There’s no dispute as to what breast milk does to infants. It’s the first food babies test in their mouths when they are born and the only food supplying all their nutritional needs for the first months of their lives. Breast milk contains the perfect combination of vitamins, fat, proteins and minerals to aid in the health, growth, immunity, and development of young babies. So, what happens when adults decide to supplement breast milk in their diets? Is it healthy to drink breast milk as an adult? Well, keep reading to find out.
Separating the Myths from Facts
We all know this goodness in breast milk. What most people don’t know is that human breast milk is now being traded online for adult consumption. Discussion forums are buzzing with the supposed health benefits of consuming breast milk as an adult.
The establishment of sites selling breast milk intended for mothers to donate their breast milk to fellow mothers. For most of us, drinking breast milk as a grown man or woman is accompanied by the ‘yack’ feeling. However, some of these sites now have a section for adults or men buying breast milk.
According to a report in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the author, Dr. Sarah Steele of the Queen Mary University of London, claims that there is no evidence linking human raw milk to health benefits in adults. If anything, she adds that there are potential health risks for taking breast milk as an adult. A mother’s milk is custom-made for her young baby. When you purchase milk online, you don’t know the health condition of the person you’re buying it from. Human body fluids such as urine, saliva, and milk carry diseases such as HIV, STIs, hepatitis among other deadly infectious diseases.
Why Breast Milk Might Not Be Beneficial to Adults
The nutritional benefits of a mother’s breast milk to her infant doesn’t produce the same benefits for an adult. An infant’s gut breaks down the milk differently compared to how an adult gut breaks down the same milk. Plus, a grown up’s gut has a harsh environment compared to that of a young baby. Enzyme and acid levels are high in an adult gut and the immune benefits of breast milk wouldn’t do any good in such an environment. Because they are still in their developing stages, an infant’s nutritional needs change as he/she grows. Dr. Sarah Steele notes that nutritionally, breast milk contains less protein compared to cow’s milk and other types of milk.
Bodybuilders and athletes believe that breast milk is the magic recipe to enhance their performance. Jill Sheriff, an Associate Professor and an expert in nutritional biochemistry at Curtin University, says that adults taking breast milk do no gain any nutritional benefits that cannot be obtained from other readily available food sources.
Breast Milk and Cancer
It’s not easy to see your loved one going through the pain and suffering of cancer. People can do anything to find a cure, and drinking breast milk has fallen into this quest. A woman who claims breast milk to have contributed to her cancer treatment has led many people to believe that they could do the same. It’s important to note that she was also undergoing chemotherapy which could have had a huge impact on her treatment. Is this false hope? Well, according to research which focuses on Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor Cells (HAMLET), a substance formed by certain molecules in breast milk, there might be some link to fighting cancer cells. However, no clinical trials have been carried out so far and it might be too soon to raise our hopes high.
Black Market Breast Milk is Unsafe
Despite the lack of a scientific backed-research supporting the benefits of breast milk for full-grown babies, that is adults, the black market is booming with business. Buyers are connected with lactating mothers, notwithstanding the fact that the milk might not be safe considering you don’t know what that person drinks, eats or smokes. Quality control is of great importance when it comes to food. Sanitization and hygiene from the moment the mother starts pumping milk to refrigeration to transportation may have been compromised. This makes taking such milk a risky endeavor because there’s no way to tell if it’s screened for food-borne diseases.
Leave Breast Milk to Babies
Considering the facts laid out in this article, it’s hard to say why there’s a growing obsession for breast milk among some people. There’s no real research about breast milk for adults currently and the primary focus is on how a mother’s breast milk benefits her child. Milk banks are specifically established to help those mothers who can’t produce enough milk for their babies and premature babies. Since we can get the nutritional value that milk has in other foods, let’s stop the fetish and address the real issue of breastfeeding our young ones for the recommended period.