Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access
Total views : 193

Cow's Milk: Nutritional Relevance beyond its Intolerance and Allergies


  • Medical Research Centre, Kasturba Health Society, 17, Khandubhai Desai Road, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai - 400056, India
  • Integrative Nutrition and Ayurceuticals, Medical Research Centre, Kasturba Health Society, 17, Khandubhai Desai Road, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai - 400056, India
  • Division of Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders, Medical Research Centre, Kasturba Health Society, 17, Khandubhai Desai Road, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai - 400056, India


Since antiquity mankind has been nourished on milk, a rich source of good quality protein, lactose, fats, vitamins and minerals. However, the health benefits of milk vs. its probable adverse health effects are being debated. This has triggered a trend of completely excluding milk from diet. This is of concern, especially in India, where milk has been a key dietary component especially for children and only source of first class proteins for vegetarians.

This article reviews current scientific literature on the effect of milk on health and disease. Original articles and review articles from high impact biomedical journals from PubMed, official documents released by the Govt. of India available from Google and diverse social media were extensively studied including Wikipedia articles and blogs from various sites. The prime issues; viz., milk allergy, lactose intolerance, adulterants and recently A1 milk, questioning the health benefits of milk are discussed and possible ways to overcome the problems are suggested.


Cow Milk, Nutrition, Milk Allergy, A1-β Casein, Milk Intolerance, Indigenous Cows.

Full Text:

 |  (PDF views: 1)


