Raw milk is milk from cows, goats, sheep, or other animals that has not been pasteurized. Although precise data are not available, it is thought that less than 1% of milk sold to consumers in the United States has not been pasteurized.
The occurrence of allergic diseases has risen dramatically in Western societies. One frequently cited reason is that children are less exposed to microorganisms and have fewer infections than previous generations, thereby delaying maturation of the immune system.
A study by researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, monitored children until the age of three to examine maturation of the immune system in relation to allergic disease. All of the children lived in rural areas of the Västra Götaland Region, half of them on farms that produced milk.
Lower risk of allergy
The study found that children on dairy farms ran a much lower risk of developing allergies than the other children.
Our study also demonstrated for the first time that delayed maturation of the immune system, specifically B-cells, is a risk factor for development of allergies, says Anna-Carin Lundell, one of the researchers.
Need for additional studies
Children with an allergic disease …
Compared with kids who only drank store-bought milk, those who drank raw milk had a 41-percent reduction in their odds of developing asthma. They were also only about half as likely to develop hay fever — even after accounting for other factors that might be relevant.
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