Should Adults Drink Breast Milk? According To A Recent Study, Not So Much

The all-natural health movement has led to some pretty weird fads over the years, but this time, it's truly outdone itself. You may have noticed the growing number of adults online who drink breast milk for its supposed health properties, but is breast milk actually good for you? I mean, we know it's great for babies — but should adults really be drinking it? Little scientific research has been done on the subject, but according to a recent study, it's probably not the miracle drink some health bloggers claim it is. In fact, it might be doing more harm than good.

Breast milk has been touted as an all-natural way for bodybuilders to add muscle, for some cancer patients to ease the pain of chemotherapy, and even as a way to cure erectile dysfunction, according to the British study. However, as is usually the case with such purported cure-alls, breast milk may not actually have any health benefits for adults. No empirical research backs up the claims, and the researchers wrote in their report that "there is less protein in breast milk than other milks like cow’s milk." That hasn't stopped a lucrative online industry from popping up, though, and that's where the craze goes from kinda weird to kinda weird and potentially hazardous to your health.

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According to Mashable, researchers at Queen Mary University of London found that the lack of regulations on breast milk can create a breeding ground for bacteria and "exposes consumers to food-borne illnesses like any other raw milk." A 2014 found bacteria in 93 percent of breast milk samples purchased online, and in 2013, a similar study indicated that breast milk "exhibited high overall bacterial growth and frequent contamination with pathogenic bacteria." Lack of pasteurization also allows various other infectious diseases such as hepatitis B to contaminate the milk, according to researchers, and the likelihood of improper storage only increases this risk.

The U.K. Food Safety Authority told Mashable that it is "very difficult to confirm the safety of [breast milk]," and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration similarly recommends against purchasing it online, although that advice is under the assumption that it will be consumed by babies and not bodybuilders.

Overall, the British study recommends against the adult consumption of breast milk, especially breast milk purchased on the Internet. "Buying online potentially exposes the consumer to bacteria, viruses and contaminants that render this not a ‘clean’ ‘super food’ for performance nutrition or supplementation," researchers concluded. Therefore, "the authors find human milk consumption by adults purchasing milk online is ill-advised."Come on. Would you really trust any product that came from the "Craigslist of breast milk?"

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