Although not many people know it, pasteurizing milk destroys essential nutrients in the milk. How?


Pasteurizing milk destroys beneficial bacteria along with the bad ones and destroys enzymes essential for nutrient absorption. Pasteurizing milk destroys all its phosphatase; this is essential for the absorption of calcium, and calcium works with Vitamin D, not only available through sunshine but is an essential nutrient in raw cream. Nature packaged a superb design for human sustenance in milk as it comes from the cow with all original essential nutrients — so long as it is not pasteurized. Heating any raw food destroys the active enzymes, so lipase (an enzyme unique to milk and needed to complete digestion of fats) is blasted along with many other essential nutrients that pasteurization destroys.


Homogenization is a process that breaks up fat globules in cream into very small particles which then do not separate from the rest of the milk. One of the reasons homogenizing milk became standard processing plant practice is that it allowed cheap Grade C milk (with little cream rising to the top) to be mixed with Grade B and valuable Grade A milk (with lots of cream rising to the top) to all be labeled as Grade A and priced accordingly. There is no known health or nutritional advantage to homogenization and quite a bit of science proving its harm — see The Milk Book, Chapter VII, "Udder Menace" by William Campbell Douglass II, MD. Some research suggests that this fracturing of the lipid (fat) molecule creates a free radical cascade that can cause allergic reactions and, through complex metabolic processes, even heart disease. (Others suggest that it is really the heating of the milk protein in the water fraction of the milk that provides allergic reactions, not homogenization.)

I never remember a time when milk (delivered pasteurized and homogenized by the milkman) didn’t make my stomach ache. My parents used to tease me with their stories of my unremitting colic as a formula-fed (corn syrup and milk sugar) baby and would regularly urge me, "Drink your milk". I had both eczema and aching legs as a child — both conditions that respond very well to raw and cultured milk therapy … even back then, I’ve since discovered.

Butterfield’s Farm was just across the street where we sometimes got cream so thick it wouldn’t pour. It was a legend for years, and all the family cherished it. I don’t know why it never occurred to anybody to get some farm-fresh milk to drink from Bill Butterfield and his sister, Ruby. When I left home, I did so without milk, and, truthfully, I didn’t give it much thought even after I got into eating healthy and organic a few years after.

So, it is with some wonder when I realize that more than 10 gallons per month of raw, organic farm-fresh milk and cream is what I absolutely require these days to nourish my family of three in all the delectable diversity that dairy offers. I am immensely grateful to have this ancient staple of life available, pure and unadulterated. It is a lifetime gift to know an organic dairy farmer, his family, and the "mothers" that give this white gold two times every single day. The Weston A. Price Foundation’s website can help you find a supplier for farm-fresh dairy near you. "It’s not easy", they say. "I can’t live without it!", I say.

Contributing Author Lynn Cameron owns the website and has conducted her own research into the complementary health field since the early seventies.

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23 Comments for "Pasteurizing Milk Destroys Essential Nutrients"

  1. Healthy Organic Mom » Pasteurizing Milk Destroys Essential Nutrients

    […] » Pasteurizing Milk Destroys Essential Nutrients » We Want Organic Food […]

  2. Lynn Cameron

    Healthy Organic Mom asks,
    “Why do they still do this?” It does seem to defy the furthest boundaries of good sense . . . until you follow the money into every tributary. This can happen when fear that is false-leading is promulgated through the media – fear that flourishes in absence of true facts. What raw milk enthusiast hasn’t had a well-meaning friend ask, “Isn’t drinking raw milk dangerous?” or “Is that safe? You’re gonna get sick.”

    Both health and economic issues have more facets than my brief articles at WWOF have covered so far. Thanks to organic mom, we have another opportunity to get the issue out there for Q&A time. I’m hoping those who might be just tuning into the Campaign for Real Milk will be interested enough to read “Key to Safe Raw Milk from Cows” and follow the links there to further empowerment with facts.

    At you can find a Sample Letter to Legislators that is powerful and concise with issues most folks haven’t even considered. My goal is to have you all Read it; Print it; Sign it; Send it.

    Kind regards,
    Lynn Cameron

  3. George Vigil

    In case you hadn’t heard AB 1604 was killed, here in California. This was a new bill making it possible for organic milk producers to still produce organic milk. That leaves AB 1735 in force, meaning organic milk gets put out of business, while pasteurized milk is FORCED onto the population, even though, in my opinion, pasteurized milk is questionable as to if it is even any good for anyone.

