This study looks into Omega-3 Fatty Acids in raw/unprocessed milk and its protective effects against asthma. Consumption of unprocessed cow’s milk contributes to the protective effect of childhood farm exposure on asthma and allergies. We have previously looked into Raw Milk Benefits. The authors concluded that early life raw milk consumption reduced the risk of infections and fevers by 30%. Raw Milk Benefits
However, these studies have never shown the responsible milk components that help protect against asthma and allergies. In a study published in the June 2016 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, authors of the PASTURE (The Protection Against Allergy-Study in Rural Environments) looked studied the milk samples in raw and industrially processed milk.
The milk samples consumed by asthmatic children were specifically low in Omega-3 Fatty Acids compared with those consumed by healthy control subjects. The most relevant Omega-3 Fatty Acids were alpha-linolenic, eicosantrienoic and eicosapentaenoic acid. These Omega-3 Fatty Acids are anti-inflammatory, thus the higher proportion of these milk ingredients might constantly down regulate airway inflammation in asthma children.
Most children consuming raw milk were exposed to higher Omega-3 Fatty Acids on a daily basis since infancy. This contrasts with shorter and less intensive exposure of interventional studies, some of which did not prove an effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acid consumption on asthma.
Regular unprocessed milk consumption was inversely related to asthma onset by age 6 years. The association was stronger with recent exposure compared with exposure in early childhood. This protective effect of native milk was explained partly by absent heating and partly by a higher fat content. The authors concluded that the higher Omega-3 Fatty Acids contained in unprocessed cow’s milk, might contribute to natural asthma prevention.
Future interventional studies will determine whether fortification of industrially processed milk with Omega-3 Fatty Acids might be a promising approach to primary or secondary prevention of asthma.
This is a very interesting study showing that Omega-3 Fatty Acids are higher in raw cows milk. Breast feeding is always the best option for babies and it should always be the first line choice. Previous studies have shown breast feeding lowers the risk for asthma, eczema, food allergies and allergic rhinitis. This study did not compare breast milk versus raw cow’s milk, that may be something the authors look to in the future.