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Humans are the only species that are exposed to the kind of external hormonal manipulation associated with dairy consumption, and the consumption of cow’s milk by humans may interfere with the body’s sensitive endocrine regulatory network.

Milk Consumption and Acne

In some parts of the world, like the United States, acne is a prevalent skin disease that affects 85% of teenagers, some into their third decade of life.

There appears to be a connection between milk consumption and acne. For example, it’s been shown that a dairy-free diet may improve acne vulgaris. Also, the Harvard Nurses’ Study found an association between high school dairy intake and severe, physician-diagnosed acne.

Dairy may be considered a major cause of the acne epidemic in the Western world. Three Harvard studies linked acne and dairy consumption in adolescence with the sex steroid hormone content naturally found in cow’s milk (even without added hormones). The highest levels of hormones were found in skim milk.  

The hormones found in dairy may also upset our body’s hormonal balance. This may also explain why women eating a conventional diet are five times more likely to give birth to twins than those eating plant-based diets.

Milk may represent a sophisticated hormone signaling system that activates the enzyme known as TOR, which has been identified as a leading driver in a range of chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and cancers of the breast and prostate. Cow’s milk has three times more leucine, the primary activator of TOR, so dairy consumption could lead to over-stimulation of TOR in humans.

Organic milk contains the same hormones as full-fat dairy.

Natural Treatment of Acne

One study of the effect of barberry, a high antioxidant fruit, on acne, showed that teens with moderate to severe acne who ate about a teaspoon of dried barberries three times daily experienced a 43% reduction in zits.  

Image Credit: napatcha © 123RF.com. This image has been modified.

Topic summary contributed by Dawn Handschuh and David.

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