© Robert Anderson PhD
Originally published in Organic New Zealand, March/April 2003, Vol. 62, No 2
   Is anything more aggravating than buying what you understand to be organic food only to discover that it is not organic and that industry has, once again, 'meddled' with it? 
   My wife returned from a supermarket recently having purchased a bottle of 'Simply Organic' milk.  On reading the label more closely, we found it was nothing of the sort.  In the fine print we read that, as well as being pasteurised, this so-called 'organic milk' was also homogenised.  But, you ask, “homogenising was developed for the benefit of consumers, surely?”  Not true.  Homogenising was developed to reduce the fat particles to such a fine extent they no longer separate out, so that the milk lasts longer on the shelf. 
   It is only one of many processes food is now subjected to entirely for commercial purposes.  Consumers have to contend with foods being irradiated, genetically engineered, homogenised and processed using any other novel method that will benefit the corporations producing it. 
   Homogenising extends milk shelf-life to 11 days or so.  It has no beneficial food value; in fact, the very opposite.  According to government statistics, 50 percent of New Zealanders die from heart disease, 25 percent from cancer and five percent from diabetes.  Now, it seems, homogenised milk may be a leading contributor.
   Dr Kurt Oster, head of cardiology in Connecticut, has been researching and gathering evidence about homogenised milk for over 20 years.  This questionable process began being introduced by dairy companies as far back as 1932.  Most of the milk consumed in the US is now homogenised.  Dr Oster's findings conclusively show that in the process of extending shelf life and stopping the cream separating out of milk, medicine has a clear culprit for increased arteriosclerosis.  Dr Oster's findings link the formation of the plaque which clogs arteries directly to ingesting homogenised milk. 
   According to Dr Oster, with Dr Donald Ross of Fairfield University and Dr John Zikakis of the University of Delaware, homogenising allows the enzyme, xanthine oxidase (XO), to pass intact into the blood stream.  There it attacks the plasmologen tissue of the artery walls and parts of the heart muscle.  This causes lesions that the body tries to heal by laying down a protective layer of cholesterol.  The end result is scar tissue and calcified plaques with a build-up of cholesterol and other fatty deposits.  We call these arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis.  According to these experts, dietary cholesterol is not the main cause of heart attacks; it is homogenised milk. 
   Finns consume about 272 kg of milk each per year; 90 percent is homogenised, meaning 245kg of homogenised milk per Finn per year.  Swedes drink about 60 percent as much milk, but only two percent of it is homogenised (only 4.9kg per year).  The heart attack death rate in Finland is more than three times the Swedish level (about 245/100,000 compared with only 75/100,000).  These statistics should serve to warn us that something is seriously wrong.  Homogenisation could also be one of the major reasons for allergies to milk.  As Dr Oski said in the finish of his disturbing book, Don't Drink Your Milk [4] “Milk has no valid claim as the perfect food.  As nutrition, it produces allergies in infants, diarrhoea and cramps in the older child and adult, and may be a factor in the development of heart attacks and strokes.”
Even standard milk pasteurisation brings problems
   It changes calcium into an insoluble form which we can no longer absorb.  The old myth that you can get calcium from milk is very shaky indeed and we have major increases in osteoporosis even though plenty of milk is consumed.[1]  It is a common misconception that dairy products are a good source of calcium, but the amount of phosphorus also in milk blocks its absorption.  People who drink a lot of milk have even been found to have a higher incidence of osteoporosis.  Furthermore, the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research has shown that pasteurisation destroys the vitamin A, around 38 percent of the vitamin B complex, and about 50 percent of the vitamin C content of milk.  Research has also shown that an anti-cancer metabolite contained in raw milk is destroyed in pasteurisation, and many enzymes are also damaged.
   A recent study by Auckland medical researchers,[2] published in the latest issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal, also suggests a strong link between consuming milk with A1 beta-casein - which most New Zealanders consume each day - and heart disease and Type 1 diabetes.  One of the most outspoken opponents of dairy products is American, Dr William Ellis, who said:  “Over my 42 years of
practice, I've performed more than 25,000 blood tests for my patients.  These tests show conclusively, in my opinion, that adults who use milk products do not absorb nutrients as well as adults who don't.  Of course, poor absorption, in turn, means chronic fatigue.”[3]  While pasteurising may well ruin several valuable components in milk, homogenising makes it much worse.
Fragmenting the fats – how it works
   When milk is not homogenised two important constituents — xanthine oxidase (XO) and the cream - are digested first in our stomachs and then in the small intestine.  These digested components are then metabolised normally by our body.  According to Dr Oster's studies, homogenising allows a large portionof the XO and fat molecules to pass straight into the bloodstream unaltered. 
   Homogenisation forces the milk under extreme pressure, through tiny holes.  This breaks up the normally large fat particles into tiny ones and forces the fat to form tiny molecular clusters, thus ensuring that the molecules do not regroup and form a cream layer on top of the milk.  Instead, in this denatured state, they stay suspended in the milk.  However, not only do they not regroup, the process also makes digestion almost impossible.  The tiny molecules enter the bloodstream directly as undigested fat not exactly the best for human health.
   Xanthine oxidase has a very specific function in our bodies.  It breaks down purine compounds into uric acid, which is a waste product.  The liver of several animals, including humans, contains xanthine oxidase specifically for this purpose.
   However, as Dr Oster said, “When foreign XO, such as that from cow's milk, enters the bloodstream it causes havoc by attacking specific targets within the artery walls.”  The “specific target” which Dr Oster refers to, as mentioned earlier, is the plasmologen tissue making up the artery cell walls.  Plasmologen is vital as it holds together the cell membranes within the artery walls.  Any damage from foreign xanthine oxidase causes lesions to the artery walls.  The body, in its efforts to protect and repair them,  immediately responds by “patching” the damage with calcified plaque.  In the later stages of arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis, arteries lose their elasticity as additional calcium is deposited.  Calcification of the arteries can contribute to high blood pressure which is actually not a disease by itself, merely a symptom.  It has been found in some samples that plasmologen was missing in artery wall lesions and plaques.  The mystery was solved when researchers found XO in the plaques.  The two substances cannot co-exist.
   So what should we do?  Firstly, we must minimise non-preferred fats in the diet.  Preferred fats include fish oils and seafood oils, evening primrose oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil, and small amounts of butter.  Non-preferred fats include homogenised milk fats, processed oils, margarine and excess animal fat.  The use of trans-fatty acids (bad fats) potentially results in deterioration of cell membranes and a degradation of the immune system.  If you still opt to drink milk, make sure that you carefully read the label on your next bottle.  Homogenised is not organic!
Robert Anderson BSc (Hons), PhD - 4 February 1942 to 5 December 2008
Robert Anderson was a Trustee of Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility (formerly Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics) He authored The Final Pollution: Genetic Apocalypse, Exploding the Myth of Genetic Engineering and several other publications on environmental, health and social justice issues. 
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1. People in the US and Scandinavian countries consume more dairy products than anywhere else in the world, yet they have the highest rates of osteoporosis (din OrthoRelated Res, 152; 35,1980). This fact emphasises the threat of excessive protein in the diet and suggest that dairy products offer no protection against osteoporosis, probably due to the high protein content of milk (Am J Clin Nutr, 41; 254, 1985).
2. All cows' milk in New Zealand contains the A1 beta-casein protein and this has been shown recently to increase rates of heart disease and childhood diabetes. Diabetes, heart risk linked to NZ milk, 24.01.2003, NZ Herald. Original article see Jan issue New Zealand Medical Journal.
3. Healthview Newsletter, Virginia, Spring 1978.
4. Published by Mollica Press.