  4. Cathy Hohmeyer

    Then tell us about ULTRA pasteurized milk. I know it is great to buy ’cause you know it will last forever in the fridge – which tells me there can’t be much live sustenance in it.

  5. Diane Vigil

    Welcome, Cathy. You have a point there. <grin>

  6. Lynn Cameron

    Hi Cathy,

    I’m glad you asked about this because folks might want to know, but it’s not pretty. Ultra-pasteurizing is bringing the dairy liquid to a 161 degree boil in less than a second or two. This is accomplished in a high tech facility where it’s put through thin tubes so that small amounts at a time can be jolted to 161 nearly instantly. This is very damaging to the milk proteins (casein), flash-folding the amino acids tightly together so they stick like glue (Elmer’s glue could be made from casein protein). This renders the proteins in milk indigestible in varying degrees in the digestive tract of humans and animals — some systems are more sensitive than others. As you point out, dairy products can be stored a long time with this increasingly popular industry standard – up to 120 days. This could be just one reason why pasteurized milk is dangerous to consume as an allergen — attacking undigested protein is a function of a healthy immune system. Ultra-pasteurized anything is devoid of life with a digestive code unknown to healthy human cells — hence it’s treated as a strange danger provoking a defense at worst and as sewage sludge at best.

    Now, having said all that, I admit to sometimes drinking ultra-pasteurized heavy cream in my morning coffee when I have used up all my raw cream – a gallon of my non-homogenized milk yields around a cup of cream which is not enough for the family requirements. Milk, without cream (low-fat or skim) is primarily protein, and it’s the PROTEIN that is made indigestible in direct proportion to how hot and how fast it is cooked. Raw cream has all 18 essential fatty acids (saturated and unsaturated) metabolically available plus a whole lot more. Pasteurized cream is fat with barely half its vitamins left and less than half of its fatty acids intact, but, at least, it’s not plasticized protein.

  7. George Vigil

    It’s good to get a percentage on the pasteurized cream — less than half of the vitamins and fatty acids survive the heat. However, it’s very enlightening about the ultra pasteurized cream and what it is turned into. Sort of an anti-food. With each body being different, it’s hard to predict what will happen. The bottom line is that one is taking their chances when they consume ultra-pasteurized cream or milk. One gambles with one’s health as part of some unwitting experiment. Caveat Emptor — Let the buyer beware!

  8. andrew

    My question is this, is Milk the only source of ‘digestive enzymes’ such as phosphatase or is the body able to manufacturer it’s own?

    I have read that enzymes contained in food which it is claimed by organic advocates as needed or required, are destroyed by the digestion anyways and not always compatible with human digestion (rather they rot fruit and vegetables) and that our bodies are capable of making our own enzymes.

    Whats the real story? Is more always needed? is it better? is it better to the point where food posioning is a risk?

  9. George Vigil

    Hello Andrew,

    My name is George Vigil. It is my understanding that raw organic milk has enzymes that help one’s body digest the milk. And so the live calcium is better obsorbed into your body, such as into the bones, making them stronger. Calcium also helps the nervous system.

    In pasteurized milk, a vast majority of enzymes were gotten rid of. And so your body has a difficult time assimilating the “cooked” milk. The process of pasteurization has nullified a great deal of the nutrients in milk.

    Your body also produces enzymes. These enzymes help break down the food you eat so that when the food passes through the intestinal tract, your body can obtain nutrients.

    More enzymes are needed when you eat proteins, such as meats. But your body usually rises to the occasion and produces them. If your diet consists of a lot of meat, then you could tend to have too much enzymes produced and you come up with “heartburn”. The enzymes are acids and can burn your stomach and lower part of the throat called the esophagus.

    Eating salads with your steak balances this out. Veges, such as salads, send a message to your body not to produce too much enzymes. This is assuming you’re not eating salad or steaks that are not full of chemicals used to preserve the food. Or chemicals used to kill bugs – called conventional grown food.

    Chemicals such as preservatives keep the food from going bad and so are great for shelf life. But preservatives are NOT good for your digestive tract. Since the food is inhibited from breaking down by such chemicals the food will not break down so easily in your stomach. The food putrifies in your stomach. You could come up with all sorts of “uncomfortable” manifestations. Bottom line is your digestive system has been disrupted.

