Young Scientist study looks at effects of raw milk on asthma sufferers

Second year students from Bandon Grammar School’s project looks at the effects of raw milk on asthma sufferers at the Young Scientist exhibition.

Lauren Bateman and Grace Kingston are both from dairy farms and became interested in the topic when we noted that Lauren drank pasteurised milk as a child and Grace drank unpasteurised milk. Lauren suffered from bad asthma as a child and Grace did not. We wondered whether there was a link between the raw milk and asthma.

“We wondered whether there was a link between the raw milk and asthma. For our project, we selected a number of asthma sufferers to take part in a small trial which involved drinking raw milk once a day for two weeks,” said Lauren.

“The candidates were asked to note their general wellbeing, use of inhaler and incidents in which they had asthma attack each day for the two weeks. Results were compiled and make for interesting reading,” said Grace.

Raw milk
Raw milk is milk that has not been processed in any way it is un-pasteurised (not heat treated), un-homogenized, (cream rises to the top) and un-standardised (no fat removed by milk separator)

Pasteurisation is when raw milk is heated up to 72 degrees (Celsius) for 15 seconds. This temperature is the minimum temperature required to kill Brucellosis, Tuberculosis, Salmonella, VT E. coli, and Campylobacter, which may be present in raw milk. It is good to destroy dangerous germs, but pasteurisation does more than this, it kills harmless and some useful germs alike.

Pasteurisation causes the calcium in milk to become less accessible to the body, it destroys part of the vitamin C in the milk, and pasteurisation turns the sugar of milk, (lactose) into beta-lactose — which is far more soluble and therefore more rapidly absorbed in the system making you feel hungry again sooner.

There is proposed legislation to be in place by the end of 2015 to enable the sale of raw milk; this is expected to include the necessity for Department of Agriculture Certified healthy animals, minimum milk quality standards, strict hygiene controls and clear labelling.