The Case of Raw Dairy

Raw milk has received quite a bit of hatred recently due to the Avian Influenza fearmongering. But today I want to share with you my “case for Raw Milk” by providing 5 reasons why you may want to support farmers you trust and buy raw milk.

1. There Is No Fatty Acid Manipulation

The conventional food system and Big Dairy is trying to “outsmart” and manipulate Mother Nature. With some efforts able to decrease the saturated fatty acid content of milk by 20%.1 (Literally the opposite of what we want).

The widespread nutrition lie we have been fed the last 50+ years (saturated fat is “bad” and polyunsaturated fat is “good”) is changing the food industry, for the worse. The conventional food system has already made disastrous changes to the types of fat in chickens and pigs (by changing their diet and increasing the PUFA content).

Unfortunately, scientists have now figured out how to change the fatty acids in ruminant fat (dairy and beef fat), as well. Feeding ruminants “rumen protected fats” such as oilseeds can increase the PUFA content in milk2 — NOT what we want!

sample data from published studies

Typically, milk contains between 1%-2% linoleic acid. With some rumen-protected fats, the linoleic acid can be increased 3X.3

Oilseed crops = soybeans, cottonseed, flaxseed, sunflower seed, safflower, canola, rapeseed and peanuts. They are seeds that contain a large enough quantity of oil to warrant oil extraction and are so high in PUFAs that some of the PUFAs pass through digestion increasing PUFAs and decreasing SFAs — the opposite of what we want for health.

Humans are trying to manipulate Mother Nature’s design because humans think we “know better”. But this increase in PUFA consumption is having disastrous consequences on human metabolism.

“The inclusion of saturated fats in human diets may bring the risk of cardiovascular diseases (Joyce et al., 2009). However, for milk processors, milk with high saturated fatty acids (SFA) may improve the keeping quality but may be detrimental to human health. The negative effects of SFA seem to outweigh their positive functions in milk, so more research is needed to reduce the amount of SFA in milk.4

Interest in manipulating the fat content of milk was in full force entering the 1980s. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans published in 1980 by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) emphasized reductions in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.5

The purpose of the study was to obtain butter enriched with PUFA from the milk of Holstein cows with a modified fatty acid composition towards an increased content of unsaturated fatty acids …

In the milk fat of the milk of the experimental group of cows, the total amount of saturated fatty acids was reduced by 14.9%, and unsaturated fatty acid level was increased by 12.6%; as a result, the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids was higher by 31.7%.”6

The fatty acid information in the US Food Database is outdated and there is a lot of stuff happening behind the scenes with changing the diet of dairy animals.

So when you buy dairy from farmers who are raising livestock as Nature intended — you are able to access dairy with the fatty acid composition Mother Nature intended (that is a lot more health promoting!)

2. Exposure to Less Toxins and Pharmaceuticals

CAFO dairy systems rely a lot more heavily on medications (like vaccines, antibiotics) since a lot of animals are raised in a relatively small space.

Nonorganic systems also feed cows GMO grains/rations, which contain high levels of pesticides (because that is how those crops are grown.) And unfortunately, this stuff shows up in the milk (and other dairy products made from the milk.)

“Current-use antibiotics and pesticides were undetectable in organic but prevalent in conventionally produced milk samples, with multiple samples exceeding federal limits. Higher bGH and IGF-1 levels in conventional milk suggest the presence of synthetic growth hormone.”7

3. You Support a System Where Farmers Can Actually Make Money

In the conventional system, farmers are not paid a fair income. There is a reason why the milk prices are so low — and it comes at the cost of farmer’s well-being. Did you know that most dairy farms in the conventional system operate at a NET LOSS? They have to get off the farm jobs to support the farm.

“In the conventional system, on average, farmers spend $1.98 to produce a gallon of milk and make $1.32 when they sell it to processors. Farmers have to cut corners and costs wherever they can to try to make it financially — as their costs are rising faster than milk prices.”

According to an analysis by the Food and Water Watch, the average American dairy turned a profit only twice in the past two decades despite milk production rising by almost 40%. Grocery stores sell milk AT A LOSS since it is a staple and customers may pick up more profitable items around the store. We lose more and more farmers each year in this conventional system.

