Milk - not doing a body good. Exploring the connection with stress, histamine, heart disease, diabetes, autism/asd, schizophrenia, more…
Milk is a sedative:
For generations, mothers have given their children a warm glass of milk before bed as a way to help them fall asleep. As far back as 1934, this home remedy gained scientific validation when it was observed that people who ate milk and cornflakes were more likely to enjoy a full night of uninterrupted sleep.
In 1997, pediatric researchers added to the evidence by demonstrating that newborns given an infant formula containing milk fell asleep not solely due to nursing and being held, but owing specifically to something in milk itself.
In 2000, researchers identified what that “something” was. It turns out that nutrients found in cow’s milk called bioactive peptides (chains of amino acids) exert a sedative effect on the brain and induce sustained sleep patterns.
These bioactive milk peptides have since been shown to act on the brain’s GABA-A receptors, the same mechanism of action that makes the class of sedatives known as benzodiazepines so effective. The advantage of milk peptides, of course, is that they induce relaxation and sleep without the side effects associated with long-term benzodiazepine use.
In pre-clinical models, milk peptides markedly reduce anxiety and improve sleep in animals subjected to chronic stress.
In human studies, a proprietary bioactive milk peptide compound used widely in Europe has been shown to effectively induce relaxation, leading not only to deeper, more restorative sleep, but also to substantial improvements across a wide range of stress markers.
The article cited above goes on to talk about how their milk extract is marvelous, and how it succeeds in reducing stress in additional clinical trials.
Milk contains casein…
Casein has been documented to break down in the stomach to produce the peptide casomorphin, an opioid that acts as a histamine releaser.
What are the effects of this histamine release?. It’s complicated because there are multiple receptors for it:H1,H2,H3,H4, each of which do something different when histamine is released and stimulates them:
- [H1] Histamine heightens allergic reactions and those you experience during colds and allergies. It makes you more likely to cough and sneeze. On your skin it makes you more likely to have eczema and get hives and it makes insect bites more itchy. For your stomach, it heightens nausea and motion sickness. It also wakes the body up, perhaps to deal with these perceived problems.
- [H2] Histamine dilates your blood vessels, and is involved in erections. It also inhibits part of your immune system (antibody synthesis, T-cell proliferation and cytokine production).
- [H3] Makes you sleepy and lessens pain perception. So H1 makes you awake, but H3 makes you sleep, so for whatever reason milk’s action on the H3 histamine receptors appear to override its effects on H1 receptors.
- [H4] Active in bone marrow and the immune system.
So how to make sense of these different ways in which Histamine acts? As this site says,
Histamine is an immune system mediator or, more simply, a chemical messenger that helps direct your body’s response to a foreign invader.
It essentially tells your body, get overly active in fighting off a perceived acute disease or threat of some sort - and get a little bit stressed out about it - and lower general immunity, relax with respect anything other than this acute problem, and go to sleep.
So histamine takes a small issue - whether it’s bee pollen or some other allergen, and makes your body perceive it to be a huge problem and totally focuses your body on defending itself from said problem. My guess is it does the same thing in your brain personality-wise. It makes you more likely to recognize something small as a major acute problem which must be dealt with immediately. In the absence of a perceived stress - which would probably be amplified by the histamine - it is likely sedative.
Milk is bad in other ways….
Milk contains a small amount of actual morphine - which in itself is interesting.
Casein breaks down down into a few things in your gut, one of which is BCM-7.
BCM-7 has been implicated in the development of both ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and diabetes mellitus type I (DM-I) (Elliott et al. 1999; Thorsdottir et al. 2000; McLachlan 2001; Laugesen and Elliott 2003; Tailford et al. 2003)
For IHD, BCM-7 could act on LDL through peroxidation of the lipids within LDL through a tyrosyl radical mechanism of action (Elliott at al. 1999; Heinecke et al. 1999).
For DM-I…BCM-7 suppresses immune defense mechanisms by inhibiting the incorporation of thymidine into lymphocyte DNA replication thereby inhibiting lymphocyte proliferation (Elitsur and Luk 1991). This generates an immune vulnerability (in the case of DMI) to a certain class of enteroviruses that are still being researched as they may have potential key roles in the damage done to pancreatic beta cells (Graves et al. 1997). Through BCM-7 compromising the immune system, the system is more vulnerable to all kinds of pathogenic infections.
BCM-7 acts on the mu-opioid receptor which in turn causes the release of histamine (Kostyra et al. 2004)
The suspected heart disease and diabetes mechanism has everything to do with the protein in milk (Casein which breaks down into BCM-7) and little to do with the saturated fat in the milk. More on that correlation.
Milk causes a release of intestinal mucous.
Like heroin or codeine, casomorphins slow intestinal movements and have a decided antidiarrheal effect. The opiate effect may be why adults often find that cheese can be constipating, just as opiate painkillers are.
More on that release of intestinal mucous.
There is some evidence that casein and gluten (a milk protein) worsen autism, and move you along the autistic scale.
Studies involving large samples of patients with autism, schizophrenia, or mania found that over 90 % of those tested had high levels of the milk protein beta-casomorphine-7 in their blood and urine and defective enzymatic processes for digesting milk protein(24,25,27), and similarly for the corresponding enzyme needed to digest wheat gluten(24,26). Like casein, gluten breaks down into molecules with opioid traits, called gluteomorphine or gliadin. As with caseomorphin, it too can retain biological activity if the enzymes needed to digest it are not functioning properly..
In hydrolysed milk with variant A1 of beta-casein, BCM-7 level is 4-fold higher than in A2 milk. Variants A1 and A2 of beta-casein are common among many dairy cattle breeds. A1 is the most frequent in Holstein-Friesian (0.310–0.660), Ayrshire (0.432–0.720) and Red (0.710) cattle. In contrast, a high frequency of A2 is observed in Guernsey (0.880–0.970) and Jersey (0.490–0.721) cattle(92). In children with autism, most of whom have been found to have been exposed to high levels of toxic metals through vaccines, mother’s dental amalgams, or other sources; higher levels ofBCM-7 is found in the blood(24-26).
Epidemiological evidence from New Zealand claims that consumption of beta-casein A1 is associated with higher national mortality rates from ischaemic heart disease. It appears that the populations that consume milk containing high levels of beta-casein A2 have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 1 diabetes.
A double blind study using a potent opiate antagonist, naltrexone (NAL), produced significant reduction in autistic symptomology among the 56% most responsive to opioid effects(28).
Of course you’ll get less heart disease in a population that drinks a form of milk with less beta-casein, but of course one might postulate that heart disease would be further reduced with casein and milk elimination.