  • Chawre SV, Shinde VS, Kabra PR et al. Therapeutic and nutritional significance of Dugdha (Milk) with reference to cow milk. Int. Res. J. Pharm. 2014;5(6): 449-453.
  • National Workshop on Gavya-chikitsa for Health. Organized by MRC-KHS, Mumbai and Holistic Health Foundation, Hyderabad, 29-30th June 2013.
  • Symposium: Gavyachikitsa: Myths or Reality Indian Pharmacology Society (IPSCON 2015), Saurashtra University, Rajkot, Gujarat 18-20th December 2015.
  • Haug A, Haustmark AT, Harstad OM. Bovine milk in human nutrition – a review. Lipids Health Dis. 2007; 6: 25.
  • Nutrient content of milk varieties.
  • Bainbridge ML, Cersosimo LM, WrightA-D G, Kraft J. Content and composition of branched - chain fatty acids in bovine milk are affected by lactation stage and breed of dairy cow. Plos ONE 11(3)e0150386. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0150386
  • Agnihotri MK, Rajkumar V. Effect of Breed, Parity and Stage of Lactation on Milk Composition of Western Region Goats of India. International Journal of Dairy Science. 2007;2: 172-177.
  • Thorning TK , Raben A, Tholstrup T ,SoedamahMuthu S S et al. Milk and dairy products: good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evidence. AdvNutr. 2016;7:1026-1040.
  • Riserus U, Marklund M. Milk fat biomarkers and cardiometabolic disease. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2017;28:46-51
  • Kim SH, Kim WK, Kang MH. Effect of milk and milk products consumption on physical growth and bone mineral density in Korean adolescents. Nutr Res Pract. 2013;7(4):309-314.
  • Naik S, Bhide V, Babhulkar A, Mahalle N et al. Daily milk intake improves vitamin B-12 status in young vegetarian Indians: an intervention trial Nutrition Journal. 2013;12:136. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-136.
  • Barr SI, McCarron DA, Heaney RP, Hughes BD et al. Effects of increased consumption of fluid milk on energy and nutrient intake, body weight, and cardiovascular risk factors in healthy older adults. J. Am Dietetic Association. 2000;100(7):810-817.
  • Lien do TK, Nhung BT, Khan NC, Hop le T, Nga NT et al. Impact of milk consumption on performance and health of primary school children in rural Vietnam. Asia Pac J ClinNutr.2009;18 (3):326-334.
  • Rahmani K, Djazayery A, Habibi MI, Heidari H, Dorosti-Motlagh AR et al. Effects of daily milk supplementation on improving the physical and mental function as well as school performance among children: results from a school feeding program. Res Med Sci. 2011;16(4): 469–476.
  • Choi IY, Denney DR, Spaeth K, Nast O, Ptomey L et al. Dairy intake is associated with brain glutathione concentration in older adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;101:287-93.
  • Elwood PC, Givens DI, Beswick AD, Fehily AM et al. The survival advantage of milk and dairy consumption: an overview of evidence from cohort studies of vascular diseases, diabetes and cancer. J Am Coll Nutr. 2008;27(6): 723S–734S.
  • Jakubowicz D, Froy O. Biochemical and metabolic mechanisms by which dietary whey protein may combat obesity and Type 2 diabetes. J Nutr Biochem. 2013; 24: 1–5.
  • Parodi PW. Conjugated linoleic acid and other anticarcinogenic agents of bovine milk fat. A symposium on: A BOLD NEW LOOK AT MILK FAT. J Dairy Sci. 1999; 82:1339-1349.
  • Nantapo CTW, Muchenje V, Hugo A. Atherogenicity index and health-related fatty acids in different stages of lactation from Friesian, Jersey and Friesian x Jersey cross cow milk under a pasture-based dairy system. Food Chemistry. 2014;146:127-133.
  • Korhonen H, Pihlanto A. Technological Option for the Production of health-promoting proteins and peptides derived from milk and colostrum. Curr Phramceutical Design. 2007;13:829-843.
  • Korhonen HJ. Production and properties of healthpromoting proteins and peptides from bovine colostrum and milk. Cell Mol Biol. 2012;58(1):26-38.
  • Sampson HA. Utility of food-specific IgE concentrations in predicting symptomatic food allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001;107(5):891-896.
  • Fiocchi A, Brozek J, Schu¨nemann H, BahnaSL, von Berg A, Beyer K et al.World Allergy Organization (WAO) Diagnosis and rationale for action against cow’s milk allergy (DRACMA) guidelines. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2010;21Suppl 21:1-125.
  • Hochwallner H, Schulmeister U, Swoboda I, Spitzauer S et al. Cow’s milk allergy: From allergens to new forms of diagnosis, therapy and prevention. Methods. 2014; 66:22-33.
  • Skripak JM, Matsui EC, Mudd K, Wood RA. The natural history of IgE-mediated Cow’s milk allergy. J. Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007;120(5):1172-7.
  • Matthews SB, Waud JP, Roberts AG et al. Systemic lactose intolerance: a new perspective on an old problem. Postgraduate Medical Journal. 2005;81:167-173.
  • Deng Y, Misselwitz B, Dai N, Fox M. Lactose intolerance in adults:Biological mechanism and dietary management. Nutrients. 2015;7(9):8020-8035.
  • Silanikove N, Leitner G, Merin U. The Interrelationships between lactose intolerance and the modern dairy industry: Global perspectives in evolutional and historical backgrounds. Nutrients. 2015;7:7312-7331.
  • Tandon RK, Joshi YK, Singh DS, Narendranathan M, Balakrishnan V et al. Lactose intolerance in North and South Indians. Am J ClinNutr. 1981;34(5):943-6.
  • Babu J, Kumar S, Babu P, Prasad JH et al. Frequency of lactose malabsorption among Healthy southern and northern Indian populations by genetic analysis and lactose hydrogen breath and tolerance tests. Am J ClinNutr. 2010;91(1):140-6.
  • Ghoshal UC, Kumar S, Misra A, Mittal B. Lactose malabsorption diagnosed by 50-g dose is inferior to assess clinical intolerance and to predict response to milk withdrawal than 25-g dose in an endemic area. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013;28(9):1462-8.
  • Usai-Satta P, Scarpa M, Oppia F, Cabras F. Lactose malabsorption and intolerance: What should be the best clinical management? World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2012;3(3):29-33.
  • M¹dry E, Fidler E, Walkowiak J. Lactose intolerance – current state of knowledge. Acta Sci. Pol., Technol. Aliment. 2010;9(3):343-350.
  • Yvan V. Lactose intolerance. Asia Pac J ClinNutr. 2015;24(Suppl 1):S9-S13 S9.
  • Misselwitz B, Pohl D, Frühauf H, Fried M, Vavricka SR et al. Lactose malabsorption and intolerance: pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment. United European Gastroenterol J. 2013;1(3):151–159.
  • Swin Burn B. Beta casein A1 and A2 in milk and human health. Report to New Zealand Food Safety Authority. 2004 industry/beta_casein-report_reviews.pdf
  • Kaminski S, Cieslinska A, Kostyra E. Polymorphism of bovine beta-casein and its potentialeffect on human health. Journal of Applied Genetics. 2007;48(3):189-198.
  • Ng-Kwai-Hang, KF, F Grosclaude. Genetic polymorphism of milk proteins. In Fox PF and McSweeney PLH (eds), Advanced Dairy Chemistry, Chapter 16:737-814. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York. Print, 2002.
  • Pal S, Woodford K, Kukuljan S, Ho S. Milk Intolerance, Beta-Casein and Lactose. Nutrients. 2015;7(9):7285-7297.
  • Noni ID, FitzGerald RJ, Korhonen HJT, Roux YL, Livesey CT et al. Review of the potential health impact of â-casomorphins and related peptides. Report of the DATEX Working Group on â-casomorphins. European Food Safety Authority, 2009
  • Mohammad RH, Kapilaa R, Shandilyaa UK,Kapilaa S. Impact of Milk derived â-casomorphins on Physiological functions and trends in research: A Review. Int J Food Properties. 2014;17:1726-1741.
  • Ganapathy, V, S Miyauchi. Transport systems for opioid peptides in mammalian tissues. AAPS J. 2005;7(4):E852-6.
  • Parashar A, Saini RK. A1 milk and its controversy-a review. Int J Bioassay. 2015;4.12: 4611-4619.
  • Truswell AS. The A2 milk case: a critical review. Eu J of ClinNutr. 2005;59:623-631.
  • De S, Paradkar P, Vaidya A. Indian breed cow milk – power house of health, 2015.
  • Zaitlin P, Dwyer J, Gleason GR. Mistaken beliefs and the facts about milk and dairy foods. Nutrition Today. 201348(3):135–143.
  • Deth R, Clarke A, Ni J, Trivedi M. Clinical evaluation of glutathione concentrations after consumption of milk containing different subtypes of â-casein: results from a randomized, cross-over clinical trial. Nutrition Journal. 2015;15:82.
  • Mishra BP, Mukesh M, Prakash B, Sodhi M, Kapila R. Kishore A et al. Status of milk protein â-casein variants among Indian milch animals. Indian J of Animal Sciences.2009;79(7):722-5.
  • Govt. of India. 19th Livestock Census -2012 – All India Report. Livestock.pdf


  • There are currently no refbacks.