Cow’s milk – not your father’s drink of choice?

When I was a kid, my father, having grown up on a farm, was obsessed with having me drink lots of milk. There was a milk delivery service in Chadron, NE, that brought rich, fresh, whole milk to our door, and I recall drinking at least a gallon a week – sometimes twice that. I was told it would “build strong bones and healthy teeth”, especially during my pubertal years, when there is of course a growth spurt that does indeed require more calcium and good nutrition. (Hence the increased height of American children over the past century…)

But there is a dark side to this story. In an article in Medscape today, there is a lovely review of another pathway that stimulates prostate cancer, namely one that involves the PI3K-Akt-mTORC1 pathway. It is way beyond this blog to try and go into this pathway in any detail, but suffice it to say that the authors present a powerful (albeit very long) argument that leucine, a branched chain amino acid found in high concentration in cow’s milk stimulates this pathway and can lead to prostate cancer growth and metastases. I will reproduce here (and without permission….I wonder if that is needed in the blog world…) a couple of the figures that illustrate the point. (note I am not plagiarizing since I give you the link to the original article containing these figures)

Screen Shot 2013-01-28 at 12.37.20 PM


This figure illustrates how leucine interacts with the signaling pathways that might lead to prostate cancer or stimulate its growth.

Screen Shot 2013-01-28 at 12.37.55 PMThis figure demonstrates the increased consumption of milk products like cheese and milk that have occurred over time in western countries.

The bottom line here is that milk and cheese have a dark side and we should probably curtail our intake, especially in families who have high prostate cancer rates. It would be nice to go into all 250+ articles the authors cite, but trust me, their arguments are very well founded. Too bad, since I love cheese so much !



Filed under General Prostate Cancer Issues

12 responses to “Cow’s milk – not your father’s drink of choice?

  1. Donald Welker

    Mike, I also am one of those that loved my milk. Up until a a year or two ago I would consume close to a half gallon a day. I have now switched to “Almond Milk”, your thoughts on the Almond Milk?


  2. Joe Blue

    Thanks! Do the findings apply to fat free cow’s milk?

  3. Geezer

    Yes, everything we like is under suspicion. The only evolutionary purpose I can imagine is to attack big sports players…

  4. Bob Lederer

    I grew up in Wisconsin. Same story about my youth. The good news is that I developed lactase deficiency early in life. I have passed that defect on to my two male children. Unfortunately I still like cheese (as in Cheesehead).

  5. stevenmeyrich

    Nutrition Action commented on this study and suggested non-fat milk was okay -I guess not?

    • Well, non-fat milk would still have the evil amino acids, so not sure why nutrition action would say that (whoever they are…). However, low fat is always a good idea in prostate/heart diets.

  6. Pingback: Calcium and Vit D supplements | prost8blog

  7. David Stevens

    I had my last glass of milk in 1979 (due to a bowel disorder). I eat ice cream around twice each year while traveling – never on home turf. I do love great cheese, however. I suspect I should give up cheese completely but wonder if a little, once a great while, is safe. Or….are cow dairy products a deadly poison to us all? What about dairy products from goats and sheep? They make some great cheese from those animals.

    • I suspect the amino acid makeup of most milk is similar.

      • David Stevens

        I guess I have one last question regarding dairy products, then. I drink two cups of coffee upon waking – – that’s it. I put one tablespoon of half and half into each cup of coffee. No sugar. Do you think those two tablespoons of half and half each morning are a danger to me? My Gleason at surgery was 9. I’ve eliminated all other dairy products completely.

  8. Seems like that would fit into the “moderation in all things” approach to life that I believe in.

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