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Dairy Hormonal Interference

Concern that the consumption of cow’s milk can upset our body’s hormonal balance.

January 11, 2010 |
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Supplementary Info

Sources Cited


Image thanks to timsackton.


So, Where do we go from here? Here’s what the science says: “Our deeply-rooted beliefs about the wholesomeness of milk and dairy products should be reconsidered…” “We are just beginning to re-asses the biological effects of milk and dairy products as [human] foodstuffs. Human beings are the only species on Earth that from the beginning of [infancy] into adulthood are subjected to [this] external hormonal manipulation…” “Milk developed over the course of mammalian evolution…only to be consumed during infancy. The consumption of cow’s milk [in humans] interferes with the sensitive endocrine regulatory network from the fetal period into old age.”
While dairy is being re-evaluated as human food, in the very least, “given the tumor promoting effect of IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1, from dairy), patients with tumorous disease should restrict consumption of milk and milk protein.” Unfortunately we don’t know if we have a tumor until it gets big enough to get picked up. “The same applies to patients with coronary heart disease [(the number one killer in the United States)] and [those] with a family history of neurodegenerative disease. Milk’s…already been identified as an aggravating factor in the acne epidemic…[but] it is even more important that excessive milk consumption can promote diseases commonly associated with a Western lifestyle.”

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.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: How Do Plant-Based Diets Fight Cancer? and Avoiding Dairy to Prevent Parkinson's

  • hsroex

    It is shocking that this information is not widely known by health care practitioners, parents, schools etc. It should be daily on the front pages of newspapers and in news bulletins on TV. Unbelievable, that people still look at you as if you are being not completely normal when you inform them about the health hazards of animal based foods. I wish I had known this at least 30 years earlier; my children would not have been raised on animal products. I could post this comment at almost every video though. Thanks again, dr. Greger.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Things are definitely changing, though–did you see the story about Clinton yesterday? In fact this Sunday, CNN is premiering their new documentary The Last Heart Attack featuring two of my heroes, Ornish and Esselstyn.

  • millahtime
  • traxmom

    Have you seen Dr. McDougall’s video on IGF-1? He agrees with you on the dairy, but is even more adamant about soy protein isolate being orders of magnitude worse than dairy in this regard. (Soy protein isolate is an ingredient found in all those fake meat products that vegans often flock to, as well as protein powders, and all breakfast cereal and breads labeled “high-protein”.) The way Dr. McDougall talks about it makes it seem like it’s SO cancer promoting that it should be banned in food. Here’s the link to the video: (or just google Dr. McDougall IGF-1)

    • Romina

      I would also really like to know your views on that, dr. Greger. Thank you!

  • guest

    Are the hormones still present in ghee?

  • LRB

    What about hormonal acne caused by fluctuating hormones during menstrual cycles? I am completely dairy and meat free (have been for a year) and I still get terrible breakouts during before and during my period. I would LOVE to know if I can take dietary measures to prevent this.

  • Amer Maz

    Hello Dr. Michael,
    I’d like to know more about the diary/meat
    products and what best alternative available for diary/meat products.For
    example, I heard about grass-fed hormone-free whey protein, I hope
    maybe in the future you make a video that clarifies this issue.
    Related topic:

  • rick
    The attached study makes a very convincing argument that ulcerative colitis and crohn’s disease are caused by exposure to mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (map) directly from the milk of or feces (from runoff) of infected cows. How does knowing this not make a cure available or at least in near sight?
    Just as a side note – The study identifies map as the cause of tuberculosis which is now close to erradicated, via innoculation, in many countries.