        Thank you so much again :)
        Rose

        • @Rose, With my first it was still before our whole foods changes and I was still drinking skim. Trying to get pregnant though was tough as I had only ovulated twice the entire year. With my second we were consuming all whole foods, including goat milk, and I was able to regulate my cycles for the first time ever, making getting pregnant a bit easier as I could finally pin point ovulation.

          And personally I feel the vegan diet does have some merit, just not for a long or sustaining diet. It can be great for cleansing (which is why so many people feel good initially) a few times per year, but my own thoughts are that it shouldn’t be followed for more than a week or two at a time (many vegans suffer after months or years on the diet). Our body’s need the break from animal foods, yet they also regularly need the nourishment. And especially when trying to concieve, nourishment and nutrient dense foods are pivotal!

  17. I’ve long been an advocate for whole milk for the fertility issues mentioned above, and I try to buy organic whenever it’s available, but for some reason I can’t make myself switch to raw! We even have a very fairly priced farm nearby, and a local organic market who sells raw milk, but there’s just something about it that grosses me out and makes me scared to drink it while pregnant, give it to my son, etc., even after doing all the research and BELIEVING that it’s healthier and perfectly safe.

    I guess it just goes to show how much media and “well, I had a friend who had a friend who had a friend who knew someone who DIED from raw milk” stories effect our brains. Even when I feel like I believe one thing (that raw milk is good) my actions say something else (raw milk is scary)!

    Anyway, thanks for the great post, and you have made me look at my milk-buying decisions!

  18. JamieInWyoming says:

    Hi everyone. I know I am very late coming to this thread, but I am concerned about my dairy consumption. If you google “PCOS dairy” EVERY listing says if you have PCOS, to get rid of all dairy in your diet. I have recently converted to a grain free, potato free, basically fruit free and refined sugar free diet. (I have a *touch* of agave nectar on my homemade full fat yogurt, and a tablespoon of raw honey to help with my allergies.) Other than that, my diet is meat, veggies and dairy. (see dietdoctor.com)

    I feel pretty good, I have lost weight even without excercise, (starting that tomorrow) and I am not hungry at all….although I certainly miss grains and have the daily fight to avoid sugary foods. (To make matters WORSE, I make homemade candy for a living. I am SOOOOO proud of myself!)

    Most PCOS diets say lots of fruits, whole grains and no dairy. I watched a video from Dr. Michael Fox of Jacksonville Center for Reproductive Medecine, and he recommends the diet on http://www.dietdocotor.com. He said claims that by using metformin and this diet (as opposed to just the metformin), his PCOS patients went from a 45% conception rate to 90%….just from including real butter, animal fats and cutting out all sugar, most all fruit and all grain.

    Let me tell you, I am 41, lifetime PCOS’er who finally found the man of her dreams and wants a baby…NOW. This conception rate was music to my ears, but everything he swears by is completely OPPOSITE to everything else I see on the web and read in my books.

    Someone…anyone…please help.

    Jamie In Wyoming

    • JamieInWyoming says:

      @JamieInWyoming,

      Of COURSE I misspelled the website….

      http://www.dietdoctor.com

      You can find the video from Dr Michael D Fox on youtube or dietdoctor site, its called “How to eat to ge pregnant.”

    • donielle says:

      @JamieInWyoming, The thing is with PCOS is that the “cause” of it is different for each woman, so diet must be different as well. Many women I have talked to have had fabulous success with a grain free/sugar free diet.Some can tolerate dairy and some can’t. Really, the only way to find out if it’s a problem for you is to cut it out for 3-4 weeks to see if you notice any physical changes and then try and reintroduce it one day to see if you notice any negative changes.
      There are a couple posts here that focus on PCOS:
      http://www.naturallyknockedup.com/natural-treatments-for-pcos/
      http://www.naturallyknockedup.com/healing-pcos-with-nutrition/
      Some women have also found that they could get results like using metformin with other things like apple cider vinegar in their water or by using adaptogenic herbs like maca. Other women have not gone that route, but instead used metformin (and dealt with the side effects) short term while they tried to get their diet under control. Because if the food you eat isn’t nourishing or healing your body, it doesn’t matter what herbs or meds you use, you’ll still see PCOS symptoms. I don’t think (from a quick glance) that the diet the “diet doctor” recommends is odd – in fact more and more women are going to this type of diet and seeing great results. To fin good recipes just search for “grain-free”, “paleo”, and “primal”.

      • JamieInWyoming says:

        @donielle,

        Donielle, thank you for your reply. I have found your website to be a wealth of information, and I will soon be purchasing your book AND some Maca, lol. I am already doing the raw apple cider vinegar in my water. :) (how much a day???)

        I changed the way I was eating a few weeks ago, but slipped up on my 41st bday with a few too many shots of tequilla and then someone guilted me into eating a piece of “birthday lemon bars” they had made for my party. That has been my only slip up, and it caused me to gain a bunch of weight back literally overnight. I am going to continue with the grain/sugar free for the next few weeks, and cut out the agave now that I read your sugar detox last night. I am PRAYING my nubian doe is bred and that soon I will have wondeful, fresh, raw goats milk to drink and make my own butter, cheese and cream. I have also been doing gentle excercise, fertility self massage and castor oil packs. I have definitley notice changes in the way my “girl parts” feel, shall we say? I have not had a real period since August of 2011, and then I was almost hospitalized from blood loss. I have started spotting since changing my diet, which is amazing…although irritating, lol.

