The amount of new, positive information coming out about milk fat is very exciting. It turns out we knew very little about milk fat and how it positively affects our bodies. The amount of beneficial bioactive components in milk fat may lead us to someday be proclaiming that milk fat is milk’s healthiest component.
New research is showing that milk fat actually can have a positive effect on many of the prevalent health diseases Americans are dealing with today such as atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic diseases. Milk fat is also showing positive benefits in the areas of gut health, cognitive and mental development, immune system health, and even proving to reduce caner.
Not all fat is created equal, and there is a lot of evidence that dairy fat can make you healthier.
1- Fatty Acids in Milk can make your gut healthier – Anticancer, Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Antiviral, and Antifungal properties
It shouldn’t be surprising because milk fat is one of nature’s most complex forms of fat. Milk fat has been found to have over 400 different kinds of fats and fatty acids. (Source) Many of the fatty acids in milk fat have been shown to possess antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, even anti-cancer properties which help to protect your gut from negative influences:
- Butyric Acid– Been shown to be anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, help your gut lining healthy and sealed, therapeutic for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohns disease
- Caproic Acid – SCFA – like butryric acid, anti-inflammatory
- Oleic acid– the same fat that is in olive oil with proven anti-cancer properties. Is associated with anti-cancer activities, reduction of plasmatic CHOL, improvement of the autoimmune system and reduction of the risk of inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases
- Capric Acid – “Capric acid has strong antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Capric acid is converted into monocaprin in the body, where it can help combat viruses, bacteria and the yeast Candida albicans.” (Source)
- Caprylic Acid – According to the Cadida Diet, “kills Candida cells, as well as restoring your stomach acidity to its normal levels.” (Source) Allows your body to become more alkaline.
- Lauric Acid – Your body converts lauric acid to monolaurin, a compound that has antiviral, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal and antifungal properties disrupting the lipid membranes in organisms like fungus, bacteria and viruses, thus destroying them.
- CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) – Has been shown to be anti-cancer and help with weight loss.
- Linolenic Acid – regulates inflammation, a component of cell membranes, and is converted to the longer chain omega-3 fatty acids or DHA. The omega-3 fatty acids have numerous health benefits
- Trans vaccenic acid (TVA) TVA is the main trans octadecenoic FA in milk fat – produced by the rumen microbes, anticarcinogenic
- Phospholipids and sphingolipids from milk globule membrane are potential anticarcinogenic agents
This recent study looked at milk’s anticancer potential http://www.bioscirep.org/content/ppbioscirep/early/2017/10/11/BSR20170705.full.pdf
Fatty acids in Milk help you gut health
Candida Albicans is a gut problem that many people suffer from. It is a chronic yeast overgrowth in your gut causing a number of health problems. It generally happens when people eat too much sugar. Interestingly, capric and caprylic acid in milkfat have been shown to have antifungal properties that would help keep the fungus in check. Dr. Axe sells Caprilic Acid pills but how many people know they just need to eat more butter.
When you consider the incidence of gut health problems in America, you can see that we need more of these types of compounds in our diet than ever before. Short-chain fatty acids like butyric acid (the fatty acid that butter is named for) have been shown to improve your gut lining and be therapeutic for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
2- Milk Fat Globule Membrane (MFGM) can make you smarter
The research is showing that it’s not just the fatty acids; the very membrane that encases the milk fat is even more interesting and equally important for good health. The Milk Fat Globule Membrane, MFGM, is composed of unique bioactive components like phospholipids and glycoproteins and is a unique structure only found in milk.
One recent research study compared infant formula with MFGM and without. Infant formula is usually made with vegetable oils and not dairy fat. Unsurprisingly, the children growing up on the formula with the MFGM were more neuro-developmentally advanced than the ones who grew up on regular infant formula. (Source)
A separate study found that piglets fed formula with MFGM were also more developed cognitively than piglets fed traditional formula without MFGM. The piglets that had more MFGM in their diet were more neurodevelopmentally advanced than piglets without the MFGM in their diet with differences in gray and white matter concentrations in their brains. The piglets also had healthier guts leading the researchers pointing to a healthier gut being critical to cognitive development. MFGM is being found to play a big role in the health of our brain and gut. (Source)
One thing is for sure, milk fat can help you gut and that can make your thinking power and cognitive abilities better.
You can read more about this here http://milkgenomics.org/article/lactoferrin-and-milk-fat-globule-membrane-improve-gut-and-brain-development-in-piglets/
The MFGM layer that surrounds the fat in milk is full of bioactive compounds that are being shown to have a positive effect on your body.
3- Anti-pathogenic potential of Sphingolipids
Interestingly enough, a component of the MFGM called Sphingolipids has been shown to be effective at protecting the gut from bacterial and pathogenic invasions. As an antibacterial agent, sphingolipids have been shown to increase resistance toward intestinal pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella enteritidis, Campylobacter jejuni, and Listeria monocytogenes. Children fed whole milk were 5x less likely to develop gastrointestinal illness than those fed skim milk. Rats were found to have more resistance to colonization of these negative pathogens in their guts when they were fed more milk fat in their diet. (Source)
Sphingolipids have also been found to be important to cognitive development being a fundamental component of the central nervous system and neuron components. Spingolipids have been also shown to be beneficial in helping against heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol, have positive effects on metabolic syndrome, help with insulin resistance, be protective against UV radiation, and even possess anti-proliferative and preventive properties against cancer. (Source)
Health Benefits associated with Spingolipids found in dairy (Source)
Milk Fat is health fat
Milk fat is part of a healthy diet and it really does make sense. The function of milk in life is to pass on nutrients in a highly absorbable form. We are still discovering the mechanisms, but the function proves the premise.
With people are eating less dairy products, it is hard to blame milk fat for society’s health woes. In 1909, Americans consumed 14.3 pounds of butter per person per year; 2004 butter consumption was only at 3.7 pounds per person per year. If milk fat was bad for you, Americans should be healthier than ever before, but that has not been the case with skyrocketing incidence of heart disease, cancer, and obesity.
It turns out the fatty acids in milk fat, milk fat globule membrane, sphingolipids, and array of other bioactive components in milk fat do have a positive effects on our health and may be just the very thing our bodies need. It is good news- Dairy fat can do a body good.
Dairy fat consumption is at all time low levels, yet there is still a health epidemic in America
Americans are following the U.S. dietary guidelines yet there is still an epidemic of poor health in America. Vegetables won’t save us; there is a need to go back to whole milk
Despite current research showing no link between dairy fat and heart disease, the American Heart Association still clings to unproven beliefs and promotes a diet where you “Limit saturated fat.. and replace them with the better fats…” Unfortunately, it didn’t stop the president of the association from having a heart attack at 52.
Combined data from 29 studies and 938,000 people shows no link between dairy fat and heart disease (Source)
A 2017 meta-analysis of 29 studies concluded that consuming dietary dairy fat has no negative effects on all cause mortality or mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD). This includes dairy fats of all types. (Source)
The study title is “Milk and dairy consumption and risk of cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality: dose–response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.” It was published in the European Journal of Epidemiology during April of 2017
The studies were performed over the past 35 years to 2016. The subjects of all 29 studies involved a total of 938,465 people within varying cohorts covering a wide spectrum of economic levels, lifestyles, genders, and ages from around the world.
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