One of the most popular deceptions in the health world is the peddling of (commercial) milk as a healtful drink – especially for women and for the elderly. Their main argument (sales pitch) is to build strong bones and avoid osteoporosis. If one does not use one’s common sense, one can easily be hoodwinked into believing in this gibberish.
The argument that milk’s high calcium content is “vitally” needed to strong bones is not completely accurate. The best argument against the “projected” essentiality of milk to strong bones is our observation that no adult mammal (outside of man) drinks milk – and the milk of another species at that – and there are three sides to the issue – (1) the commercial milk businesses, (2) those who argue in favor of raw milk, and (3) those who are against. [In fact, there are entire websites completely committed to gathering information and evidentiary studies (try http://nomilk.com) that debunk the favorable studies, which are mostly industry-funded.]
But, the issue is not as simple as it seems and all three sides (intentionally or not) are not helping clear things up.
First, though everyone agrees that milk is considered a “perfect” food, it refers to mother’s milk and is ideal only to young mammals (specifically from newborns to infants). To extend its consumption beyond is to court health disaster – as can be evidenced today by the fact that countries and cultures (e.g., the USA) that have a high consumption of (commercial) milk also exhibit the highest incidences of osteoporosis and those who practically do not consume it (e.g., the oft-cited relatively obscure African tribe of the Bantus) have an absence of the dreaded “brittle bone” disease. [It is said that the Bantu people – outside of mother’s milk and only during the first few years of their life – do not drink a single drop of milk after they are weaned.]
However, in Ayurvedic medicine, milk is being used for another purpose, as some sort of medicine. The key word is “medicine”, which means that if and when consumed, it is not in large sustained doses, not something intended to be a permanent part of one’s daily diet.
Nevertheless, there appears to be a contradiction. But, the so-called contradiction disappears after a little explanation. (1) Ayurvedic medicine only makes use of milk for medicinal purposes. This means that it is not taken as a beverage to be consume on a regular or daily basis. (2) The milk is required to be raw, not the store-bought kind with a label or brand name. The milk used in Ayurvedic medicine must be raw and fresh – this means that it must be consumed within minutes after milking. [By the way, this is also one of the main reasons that mother’s milk is the best – it is freshly-made; it is milk on demand; it is not produced and stored for later consumption. There is nothing fresh about store-bought commercial milk.]
Commercial milk advertisements make it sound so easy and attractive, as if strong bones comes from simply drinking milk. If milk companies explained to us what is really needed in order to have strong bones, no one may want to buy their expensive but worthless milk. They do not tell us that strong bones require four essential components – any one missing and there is no strong bone to speak of. And, what are these components?
(1) You need ORGANIC CALCIUM, not those the calcium you get from commercialized mineral supplements and most certainly not from commercial milk. Organic calcium means that it must come from organic sources, like green leafy vegetables and like breast milk. Inorganic calcium is one of the main causes of kidney stones. The body is designed to accept and absorb only organic nutrients. Nutrients derived from inorganic sources, like petroleum derivatives (which is what most popular multivitamin and mineral supplements found in supermarkets and in pharmacies are), will be completely ignored by the body and passed on to the kidneys for elimination – but will accumulate and form kidney stones (mostly calcium oxalates). If you want a cheap organic source of calcium, may I recommend egg shells? [May I recommend you read up on chiral or stereo chemistry or mirror molecules.]
(2) Calcium will not be integrated into bones without the presence of VITAMIN D. And, like calcium, the vitamin D must also be ORGANIC! Our best source of organic vitamin D is the sun. Our skin manufactures vitamin D upon exposure to sunlight.
But, how much sunlight and what about the risk of skin cancer? Well, for people living in temperate climates, just 15-20 minutes for fair-skinned people during summer, 30-45 minutes for darker-skinned people during summer, and 2-3 times longer during the winter months. For people living in tropical climate, reduce the exposure time by about half. A simple guide for sunlight exposure is: the further towards the polar region you are, the longer you need to be exposed. (This is because the sun’s rays are weaker. It also explains why natives of these areas are fair-skinned and light haired and colored irises.) Sun exposure on the face and the arms are enough; there is no need to be tanned all over. A few minutes of sunlight can produce more than five times the vitamin D from any other source. [For myself, I use my shadow length with respect to my height to determine the amount of sun exposure I will need; the shorter the shadow cast, the shorter duration.]
