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Cow’s Milk Casomorphin and Autism

Opiate-like casomorphins liberated from the cow’s milk protein casein are accused of participating in the cause of such conditions as: autism, crib death, type I diabetes, postpartum psychosis, circulatory disorders, and food allergies.

May 9, 2012 |
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Acknowledgements

Images thanks to Ninjatacoshell, John Curtis, Shardan, Judy Baxter and zimpenfish via Wikimedia Commons.

Transcript

Attacks of apnea, where babies temporarily stop breathing, and muscular atony, where babies go limp, after exposure to cow’s milk may also be explained by extracentral activity of casomorphin, meaning outside the brain. Casomorphin, this opioite-like peptide produced by cow’s milk, is also responsible for triggering pseudo allergic reactions and other abnormalities seen in crib death …and Moreover, similarly to morphine, they delay the gastric emptying time, and so may increase the risk of infants refluxing stomach back up into the lungs.
Thus, it can be said that the so-called milk-apnoea effect may consist of several components: an opioid-induced respiration depression, an opioid-induced pseudoallergic histamine-related respiratory response, an influence on the peripheral nervous system, a cow’s milk-induced reflux, followed by aspiration-induced apnoea.
Sudden infant death syndrome is not the only condition linked to these morphine-like compounds. From another medical journal recently, casomorphins liberated from the cow’s milk protein beta-casein are accused of participating in the cause of such conditions as: autism, crib death, type I diabetes, postpartum psychosis, circulatory disorders, and food allergies.
In terms of autism risk… whereas the human casomorphins, found exclusively in the breast milk of women who don’t drink cow’s milk, are associated with normal psychomotor development and muscle tone. In contrast, elevated levels of bovine casomorphin found in cow’s milk based formula-fed infants was associated with a delay in psychomotor development and muscle spasticity. This evidence suggests that the inability of some infants to adequately eliminate bovine casomorphin may be a risk factor for delay in psychomotor development and other diseases such as autism.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please also see the last two videos in this series, Cow's Milk-Induced Infant Apnea and
yesterday's video. Breast is always best, but the breast milk of women eating plant-based diets may not only exclude bovine casomorphins, but contain lower levels of industrial pollutants like dioxins. See Flame Retardant Chemical Contamination. For other effects animal products may have on healthy development, see Dairy & Sexual Precocity and Protein and Puberty. No wonder Dr. Spock, the most esteemed pediatrician of all time, recommended children be raised without exposure to meat and dairy (see Doctors' Nutritional Ignorance). And if that isn't enough, there are and hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects.

For more context, check out my associated blog post, Cow’s Milk Casomorphin, Crib Death, and Autism.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please also see the last two videos in this series, Cow’s Milk-Induced Infant Apnea and
    yesterday’s video. Breast is always
    best, but the breast milk of women eating plant-based diets may not only
    exclude bovine casomorphins, but contain lower levels of industrial pollutants
    like dioxins. See Flame Retardant Chemical Contamination.
    For other effects animal products may have on healthy development, see Dairy & Sexual Precocity and Protein and Puberty. No wonder Dr.
    Spock, the most esteemed pediatrician of all time, recommended children be
    raised without exposure to meat and dairy (see Doctors’ Nutritional Ignorance). And if
    that isn’t enough, there are and hundreds of other videos on more than a thousand subjects.

  • Paul@AutismRadio.org

    Please email me to schedule an interview at Paul@AutismRadio.org – thank you for your time. 

    • DeeWhy

      Paul if you give this rubbish any air time you are acting against the interests of people with ASD and Autism. IT srubbish about foods causing Autism and they are just praying on vunerable peolple to promote an agenda

    • Han

      since I’ve gone vegan I feel much more normal. I bet that reproduceable.

  • Melanie

    I appreciate that the link of bovine cow milk to autism has more than one reference. I had to drink skim cow milk at a baby because I could not digest my mother’s milk, regular cow milk or other milk available in ’71. I think because I was premature, I perhaps couldn’t digest the fat in the milks. I bet I would have flourished on soya or almond milk, but I don’t think it was commonly available at the time. Fortunately, I did not develop autism or other problems from the skim milk. I really loved the depth of the analysis in this brief segment.

  • estrellitazul

    There should be a distinction made here.  What kind of milk is being tested?  My guess:  industrialized, homogenized & pasteurized milk.  People have drunk raw milk for thousands of years, and no doubt fed their babies raw milk during said time.  While i’ve no doubt that these associations are true within the industrialized food context, left to it’s own devices the simple, unadulterated foods nature provides it’s own defenses against most potential pathogens.  Drink Raw Milk, Know Your Farmer.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

       Because the purported link is thought due to casomorphin, which is a natural component from milk that presumably developed through millions of years of evolution to strengthen the mammalian infant-mother bond (rather than some industrial additive like bovine growth hormone), one would not expect raw milk to have any advantage in this regard.

      • estrellitazul

        True, milk has to be inherently milk.  My own (completely amateur!) research has led me to think that the benefits of raw milk and it’s products outweigh the potential cons.  Thank you for your (completely professional!)  research and hard work on this site.  It is helping thousands know about the vast healing properties of food !!

        • Toxins

          Little evidence actually supports raw milk over pasteurized. You will find many websites though without scientific backing advocating this milk as superior when in fact they both contain the same harmful compounds.

    • Toxins

      Raw milk should not be considered a healthy food. there are inherent ingredients in milk that are not removed with pasteurization, such as xenoesterogens, which make this food quite harmful to consume.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/xenoestrogens-early-puberty/

      • estrellitazul

        Hey, thank you, i appreciate the link.  Early puberty in children is shockingly sad (and if you combine it with our culture’s focused effort at pushing our children to ‘grow up’ via media it’s doubly so.)  I do want to point out however that in the tagline above the linked video it says ‘until the twentieth century’ puberty held off until 16-17 years old.  Which, interestingly enough is the exact century in which we whole-heartedly started tampering with our food, perhaps out of necessity, true, but it sure ain’t what our grandparents ate and we have the diseases and skeletal deformities (i.e., teeth) to prove it.  I am a Weston Price devotee, but i am also a believer in the power of clean veg & fruit & vitamins and have seen the power of juicing for example in my life! Whether we are veg*n or real foodists, my main priority is that we are informed and FREE to choose what we put into our bodies. Thanks again, i love when people are passionate enough about their food to make a statement!

      • estrellitazul

        also uniting the animal/veg line are refined products.  vive la difference, it keeps us honest =)  Cheers!

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Also be sure to check out my associated blog post Cow’s Milk Casomorphin, Crib Death, and Autism!

  • lovestobevegan

    Something for the kids which hasn’t been linked to autism.

    Leave the Cow Out to Pasture Chocolate Milk

    – 1 cup cooked brown rice
    – 4 cups water
    – 2 tbsp date sugar
    – 2 heaping tbsp cacoa powder

    Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth, 1-2 minutes.

    Bookmark my new Plant-Based Emporium Facebook page for all my latest recipes. https://www.facebook.com/PlantBasedEmporium

    ~Complements of lovestobevegan

  • DeeWhy

    It digusts me when people who have an agenda use Autism to promote it. It is absolute rubbish that Autism is caused by Dairy or any other foods for that amtter and to promote this rubbish is just a con job. TO pray on vunerable people with a disability is disgusting.

  • Virginia

    “Accused of” is a far cry from “studies show.”