    The bug spray is essentially poison used to kill insects. Such poisons disrupt your digestive system as well as other systems and at the very least make one feel uncomfortable. No matter what the so-called experts say, eating poison is bad for you. The bug spray used also kills the soil the food is grown in. How can you grow food that is supposed to supply nutrients to those people buying and relying on that food in dead or poisoned soil? It’s best to eat organic. Though you have to watch out for the definition of organic used. Some companies sell food that has some little organic food with the rest of it being grown conventionally. And anything goes with conventional food.

    Regarding enzymes: “Is more better?” I have personal experience with taking enzymes and OVERDOING IT! I burnt my stomach in several places and it took some time for it to heal. So, in my opinion, easy does it with the enzymes.

    If you eat foods with lots of chemicals in it, your systems go screwy. You might get the idea that you have lack of enzymes. You could feel lagard, slow or dull of thought. It might be that the chemicals used in the processing of foods has thrown your digestive system into a cocked hat – caused a severe disruption of your digestive system, affecting other systems in your body too. That has nothing to do with enzymes.

    Eating food with vitamins and minerals intact with no chemicals used to process it is best. Your systems will straighten out themselves usually. It will pass, so to speak.

    And raw organic milk is the stuff that REALLY makes the body grow strong.

  10. Lynn Cameron

    Strong and SUPPLE, George. Among a vast array of benefits from unpasteurized dairy compounds is the Wulzen Factor, known about for a long time. My search at google tonight came up with over 1700 links to explain more about it.

    This is the “antistiffness” factor present in raw animal fat that was discovered way back in the forties by Rosalind Wulzen. Boomers note – it protects against degenerative arthritis as well as hardening of the arteries, cataracts and calcification of the pineal gland (another name for aging).

    It is well known by farmers and ranchers that calves fed pasteurized milk or skim milk develop joint stiffness and do not thrive. Their symptoms reverse when raw butterfat is added to the diet. Pasteurization destroys the Wulzen factor – it is present generously in RAW butter, cream and whole milk.

    Since most Americans wouldn’t consider eating fish eggs, organ meats, blubber or sea animals and insects, and they dine seldom on fish and shellfish, raw butter and cream are our only source, besides eggs, for this actively important piece of the health puzzle.

  11. dayna

    It is very hard to find a source of raw milk these days. It is against the law for dairy farmers to sell it so they have to find creative ways around this. Many people would buy it if it were not for these laws. My family does not like the taste of the milk they get from the store, but it took me a long time to find a supplier of raw milk. The sad fact is if you have a dairy farmer that sells raw milk and gets caught they go to jail. In the court room standing next to them when they finally get their court date 30 days down the line could be a meth dealer and who do you think will get a stiffer sentance. The dairy farmer! This is so wrong and I still dont understand WHY CANT I BUY RAW MILK??? It is a shame they have to find ways around this but lucky for me and my family we found someone who had found a way around it and she does not sell to the dairys only provides milk to share holders. Where there is a will there is a way.

  12. Diane Vigil

    Hello, Dayna, and welcome to

    I know what you mean. It’s interesting that raw milk is banned in some states due to various reasons (including some incidents of people getting ill) — however, pasteurized milk has also had its incidents (see Two People Die After Drinking Listeria Tainted Milk In Massachusetts), and yet pasteurized milk has not been removed from the food supply.

    Heck. The first time I got food poisoning it was from a chocolate cake (non-organic) that we’d purchased from a store. I can’t say that it was fun, but neither do I wish for chocolate cake to be removed from the market!

    Unfortunately, not all states are enlightened with regard to raw milk — but sales of raw milk are allowed in some states. You may be able to find a supplier on
    this list at

    Good luck!

  13. Kris Garrand

    Hi there. I\’m a student of food science at the University of Delaware, and I\’ve learned some material about dairy science in some of my courses, including the controversy over raw milk.

    The truth of the matter is that *no* raw milk is guaranteed to be safe. Even healthy dairy cows raised in pristine conditions will still carry the natural gut flora that are pathogenic to humans. (This is why you don\’t see cows dying of E.coli O157:H7 everywhere.) These pathogens can be passed out through the milk, causing a myriad of health problems, ranging from simple cramps, nausea and diarrhea to tuberculosis, diphtheria, and serious salmonella infections.

    On the other hand, the nutritional drawbacks of pasteurization aren\’t as extreme as they\’re made out to be on this site. Almost all of the milk proteins, casein and whey protein included, make it through standard pasteurization (71.7 °C for 15-20 seconds) without being denatured. In addition, the vitamins thiamine, folate, B-12, and riboflavin only undergo a 5-10% reduction during pasteurization.