        I am taking a lot of vitamin supplements (B complex, Vit D3, Cal/Mag, Vit E, Fish Oil) and as soon as I get paid, I will be getting some Maca and Vitex. I tried Metformin years ago and UGH did it make me sick. I will give all the completely natural stuff until October to work (we get married on the 12th). Once we are married, Im hitting the metformin.

        All my best, and God bless you for your help.

        Jamie In Wyoming

        • @JamieInWyoming, Usually people like the taste of about 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar per cup of water. I usually just put a splash of it in with my water. :-)

          It sounds like you’re doing a lot of wonderful things for your body! Keep up the good work and know that even if you do end up with some type of medication, the way you’re nourishing your body now will only benefit you in the long run.

          Many blessings!
          Donielle

  19. Thank you for your article Donielle. I’ve been trying to get into raw milk and cream because I hear of the fertility benefits, but for some reason every time I have raw dairy, specifically high fat dairy like cream or butter, I will consistently have unusual spotting and PMS-like symptoms like irritability, swollen breasts and acne. This kind of reaction seems so extreme, and it inclines me to believe that raw milk may not be so good after all. I keep persisting, thinking that my body just needs time to get used to it. This never happens with pasteurized dairy. My hypothesis is that the hormones in raw milk are denatured in the pasteurization process. But, if pasteurized dairy is nutritionally poor, and raw dairy is so hormonally reactionary, then it seems like dairy is not good at all. I’ve looked everywhere to see if anyone else has had this kind of reaction, but all I see are people rejoicing in the great results they’ve had. Have you ever heard of this type of reaction before? Is it just a normal part of the transition process? I don’t want to needlessly eliminate such a lauded health food.

    • donielle says:

      @Susan, Hmm, interesting. I have heard of people having slight, not-so-great changes in their health when it comes to raw milk, almost like a “detox” of some sort that usually sorts itself out.

      This thought is totally not based on anything but theory, but I wonder if the hormones in the pasteurized milk might be what your body is basing it’s hormone production off of. So when you switch to raw, those hormones aren’t present and it’s causing adverse effects. AGAIN – I have no idea if this is also possible, but if you think it might be the hormones in the raw milk, it’d be interesting to think about it the other way around too. I do know that a lot of milk comes from cows not treated with hormones, so that would put it in the same playing field as raw milk cows.

      I also don’t know if hormones are denatured through processing like fats, proteins, and vitamins are. Though this article (http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2012/06/19/growth-hormones-in-milk-mythfact/) says that BST, the bovine growth hormone, is destroyed during pasteurization. But it also states that it BST should not have any effect on us because our cell receptors wouldn’t accept it anyway.

      The one thing that’s for certain, is that not everyone can eat every food. There are a lot of people with an intolerance to dairy (and not just because of the lactose). People of Asian decent and those who live closest to the equator tend to be more intolerant to it. Women with endometriosis tend to find that dairy bothers them and makes their symptoms worse. So I think it’s really important to follow your body’s lead. You could try an elimination diet and cut out milk, butter, and cheese for a month and see if you notice if you feel better and then try and add it back in and see if you feel any negative affects.

  20. It’s really a interesting in addition to helpful bit of data. Now i’m happy that you just distributed this convenient data along with us. Make sure you be people updated such as this. Thank you expressing.

  21. Dear Team

    Further to reaching your article and knowing that i have been facing some fertility problem, i would like to take your opinion on the matter .

    We got our first child 6 years ago with no problem and even without having to worry about anything, my wife used to be a full time employee and i am self-employed. In the past two years we have been trying to get our second child, but with no luck, we did several tests and we noticed that i have some count problems whereas in my first sperm test, my total count was 15,000,000 so my Dr gave me a 3 months treatment which suppose to help, unfortunately 2 months after i ended the treatment, i had a severe illness with high fever for almost a week. A week later i did another sperm test and found out that my count has dropped to 2,000,000 while all other indices shows a good progress.

    I am really confused if my illness caused this drop or the way i am eating, i used to drink fresh cow milk since my childhood and for the past 2 years, i switched to Zero Fat Milk and since the result of second test, i have thinking what could be the cause until i remembered that i have stopped fresh cow milk since almost 2 years.

    Do you think stopping drinking cow has affected my sperm health in a way or another, i used to last with my intimate relation with my wife, now i come so fast, I even do not last for more than 2 minutes.

    I hope i can hear your opinion, as i am really upset and frustrated from my situation and somehow depressed.

    Regards

  22. Hi Donielle! (these posts are old, so hoping you still get these posts!)

    I just came across your website / blog and its very informative.

    I’ve been struggling with infertility for 4.5 years and just cant seem to get pregnant. We had a failed IVF cycle almost a year ago. Since then, we have switched to organic fruits / vegetables, and I just purchased some whole full fat, raw milk. Im also taking maca, chia seeds, wheatgrass, juicing, smoothies, and also taking some vitamins.

    Hopefully we can FINALLY get pregnant on our own. Any ideas on how to make eqq quality better!?

    • It sounds like you’re doing a lot of really great things! Along with everything you’re doing, just watch your processed food and sugar consumption, and remember that eggs have a 3 month maturation cycle. So what you’re doing now will have the most benefit on the eggs a couple months from now!

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