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Solved: The Mystery of Stomach Acid and Raw Milk Benefits 

Raw milk has plenty of health benefits, which is why many people prefer it to pasteurized milk. Packed with essential nutrients, beneficial bacteria, and a spectrum of health-promoting compounds, raw milk is a popular staple in the diets of those seeking a natural source of nourishment. 

It’s no secret we’re fans of raw milk from our Jersey milk cows here on our homestead. The raw milk diet was a life-changer for Kelsey. 

Check out our blog about Kelsey’s testimony.

One of the questions we often hear about raw milk is whether those nutritional benefits are lessened by your stomach acid on the way through your system. 

We’ll explore that issue in this blog, plus answer some other common questions about raw milk such as:

  • Which beneficial bacteria and enzymes are in raw milk?
  • What is stomach acid?
  • Does stomach acid destroy the nutritional content of raw milk?
  • Can stomach acid interfere with lactose digestion in raw milk?
  • What are some tips for optimizing the absorption of raw milk nutrients?

Which beneficial bacteria and enzymes are in raw milk?

Raw milk is known for containing a variety of beneficial enzymes and bacteria that contribute to its nutritional profile and potential health benefits. 

It’s important to note that the composition of beneficial enzymes and bacteria in raw milk varies based on factors such as the source of the milk, the health of the dairy animals, and the handling and storage practices. 

Beneficial enzymes

Enzymes are proteins that speed up chemical reactions in your body1. They aid in digestion and help your liver function efficiently. If you have too much or too little of a particular enzyme it can cause health problems. 

Raw milk contains several different enzymes:

  • Amylase2 is responsible for breaking down carbohydrates into simple sugars to aid in the digestion of the carbohydrates in milk. 
  • Lactase3 breaks down lactose, the sugar found in raw milk. 
  • Lipase4 breaks down fats into fatty acids and glycerol, which is important for digestion and absorbing fats in raw milk. 
  • Phosphatase5 is a liver enzyme that helps your body absorb the calcium in raw milk. 

Beneficial bacteria

Raw milk contains many beneficial bacteria designed to aid in digestion and promote a healthy gut microbiome. 

Two of the most prominent beneficial bacterial in raw milk include:

  • Bifidobacterium6 can support overall gut health, including improved digestion and immune system support. 
  • Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB)7 are a group of bacteria that convert lactose into lactic acid through fermentation. 
clear glass jar with white liquid

What is stomach acid?

Stomach acid, also called gastric acid, is a digestive fluid produced in your stomach8. Its main function is to activate the enzymes that break down the foods we eat. 

It’s mostly composed of hydrochloric acid (HCI) regulated by hormonal and neural signals triggered when food or liquids hit your stomach. 

The release of acid happens when hormones such as gastrin are stimulated by the stretching of your stomach walls. 

Stomach acid is necessary for proper digestion. However, too much or too little of it can lead to conditions such as acid reflux or peptic ulcers. 

Does stomach acid destroy the nutritional content of raw milk?

Yes and no. Stomach acid can have a negative impact on the nutrients in pasteurized milk. However, the same doesn’t appear to be true for raw milk9

Fresh raw milk serves as a sort of buffer, keeping the pH of stomach acid stable. That means it’s less likely to destroy or reduce the primary function of the enzymes in raw milk. 

Its buffering abilities allow the beneficial bacteria in raw milk to survive your stomach acid, contributing to a healthy gut microbiome. 

Can stomach acid interfere with lactose digestion in raw milk?

Stomach acid doesn’t directly interfere with lactose digestion in raw milk. It simply triggers the enzymes responsible for breaking down the protein in milk to aid in better digestion. 

However, if you suffer from lactose intolerance, you might get an upset stomach (or have other unpleasant digestive upset) if your body doesn’t produce enough lactase to break down the lactose in pasteurized milk. 

a picture of a person holding a cell phone

You shouldn’t have this problem with raw milk. Some people find that consuming raw milk instead of pasteurized milk helps with lactose digestion because these bacteria may produce some lactase and aid in the breakdown of lactose. 

What are some tips for optimizing the absorption of raw milk nutrients?

Optimizing the absorption of nutrients from raw milk is as simple as making a few lifestyle choices. One of the most important is choosing high-quality raw milk from a trusted and reliable source. 

We raise Jersey milk cows on our homestead, so we always have an available and safe source of raw milk at our disposal. If you’re buying milk from a local farmer or other supplier, make sure they adhere to proper hygiene practices for their dairy cattle and their milking process. 

Another helpful suggestion is to turn raw milk into probiotic-rich fermented foods like yogurt or kefir that assist in the breakdown of lactose without compromising the health benefits of consuming raw milk. 

What are the Benefits of Raw Milk for Stomach Acid?

Raw milk is known for its natural enzymes and probiotics which can help improve digestion and reduce stomach acid. By asking your raw milk farmer’s questions, you can ensure that the milk is of high quality and has not been contaminated, making it a safe and beneficial option for stomach health.

Sources


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Brandon
Hi fellow homesteaders! My name is Brandon. I live on a small family homestead with my amazing wife and five kiddos. We are on a journey to improve our lives through God’s creation. Raising cows is an important part of that journey. We currently have one Jersey cow and are hoping to soon expand our Jersey family with the help of a bull named Ferdinand. We welcome you to join us as we explore the benefits of owning Jersey cows. Whether you are raising them for milk or meat, our website is chock full of helpful facts and advice to make the experience more enjoyable. Take a tour and drop us a note with any questions. Cheers! Brandon

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