    Nothing is added or drastically changed during pasteurization, so there\’s no reason that it would have any sort of adverse health effects, other than anecdotal ones. It is only slightly less nutritious than raw milk, but that far outweighs the risk you take with every glass of raw milk.

  14. Diane Vigil

    Hi, Kris, and welcome to We Want Organic Food. My apologies re the delay in posting your comment.

    Actually, I wasn’t aware that any food is actually guaranteed to be safe. And I’d point out that pasteurizing milk doesn’t rid it of all problems (see the Lysteria deaths article from "processed" milk that I linked to above), so pasteurization is not exactly a magic cure-all. Fact is, you can get a food-borne illness from just about any food; remember the E.coli scares from vegetables a while back?

    This is not the only site that discusses the drawbacks of pasteurized milk. The Weston A. Price Foundations’ states:

    Pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer. Calves fed pasteurized milk do poorly and many die before maturity.

    Raw milk sours naturally but pasteurized milk turns putrid; processors must remove slime and pus from pasteurized milk by a process of centrifugal clarification. Inspection of dairy herds for disease is not required for pasteurized milk. Pasteurization was instituted in the 1920s to combat TB, infant diarrhea, undulant fever and other diseases caused by poor animal nutrition and dirty production methods. But times have changed and…

    That said, like my grandfather used to say, “You pays your money and you takes your choice.” ;)

  15. Lynn Cameron

    You are so right, Diane, there are many avenues to solid information about this farm-fresh milk issue. Your article last June (Raw Milk versus Pasteurized Milk) provides good quotes and interesting links to reliable information. Raw milk demand is high and growing as folks discover the health benefits farm-fresh dairy brings into the family.

    A National Raw Milk Use and Safety Summit was held in 2006 at Norfolk, Nebraska. Their very readable findings are available upon request from and they are happy for anyone who asks for this pdf file to have it. Four categories were addressed — science, farmer, consumer and 6 full pages of referenced resources.

    I must reiterate how important it is that the consumer have first-hand knowledge of the dairy farm where their milk is produced — most particularly where unpasteurized milk is concerned. Pay attention to cleanliness in the dairy and provide your own containers if they will allow it. Are the cows primarily pastured, and are they treated humanely? Does the farmer do frequent bacterial counts and keep records? Unpasteurized milk from factory farms (CAFOs) is definitely not safe to drink because the "clean", "health", and humane standards for those unfortunate herds are woefully low.

    Cornucopia’s dairy survey page is where you can find a national organic dairy scorecard and see how your brand of dairy measures up. The Cornucopia Institute promotes justice for family scale farming, and humane animal conditions are of prime importance in their ethics.

    Hooray for California’s Proposition 3 that passed this month; it is a triumph for the Humane Society’s organization nationally and for all California animals. Hopefully it will be as a beacon for other states to enact similar regulations for sanitary and humane conditions for factory and all farm animals. Generally, small sustainable farms need far less regulation regarding humane and comfortable conditions for their stock because they utilize their products in their own kitchens as well as knowing nearly all of their customers on a personal basis.

    Farmers are a bare 1% of the population. During the Great Depression, 30-40% of the USA farmed. We desperately need to recognize the importance of supporting our small sustainable farms in all ways. The Weston A. Price Foundation, Washington, D.C., has a brochure, Campaign for Real Milk, showing a small dairy farm able to make a nice living for the whole family if the produce is distributed locally from the farm. This contrasts pitifully with the present depressing situation of making no more per gallon of milk now than they did right after WWII.

    Stop by the WAP Ninth Annual Conference this weekend, 11/09-11/10, at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, Burlingame, California. It’s their first West Coast conference, and the speaker/topic line-up is impressive.

  16. Lynn Cameron

    In light of the most recent failure of our over-extended USDA in preventing the salmonella outbreak traced to a peanut facility in Georgia, I’m passing on my most recent thoughts concerning the safety of milk.

    In talking with as many old-timers as I can, I have learned that some careful homemakers did actually batch pasteurize (Scald, never boil)their farm fresh milk when it was to be used plain, cold and fresh as a beverage – particularly when young children or the elderly were consuming it. They did this as insurance in their own dairies and especially when it came from a source they didn’t know. Of course, boiled milk is an old fashioned remedy for dysentery and diarrhea.

