Is Milk and Mucus a Myth?

Is Milk and Mucus a Myth?
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Do dairy products contribute to increased mucus (phlegm) production?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The Dairy Council denies there’s an association between milk and increased mucus production, and they blame it on the Jews. The original myth, they claim, stems from a 12th century Jewish physician. Not just any 12th century Jewish physician, though, but none other than Moses Maimonides himself.

What have we learned in the last 800 years? The latest review on the subject was published last year. Does milk increase mucus production? Is that fact or fiction?

It appears to be fact.

The milk protein casein breaks down in the stomach to produce a substance called casomorphin, which as its name implies, has opioid effects—which makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, as species survival may depend on a close maternal bond between infant and mother.

The guess is that opioid receptors on the mucus glands in the respiratory tract may respond to the casomorphin from milk, which could potentially “stimulate the production and secretion of mucus from these respiratory glands.” This may explain why “a subgroup of the population who have increased respiratory tract mucus production, find that many of their symptoms, including asthma, improve on a dairy elimination diet.”

Maybe Moses Maimonides was right.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to dkillo and Cali4beach via flickr

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The Dairy Council denies there’s an association between milk and increased mucus production, and they blame it on the Jews. The original myth, they claim, stems from a 12th century Jewish physician. Not just any 12th century Jewish physician, though, but none other than Moses Maimonides himself.

What have we learned in the last 800 years? The latest review on the subject was published last year. Does milk increase mucus production? Is that fact or fiction?

It appears to be fact.

The milk protein casein breaks down in the stomach to produce a substance called casomorphin, which as its name implies, has opioid effects—which makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, as species survival may depend on a close maternal bond between infant and mother.

The guess is that opioid receptors on the mucus glands in the respiratory tract may respond to the casomorphin from milk, which could potentially “stimulate the production and secretion of mucus from these respiratory glands.” This may explain why “a subgroup of the population who have increased respiratory tract mucus production, find that many of their symptoms, including asthma, improve on a dairy elimination diet.”

Maybe Moses Maimonides was right.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to dkillo and Cali4beach via flickr

Doctor's Note

For more on the effects of dairy consumption, check out these recent videos:
Formula for Childhood Obesity
Dairy Estrogen and Male Fertility
Is Milk Good for Our Bones?
Why Do Vegan Women Have 5x Fewer Twins?
Skim Milk and Acne
Preventing Parkinson’s Disease With Diet

Dairy industry policies have also been accused of racial bias, as profiled in this article published in the Journal of the National Medical Association.

For further context, please check out my associated blog post: Vitamin B12: how much, how often?

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