*WINNER* Hormones in Dairy and the Effect on Human Health

  • Lina Hernandez


Is there a connection between an animal-based diet, particularly milk and the prevalence of obesity, early menarche in children and hormone dependent cancer? One-hundred years ago the economy was mainly agrarian, the mass production of milk was in its infancy, and the use of hormones and synthetic hormones did not exist. The use of Synthetic hormones in milk has raised concerns since the major source of estrogen in the diet is from milk derived from pregnant cows when the concentration of estrogen in blood, and hence in milk, increases.   This has prompted many studies about safe levels and the long-term health risk of animal-derived food sources. If hormones are a potential culprit in endocrine disruptions and physiological effects, what could be the possible health risks? Studies have suggested that endocrine disruptions could be related to low-dose and long-term exposure of hormones, especially for specific and sensitive populations at their critical stage of development; fetal and prepubertal children. The normal production of estradiol in the body for prepubertal children traditionally were determined using radioimmunoassay (RIA) from the 1970s, the findings presented huge discrepancies in the levels of natural estrogen in the blood of prepubertal children. This discrepancy triggered new studies which reevaluated the established recommendations by the FDA. New studies used the ultrasensitive recombinant yeast bioassay (RCBA) and detected that estradiol concentration levels in prepubertal children was almost 100-fold lower than previously reported. One concern is that even miniscule amounts of estrogen could affect prepubescent girls and boys.
Human Ecology