Nairobi News


Cow’s milk may harm your child

By KISINGU MULIA February 4th, 2014 2 min read

The lure of cow’s milk for many people is as instinctive as life itself. The extent to which people can go to acquire cow’s milk for their infants is like the flow of nature. Nothing should obstruct them.

What you don’t know is that the milk may trigger juvenile (Type One diabetes) in your infant later in life.  This suggests that juvenile diabetes is a vicious type of ‘food allergy’.

It also means that keeping infants away from dairy foods in the first year of life, probably the most critical period, might save them  from diabetes.


Evidence that cow’s milk can trigger juvenile diabetes is mounting, as experts suggest that certain proteins (mostly casein) in the milk provide the antigen (foreign substance) that fools the immune system into attacking its own tissue – the beta cells in the pancreas, destroying those cells’ ability to make insulin.

A new study by Hans–Michael Dosch and colleagues at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, has discovered antibiodies indicating an immune reaction to specific milk proteins, in the blood of 100 per cent of a group of children with Type One diabetes. Only 2.5 per cent of non-diabetic children in the study had such antibodies.

Lab tests

The researchers say the  proteins could have triggered allergic immune reactions resulting in diabetes.

In laboratory rats, milk proteins decidedly trigger diabetes by destroying insulin-secreting beta cells. Further, infants who are breastfed and deprived of cow’s milk for longer periods are much less apt to develop diabetes.

In another study, researchers at Children’s Hospital in Helsinki compared early exposure to cow’s milk with later risk of diabetes.  They found that exclusively breastfeeding infants during the first  two to three months of life cut their chances of developing diabetes by age 14 by 40 per cent.

Swedish researchers at Kerolinska Institute in Sctockholm have also found that youngsters from birth to age 14 years who eat more high-protein, high-complex-carbohydrates and foods containing nitrosamines are more likely to develop diabetes.

They say certain proteins may directly attack the beta cells of the pancreas; for example, foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as bread, are also often rich in wheat gliadin, a protein shown to harm beta cells in rats.