    If the cream was not to be used for making butter, they would allow it to rise and skim it off generously – this was called Top Milk, the equivalent of today’s light cream, I suppose. This was used in heated sauces, gravies, custards, puddings, in hot beverages and on porridge. The butterfat remaining in the milk is still enough for it to be richly satisfying as a stand-alone beverage, and the gentle heating/holding at just below boiling effectively protected against milk-born pathogens which may have been in the milk in the days of hand-milking, few disinfectants but 20-Mule Team Borax, and no refrigeration. The milk was transferred to glass bottles that had been rinsed with boiling water and chilled as well as possible or drunk within 24 hours.

    I advise this course of action for those that may be unsure of the milking conditions where they buy their raw milk to give peace of mind. This process is nowhere near as destructive as ultra-pasteurization or even regular factory pasteurizing. It kills ALL bacteria and enzymes, but still retains so much that makes farm fresh dairy products tasty and nutritious.


  17. Laura V

    So with all this ultra pasteurized and pasteurized milk talk, which is the healthiest way to go if u are lactose intolerant but still want all the nutrients one can get out of milk? is pasteurized better than ultra? is soy milk better than regular in getting all the nutrients? How can i make the healthiest decision when it come to milk? Does this also apply to yogurt?

    laura v

  18. Lynn Cameron

    Hello Laura,

    These are good and relevant questions, and I’ll tell you what I know. I did not grow up on raw dairy even though it was available just across the road from where we lived. I did not like milk because it made my stomach hurt and was constantly urged to "drink your milk". However, I absolutely loved cream and would eat butter plain right out of its dish. Knowing what I do now about dairy foods, I surmise my growing body was starving for the essential fatty acids those foods are so rich in.

    I think ‘lactose intolerance’ is a catch-all term these days because so many folks do not digest processed dairy products. See my subsequent post on this topic.
    In my own case, it was the issue of being unable to process the bonded(cooked), almost impossible to digest casein protein in pasteurized milk. This may also be true in your case. One way to find this out at home is to search out some yogurt, buttermilk or kefir made from farm fresh organic and unpasteurized milk from pastured cows. ( Try consuming 2-4 oz. by itself with no flavoring – I predict it will be satisfying and cause you no digestive or other difficulties. When this happens you will have the confidence to gradually increase the amount of cultured dairy and then find a good source of raw milk so you can easily make your own yogurt etc.

    A few organic producers in states that prohibit any unpasteurized products sell milk and cream that are, equally importantly, unhomogenized ( and small "batch pasteurized". This process is far less destructive of the protein and allows more nutrients to remain; it gently brings milk to "scald" and keeps it there to meet minimum state requirements. Dairies that do this advertise it on the label; your health food store may be able to help you find some. Avoid ultra-pasteurized at all costs; it will really aggravate your allergy issues while doing dirt to many other systems of your body that you are won’t be aware of until later in life and probably won’t even connect to this issue.

    Soy liquids do not deserve the term milk! Most soy today – and soy is all pervasive throughout our food system — is GMO (genetically modified)besides being a super processed sweetened and flavored form of indigestible bean juice with plant estrogens particularly harmful for children.

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share this information with WWOF readers. Please come back to tell us how it goes with you.


  19. Lynn Cameron

    In replying to Laura’s questions above, I came upon information from anthropoligist H. Leon Abrams’ article from over 40 years ago in the Journal of Applied Nutrition. It’s long and interesting — here’s what he wrote about lactose intolerance. Read the whole piece:


    The ability to utilize milk as a source of food depends upon the organism’s ability to metabolize lactose. A large portion of the world’s population lacks this ability, especially the Southeastern Asians, American Indians, Chinese, Japanese, and many Black cultures of Africa. Robert McCracken believes this deficiency is one of a genetic origin; the ability of populations to metabolize lactose, or the inability to do so, is due to natural selection. It is noted that where milk is not a major part of the diet the incidence of lactose intolerance is very high. Specific examples would be the Baganda, who have a low tolerance (their diet is mainly bananas), and the Bahima tribe, who use from two to seven pints of milk daily and little else, whose lactose intolerance is very low. A.E. Davis and T.D. Bolin think that the differences in ability to metabolize lactose is an acquired, rather than a genetic defect.

    The Chinese regard the use of milk with disgust and aversion; a comparable attitude is that of the Americans with regard to the use of blood as a food or beverage. With reference to milk, the Chinese attitude may be due to the fact that it makes them sick due to their inability to metabolize lactose, and therefore it has a physiological basis, although generally attitudes toward foods are entirely culturally determined.

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