Study: Children who grow up on family farms and drink raw milk have fewer allergies, autoimmune disorders

Wednesday, May 09, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: raw milk, farms, allergies

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(NaturalNews) Growing up on a family-scale farm and drinking raw cow's milk are two important elements that promote robust childhood immune development. These are the findings of a recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, which found that farm-raised children generally tend to have less allergies, asthma and other autoimmune problems compared to children raised away from farm environments.

Building upon previous immunity research involving farm-raised children, Sabina Illi from the Asthma and Allergy Research Group at Munich University in Germany and her colleagues set out to study how living in a farm environment specifically affects immunity. And to gain a truly comprehensive understanding of the issue, Illi and her colleagues surveyed the parents of roughly 80,000 European children, 9,600 of whom were raised in farm environments.

Compared to 18,000 children who merely visited farms occasionally, and to 52,000 children who had never spent any time on a farm, these 9,600 farm-raised children were found to have less allergies, asthma and hay fever. The children who never spent any time on a farm were nearly twice as likely as farm-raised children to develop asthma, in fact, and three times as likely to develop allergies.

"Nature can really teach us something here," said Dr. James Gern, a childhood allergy researcher at the University of Wisconsin (UW)'s School of Medicine to Reuters Health. "People have grown up with animals and in outdoor environments for eons, and maybe our immune systems are tuned to developing normally in that sort of environment."

Drinking raw cow's milk linked to significant reduction in asthma risk

Beyond the benefits derived from their general exposure to non-pathogenic microbes and other so-called "germs," farm-raised children exposed to cows and hay, and who drink raw milk, were also found to have stronger immune systems than other children. According to the study, children who drink raw milk from the farm are up to 26 percent less likely to develop asthma compared to other children.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found similar results, having observed a clear inverse relationship between raw milk consumption and common childhood conditions like asthma, hay fever and atopy. This same study also confirmed that boiled, or pasteurized, farm milk does not provide the same immunological benefits as raw farm milk.

Farm food, elements a natural 'vaccine' against chronic illness

What the new study and others confirm is that childhood exposure to natural farm elements, as well as to the food grown and raised on family-scale farms, imparts immunity in a way that no other intervention is able to do. Farm environments are a type of all-natural "vaccine," in other words, as they teach the immune system how to tolerate natural environmental factors that would otherwise cause immune disturbance.

But it is only small-scale, organic family farms that impart this benefit. Industrial-scale, pesticide-ridden factory farms like the ones that litter much of the American agricultural landscape today are nothing more than toxic minefields that exacerbate chronic illness and autoimmune disorders among exposed children.

Returning to the days of non-toxic, family-scale farming, in other words, would do wonders to restore vibrant and lasting health for the next generation. Whether it is exposure to the natural, immune-boosting elements on family-scale farms from a young age, or the consumption of nutrient-rich foods grown on them throughout the course of one's life, the subsistence of the family farm is a bedrock of health upon which civilization is able to thrive.

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