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Farm Milk Reduces Childhood Asthma and Allergies but Raw Consumption is Unsafe

Drinking farm milk can protect children against asthma and hayfever, according to a study of nearly 15,000 children published in the May issue of Clinical and Experimental Allergy.

But consuming farm milk that hasnt been boiled poses serious health risks and further research is needed to develop a safe product that still provides good protection against these common childhood diseases.

Parents were asked to complete detailed questionnaires about their childs consumption of milk, butter, yoghurt, eggs and fruit and vegetables and whether they were farm-produced or shop-bought.

They also answered questions about their childs height and weight, whether they were breastfed and any allergies or asthma problems affecting the child or their family.

Allergy- related blood tests were also carried out on just under 4,000 children from across the five countries and the questionnaire results were validated with random telephone interviews with 493 respondents.

The researchers discovered that children who drank farm milk were much less likely to suffer from hayfever and asthma. Lower levels of diagnosed asthma were also observed for all farm-produced dairy products and eating farm eggs also provided protection against hayfever. However, these foods only provided increased protection when the children also drank unpasteurised farm milk not in isolation.

"All the children drinking unpasteurised farm milk and eating other farm-related dairy products showed the same level of protection against asthma and allergies, regardless of whether they were living on a farm or not" says lead author Marco Waser, a doctor in natural sciences from the Institute of Social and Preventative Medicine at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

"Our research showed that the children who enjoyed the best protection from asthma and allergies had been drinking farm milk since their first year of life."
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