Organic milk could cut childhood allergy risk

A study in the British Journal of Nutrition at the end of last year found that mothers who drink organic milk during pregnancy and while breastfeeding could help their babies fight off asthma, eczema and other allergies. The researchers, from Maastricht University's Louis Bolk Institute, suggested the conditions could be avoided if children also drank the milk.

Children who drank organic milk and whose mothers drank organic milk during pregnancy had a 36% lower incidence of eczema than those using normal dairy products. Previous research has shown that organic milk has higher levels of vitamin E, omega 3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants.

Studies also suggest milk from pasture-fed cows may contain more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) – a type of fat that might protect against health problems.

Professor Carlo Leifert, from Newcastle University and leader of the EU Quality Low Input Food project, said the study showed that the difference in organic milk translated into raised CLA levels in breast milk and a reduced chance of eczema. ‘This is the first example of a definite health impact of organic food consumption being published in a peer-reviewed journal,’ he said.

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First published in May 2008


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