In today’s e-commerce world, you can buy anything online. These days along with electronic gizmos and hard-to-find shoe sizes, people are offering human breast milk for sale. But the buyers are often not mothers. The breast milk market is lucrative and booming online as the nourishment for babies has become increasingly popular among some men who believe drinking it improves athletic performance or can cure diseases.
Some online forums suggest cancer patients should drink breast milk because it is supposedly easier to digest, better tolerated, and full of immune benefits, including immunoglobulin, a protein used by the immune system. Other forums preach the nutritional or energy benefits of such milk.
While adults are buying lots of breast milk online as fitness aids or health elixirs, health experts say that online human breast milk craze has health risks, and adults really shouldn’t drink human breast milk.
In an editorial published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine co-authored by Dr. Sarah Steele, specialist at the global health and policy unit at London’s Queen Mary University, doctors warned that since the sale of breast milk online isn’t regulated, there’s really no way to tell if the “liquid gold” you buy actually contains harmful bacteria. Raw human breast milk that is not properly handled or stored can be ridden with food-borne bacteria. It is also reported that human breast milk sold online can be responsible for exposing consumers to other infectious diseases coming from the mother.
In other words, rather than energy, human breast milk purchased online may give you Syphilis, hepatitis, and HIV. The growing online trend among some fitness communities and chronic disease sufferers for buying and drinking human breast milk actually poses serious health risks.
Not only human breast milk sold online poses health hazards among grown-up drinkers, specialists also said there was little evidence to support claims that the milk is some kind of super food for adults that can boost health and fitness and ward off disease. Dr. Sarah Steele explained that human breast milk sold at a premium online are falsely advertised. She said that there truly is no real benefit for consuming human breast milk unless you are a baby.
“Human breast milk is not delivering the nutritional benefit it touts online,” she said, “For adults, nutritionally, there is less protein in breast milk than other milks like cow’s milk.”
Breast milk contains the protein alpha-lactalbumin that are readily digestible for a baby’s tummy as oppose to casein which is the major protein in cow’s milk, naturally intended for calf.
Dr. Steele emphasized that human breast milk has an extraordinary nutritional benefits for infant, however the case is different among adults since breast milk is broken down differently in an adult’s gut. She also added that the milk can prove to be very hazardous if it is used to replace a healthy balanced diet.
She said that potential buyers should be made aware that is no scientific study evidence proving that direct adult consumption of human milk for medicinal properties offers anything more than a placebo effect.
While breast milk is considered to be the perfect food for babies and children under age 2, there is no evidence that it is helpful in any way for adults and buying it over the internet is not a particularly safe way to obtain it. Human breast milk is not a superfood, unless you are a baby. We applaud those women who strive to breastfeed their children, as for those bodybuilders who drink breast milk…we are not so sure about it.
TO-WEN TSENG 曾多聞