Thursday, April 19, 2007

Evil on the Horizon

I have some very good friends who are milk drinkers and every time I see them aim the carton for their mouth I want to dive on it like a live grenade. Though they appreciate my passion, I'm not sure it would go over well. Even still, I really didn't want to write about milk again but recent data forces me to at least give it a mention.

First, this from Dr. Mercola: There has been a continuing erosion of organic standards since large corporations started struggling for a share of the market. According to this recent NewsTarget interview with Ronnie Cummins of the Organic Consumers Association, the standards for organic milk have been particularly compromised.

Horizon Organic, the company that supplies Wal-Mart, has continually ignored federal organic standards -- specifically, a cow's access to pasture.

Their "organic" milk actually comes from factory-style dairy farms where the animals are kept in intensive confinement and have been imported from conventional farms as calves.

In fact, the problem has gotten so out of hand that the Organic Consumers Association has called for a consumer boycott on Horizon and its partner Aurora Organic, its first for an "organic" product.

'Organic' is such a pretty word isn't it? It would be prettier still if it meant something. When it doesn't, don't spend the extra money just to see it in print. Instead consider naming your first child 'Organic' then you'd get to yell it off the back porch.

The other compelling reason to give milk another mention is the research by Dr. Loren Cordain. In The Paleo Diet Newsletter, December 15, 2006, Volume 2, Issue 5, Cordian explains how milk increases stimulation of the EGF Receptor, a hormonal receptor that's responsible for stimulating healing and maintaining the integrity of the cells lining the gastrointestinal track. Believe me when I say this is covered thoroughly and includes diagrams that either explain chemical processes or are 'Exhibit A' in a contested motor vehicle accident. Either way, I've included the punchline below.

So, what’s wrong with increased stimulation of the EGF receptor? First off, when a member of the EGF hormonal family binds the EGF receptor it sets off a chemical cascade that ultimately causes more EGF receptors to be synthesized. This process is known as up regulation. Higher concentrations of EGF up-regulate the EGF-R (12, 13). So, by ingesting supplemental betacellulin from cow’s milk, the number of EGF receptors may increase in the gut and in peripheral tissues bearing the EGF receptor. A higher betacellulin concentration in the bloodstream along with increased numbers of EGF receptors causes an increase in signaling (flux) through the EGF receptor pathway.

Overexpression of the EGF receptor and hence increased flux through this pathway occurs in a wide variety of cancers including: breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, lung, pancreatic, bladder, stomach, and head and neck cancers (13, 14, 15). Higher concentrations of the EGF receptor increases cancer recurrence, reduces survival and increases tumor progression and development (13). Activation of the EGF receptor by the EGF family of hormones, including betacellulin, promotes cancer by 1) increasing cell proliferation, 2) decreasing programmed cell death (apoptosis), 3) increasing tumor formation and progression and, 4) increasing growth of blood vessels (angiogenesis) within tumors (14).

NOTE TO MICHAEL: Yes, I know you love milk. I understand that it's free at Microsoft. I get that it zone blocks oh-so-nicely. I dig that it's a darn convenient source of calories. But, Baby, with the support of your friends and family we can kick this thing!