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NEWS | March 16, 2017

Studies show milk is safe to drink

By 2nd Lt. Vladi Ivanova Brooke Army Medical Center

New cancer-causing agents seem to arise daily in consumer products. Some products are used so rarely that potential harm is not considered.


However, products consumed on a regular basis, like milk, raise a high level of concern. Some companies advertise that their milk is superior because it is not produced with recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH.


Recombinant bovine growth hormone is a man-made hormone that increases cell growth and replication and is given to cows in order to raise milk production. This hormone has been in use since approved by the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, in 1993. 


Consuming dairy produced by cows treated with rBGH can increase a growth hormone called insulin-like growth factor-1. The hormone IGF-1 is naturally produced in humans during childhood and adolescence and may have the ability to turn on cancer-causing cells. This has caused consumers to raise concern about dairy and its potential to cause cancer.


The American Cancer Society, FDA and American Institute for Cancer Research have taken a unified stance. The amount of rBGH found in cow’s milk does not significantly increase IGF-1 in our blood.


In fact, one study estimated that the additional amount of IGF-1 produced is only about 0.09 percent higher than normal adult production.


Currently, all three organizations do not express concerns about rBGH use and its impact on cancer cells. However, they are continuously examining new research as it becomes available.


There is limited evidence to show milk containing rBGH causes cancer, so embrace those milk mustaches and aim for three servings of dairy per day.