Pediatr Int. 2010 Feb;52(1):33-8. Epub 2009 May 22.
Exposure to exogenous estrogen through intake of commercial milk produced from pregnant cows.

Maruyama K, Oshima T, Ohyama K.

Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering, Department of Clinical Nursing and Pediatrics, University of Yamanashi, Yamanashi, Japan.



Modern genetically improved dairy cows continue to lactate throughout almost the entire pregnancy. Therefore, recent commercial cow's milk contains large amounts of estrogens and progesterone. With regard to the exposure of prepubertal children to exogenous estrogens, the authors are particularly concerned about commercial milk produced from pregnant cows. The purpose of the present study was therefore to examine concentrations of serum and urine sex hormones after the intake of cow milk.


Subjects were seven men, six prepubertal children, and five women. The men and children drank 600 mL/m(2) of cow milk. Urine samples were collected 1 h before the milk intake and four times every hour after intake. In men the serum samples were obtained before and 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 min after milk intake. Women drank 500 mL of cow's milk every night for 21 days beginning on the first day of the second menstruation. In three successive menstrual cycles, the day of ovulation was examined using an ovulation checker.


After the intake of cow milk, serum estrone (E1) and progesterone concentrations significantly increased, and serum luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone and testosterone significantly decreased in men. Urine concentrations of E1, estradiol, estriol and pregnanediol significantly increased in all adults and children. In four out of five women, ovulation occurred during the milk intake, and the timing of ovulation was similar among the three menstrual cycles.


The present data on men and children indicate that estrogens in milk were absorbed, and gonadotropin secretion was suppressed, followed by a decrease in testosterone secretion. Sexual maturation of prepubertal children could be affected by the ordinary intake of cow milk.

Med Hypotheses. 2005;65(6):1028-37. Epub 2005 Aug 24.
The possible role of female sex hormones in milk from pregnant cows in the development of breast, ovarian and corpus uteri cancers.

Ganmaa D, Sato A.

Department of Environmental Health, Medical University of Yamanashi, Tamaho, Yamanashi 409-3898, Japan.


The continued increase in incidence of some hormone-related cancers worldwide is of great concern. Although estrogen-like substances in the environment were blamed for this increase, the possible role of endogenous estrogens from food has not been widely discussed. We are particularly concerned about cows' milk, which contains a considerable quantity of estrogens. When we name cows' milk as one of the important routes of human exposure to estrogens, the general response of Western people is that "man has been drinking cows' milk for around 2000 years without apparent harm." However, the milk that we are now consuming is quite different from that consumed 100 years ago. Unlike their pasture-fed counterparts of 100 years ago, modern dairy cows are usually pregnant and continue to lactate during the latter half of pregnancy, when the concentration of estrogens in blood, and hence in milk, increases. The correlation of incidence and mortality rates with environmental variables in worldwide countries provides useful clues to the etiology of cancer. In this study, we correlated incidence rates for breast, ovarian, and corpus uteri cancers (1993-97 from Cancer Incidence in Five Continents) with food intake (1961-97 from FAOSTAT) in 40 countries. Meat was most closely correlated with the breast cancer incidence (r=0.827), followed by milk (0.817) and cheese (0.751). Stepwise multiple-regression analysis (SMRA) identified meat as the factor contributing most greatly to the incidence of breast cancer ([R]=0.862). Milk was most closely correlated with the incidence of ovarian cancer (r=0.779), followed by animal fats (0.717) and cheese (0.697). SMRA revealed that milk plus cheese make the greatest contribution to the incidence of ovarian cancer ([R]=0.767). Milk was most closely correlated with corpus uteri cancer (r=0.814), followed by cheese (0.787). SMRA revealed that milk plus cheese make the most significant contribution to the incidence of corpus uteri cancer ([R]=0.861). In conclusion, increased consumption of animal-derived food may have adverse effects on the development of hormone-dependent cancers. Among dietary risk factors, we are most concerned with milk and dairy products, because the milk we drink today is produced from pregnant cows, in which estrogen and progesterone levels are markedly elevated.

Is milk responsible for male reproductive disorders?

Ganmaa D, Wang PY, Qin LQ, Hoshi K, Sato A.

Department of Environmental Health, Medical University of Yamanashi, Tamaho, Yamanashi 409-3898, Japan.


The role of environmental compounds with estrogenic activity in the development of male reproductive disorders has been a source of great concern. Among the routes of human exposure to estrogens, we are particularly concerned about cows' milk, which contains considerable amounts of estrogens. The major sources of animal-derived estrogens in the human diet are milk and dairy products, which account for 60-70% of the estrogens consumed. Humans consume milk obtained from heifers in the latter half of pregnancy, when the estrogen levels in cows are markedly elevated. The milk that we now consume may be quite unlike that consumed 100 years ago. Modern genetically-improved dairy cows, such as the Holstein, are usually fed a combination of grass and concentrates (grain/protein mixes and various by-products), allowing them to lactate during the latter half of pregnancy, even at 220 days of gestation. We hypothesize that milk is responsible, at least in part, for some male reproductive disorders.
Copyright 2001 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.

Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011 May;4(5):694-701. Epub 2011 Apr 5.
Effects of maternal exposure to cow's milk high or low in isoflavones on carcinogen-induced mammary tumorigenesis among rat offspring.

Nielsen TS, Purup S, Wärri A, Godschalk RW, Hilakivi-Clarke L.

Department of Animal Health and Bioscience, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University, Tjele, Denmark.


We investigated whether maternal exposure during pregnancy to cow's milk containing endogenous estrogens and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and either high or low levels of isoflavones from dietary legumes (HIM and LIM, respectively) affected carcinogen-induced mammary carcinogenesis in female rat offspring. Pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were given HIM, LIM, or tap water (control) from gestational day (GD) 11 until birth; hereafter all rats received tap water. Mammary tumorigenesis was induced by administrating 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) on postnatal day 50. No differences in maternal serum estradiol (P = 0.19) and IGF-1 levels (P = 0.15) at GD 19 or birth weight among the milk and water groups were seen, but estradiol, and IGF-1 levels and birth weight were numerically higher in the LIM group than in the HIM group. Puberty onset occurred earlier in the LIM offspring than in controls (P = 0.03). Although the high isoflavone content seemed to prevent the effect on circulating estradiol and IGF-1 levels and advanced puberty onset seen in the LIM group, HIM increased DMBA-DNA adducts in the mammary gland and tended to increase mammary tumorigenesis. In contrast, offspring exposed to LIM in utero, did not exhibit increased breast cancer risk, despite having higher estradiol and IGF-1 environment and consequently earlier puberty onset. These results indicate that the phytochemical content in the cow's milk, consumed by a pregnant dam, determines how milk affects the offspring.

Int J Health Serv. 1996;26(1):173-85.
Unlabeled milk from cows treated with biosynthetic growth hormones: a case of regulatory abdication.

Epstein SS.

School of Public Health West, University of Illinois, Chicago 60612, USA.


Levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) are substantially elevated and more bioactive in the milk of cows hyperstimulated with the biosynthetic bovine growth hormones rBGH, and are further increased by pasteurization. IGF-1 is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, as evidenced by marked growth-promoting effects even in short-term tests in mature rats, and absorption is likely to be still higher in infants. Converging lines of evidence incriminate IGF-1 in rBGH milk as a potential risk factor for both breast and gastrointestinal cancers.

* Ringrazio come sempre dr.j per le segnalazioni.