As for skin cancer, (A) aside from being a source of toxins in our bodies absorbed through the skin, commercial sunscreen/block is one of the major contributing causes to the rise in the incidence of osteoporosis – remember, anything you put on your skin will absorbed. Sunblocks/screens not only block the harmful rays of the sun but the beneficial rays that enable our skin to produce vitamin D. Instead of using commercial toxic sun protection, it is better to use our body’s natural sun protection. Let the body manufacture its own sun protection. How? One of the best sources that enables our body to produce its natural sun protection is the humble tomato – i.e., the organic kind, not the GMO.
(B) Let your skin tone itself; let nature dictate what you need and what must be done. The nearer you are to the polar regions, the lighter your skin tone should be. Do not be an unwitting victim of comestic companies that prey on your need or desire to be a “fashion victim”. Cosmetic companies makes a fool out of you by telling people fair-skinned people (those living in temperate and cooler climates) that having a tanned-look is beautiful, then turns around and tell dark-skinned people (those living in the tropics and hot climates) that white skin is beautiful. DON’T BE STUPID!
Melanin is what pigments your skin and it is secreted to protect you against over-exposure to the sun. This is your natural sun protection. Tropical climates have more intense sunlight so the skin protects you by secreting more melanin. To forcibly go against your natural skin tone – just on the say so of cosmetic companies and peer pressure – is to invite health problems (skin cancer for those whitening their dark skin and osteoporosis for those darkening their light skin). This is one of the reasons why Latinos in the USA and African-Americans have a higher incidence of osteoporosis – as compared against fair-skinned people. Their skin tone is not intended for the cooler climate of the USA, so they “suffer” higher incidences of osteoporosis. We must live where our skin tones tell us. [Women have lighter skin tones because they will need the extra sunlight to build up enough bone mass to prepare them for when they bear children.]
(3) A sufficient supply of HEALTHY FATS is the third component. Nutrients must be in their dissolved form in order for the body to be able to utilize them. In the case of vitamins, there are fat-soluble (A, D, E, K) and the water-soluble (the rest) types. Being a fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin D must be dissolved in fat for it to be transported from the skin to the bones – to assist in bone-building. Much of our fat come from dietary sources, just make sure that the fat is the right kind and not “contaminated”. [One of the functions of fat cells is to serve as a repository of toxins. When toxins are present, the body tries to eliminate them quickly. In the event that the toxin cannot be eliminated at once, the body stores them temporarily in fat cells – “contaminating” them. Toxins stored in fat cells are very difficult to eliminate. The best and most efficient method is through fasting. This is why health enthsiasts and experts always encourage us to fast regularly.]
(4) The last component is the one most people do not want to hear or know – WEIGHT-BEARING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. Even with all the previous three components, strong bones will remain elusive without this last one. Without any weight “threatening” to break our bones, our body has no reason to shore up and build strong bones. We must give the body a reason to increase bone mass – and that is only through weight-bearing physical activity. This is why, in the early days of manned space flights, astronauts have to be assisted out of the returning space capsule after an extended stay in outer space. Since there is little or no gravity way out there, the bones do not “feel a need” to reinforce the bones. Returning astronauts come home with weakened bones. Today, astronauts have exercise equipment in the space station to prevent the bones from becoming “soft”.
Finally, to ensure strong bones, all the dietary components (calcium, vitamin D, fats) must come from organic sources. This ensures their bio-availability/bio-compatibility, making them “acceptable” to the body. Where do we get organic calcium? From mother’s milk (when we were young), from green leafy vegetables (when we have been weaned), from egg shells, and from the bones of bony fish. Among the mammals with the biggest and strongest bones are horses, cattle, hippopotamuses, rhinoceri, elephants, giraffes, yet the adults are never seen drinking milk. They get all their calcium requirements from grass and from leaves – which are all green and leafy. In fact, gram for gram, most green leafy vegetables contain more calcium than milk – e.g., a cup of broccoli has as much calcium as a glass of milk, and calcium from the former is more readily absorbed.
Moreover, even organic calcium does not guarantee strong bones. What really makes bones strong is MAGNESIUM! The strongest bones in our body are our teeth. They can crush bones. And yet, their calcium to bone mass ratio does not vary much from other bones the body. However, their magnesium content is five times greater than any other bone. And, magnesium is the core mineral in chlorophyll – the substance that makes plants green.
One final word regarding calcium. In more and more studies, there is growing evidence that too much calcium in the diet of men is a major contributing factor of prostate problems – like BPH (benign prostate hyperplasia) and prostate cancer. [Women do not exhibit the same tendency, obviously because they have no prostate.]
In my next post, I shall take a breather and talk about something else for a while – “If an apple is good for a person’s health, why is not indigenous everywhere?” and related stuff, then come back.