Hormones In Food: Should You Worry?
Growth hormones are vital in animals and humans alike for healthy growth and development. But the storm lies in artificial growth hormones that are approved for use to boost the growth rate of cattle, poultry, and other animals. Artificial hormones are injected to increase milk production, raise profits for the food industry. The hormones find their way into our food source along with the milk. More research is needed to determine how safe and healthy these artificial hormones are for human use. Meat and milk (and some food including plants) are never "hormone free". All humans and animals produce hormones naturally.
Types Of Hormone
Hormones are present in most animal products, they are injected directly into the animals or added to their feed to enhance the production of eggs, dairy and meat production. Synthetic hormone recombinant bovine Growth Hormone, rbGH, (also called bovine somatotropin) is widely used. This hormone is used to boost milk production in cows. Steroid hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are also given to cattle and other animals to stimulate growth and development.
Growth Hormones In Milk
As per the Food and Drug Administration, the quantity of hormones that filter into animal products such as milk and dairy is safe for consumption. Bovine growth hormones given to cows are natural hormones found in cattle. The growth hormones are natural proteins that are produced in the pituitary gland of both animals and humans. American authorities say using milk from hormone-treated cows is safe and healthy.
Insulin-like Growth Factor(IGF-1)
Insulin like Growth Factor -1 or IGF-1 is also present naturally in both humans and animals. Synthetic varieties induce cattle to increase milk production, bone growth, and meat production. As the IFG-1 stimulates cell division, it may be linked to increase in risk of certain cancers. However, the FDA states that milk from both treated as well as milk from untreated cows contain the same amount of IFG-1.
According to recent research, drinking milk from treated cows during pregnancy may affect the health of infants in their adult years. However, more clinical research is needed to decide about the link between synthetic growth hormones in food and disease risk.