In 1970, there were 648,000 dairy farms. In 1993, there were 131,509 dairy farms. And today there are 26,290 dairy farms. A reduction in number of dairy farms, and an increase in number of cows at each farm (more CAFOs).

percent of farms producing about 80 percent of milk in 1992 and 2017

Just like in conventional crop production — the “go big or go home” mindset has taken over (because they can’t make money with a small herd, have to maximize production at scale). And year after year there is more consolidation — which benefits agribusinesses (who spend more than 7 million a year in lobbying to keep the food system as is, maintaining control).

More and more control and profits for agribusinesses comes at the cost of farmers’ well-being and the quality of the final product. Let’s bring back small family farms!

4. Contains More Nutrients

Pasteurization reduces some vitamin and mineral contents. But less discussed is the level of phytonutrients, which are significantly increased when cows are raised and rotated out on diverse pastures. (One of the main differentiating factors when comparing regeneratively raised cows vs. feedlots.)

“Several phytochemicals found in grass-fed meat and milk are in quantities comparable to those found in plant foods known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and cardioprotective effects.

As meat and milk are often not considered as sources of phytochemicals, their presence has remained largely underappreciated in discussions of nutritional differences between feedlot-fed (grain-fed) and pasture-finished (grass-fed) meat and dairy.”8

Raw dairy also contains more lactoferrin, which is a protein found in milk that is not only anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal, but it also helps lower iron overload. Lactoferrin has been shown to bind to and reduce endotoxin levels and inflammation.9 And pasteurization has been shown to significantly reduce lactoferrin levels.10

5. Contains Living Bacteria That Provide Health Benefits

Many people experience improved digestion and health benefits from raw dairy. Likely because the final product is higher quality (a farmer has to produce a better product for it to be safe to consume raw). And because of the health-promoting living bacteria11 and high concentration of digestive enzymes (like peptidases, lipases and proteases).

Raw dairy is Mother Nature’s probiotic — as beneficial microbes are transferred to the human gut microbiome. Here are two examples:

  • Many people say raw milk contains the lactase enzyme (which isn’t true). But, raw dairy contains lactobacillus bacteria and other lactase-creating bacteria — which significantly help with lactose digestion.
  • Raw dairy also contains butyrate-producing bacteria that can increase the concentration of these beneficial microbes in our guts.12 We want more of these promoting microbes in our guts that help us convert dietary fiber into short chain fatty acids like butyrate that will feed the cells that line our guts (colonocytes) and improve how those colonocytes make energy. (With better energy production, the lining of the gut can function better).

To conclude, never feel bad about buying pasteurized dairy — as the financial side is difficult. You have to do the best you can. But when you can, support your farmers directly. As it makes a difference for them, improves your health, and can help us change the corrupt and consolidated food system here in the US, little by little.

And as for the safety — always source from a farmer you trust. But you are 35,000 times more likely to get sick from other foods than you are from raw milk.13

“The Big Ag lobbyists want you to think otherwise so that they can maintain control.”

Of course you should NEVER source raw dairy from a CAFO (you cannot produce raw milk safely on a farm with 1000+ cows) — but raw dairy has been consumed for ages before the invention of pasteurization.

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About the Author

Ashley Armstrong is the cofounder of Angel Acres Egg Co., which specializes in low-PUFA (polyunsaturated fat) eggs that are shipped to all 50 states (join waitlist here), and Nourish Cooperative, which ships low-PUFA pork, beef, cheese, A2 dairy and traditional sourdough to all 50 states. Waitlists will reopen shortly.

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Dr. Mercola has always been passionate about helping preserve and enhance the health of the global community. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO), he takes a “whole-person” approach to wellness, helping you develop attitudes and lifestyles that can help you Take Control of Your Health. By sharing valuable knowledge about holistic medicine, regenerative practices and informed consent principles, he has become the most trusted source for natural health information, with a legacy of promoting sustainability and transparency. CREDENTIALS Dr. Mercola is an osteopathic physician who, similar to MDs, finished four years of basic clinical sciences and successfully completed licensing exams. Hence, he is fully licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery in all 50 states. Also a board-certified family physician, he served as the chairman of the family medicine department at St. Alexius Medical Center for five years. Moreover, he has written over 30 scientific studies and reports published in medical journals and publications. With his written contributions and extensive experience in patient care, he was granted fellowship status by the American College of Nutrition (ACN) in October 2012. Connect with Dr. Mercola at

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