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Bodybuilders warned of internet breast milk health risk

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Nutrient-seeking bodybuilders who buy human breast milk over the internet risk contracting diseases such as hepatitis B and C, HIV and syphilis, experts have warned.

Research from The Queen Mary University of London, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine says the mushrooming online trade poses major health risks. What started as a support service for women who were not producing enough breast milk themselves has apparently found appeal with a much wider market.

The authors say the “lucrative online market” sees websites and forums describing breast milk as a ‘clean’ super food that can lead to gains in the gym and can also help with cancer. The researchers believe there is no clinical evidence to back up these claims, and say raw human milk purchased online or in an unpasteurised state could carry a host of dangerous diseases.

“Nutritionally there is less protein in breast milk than other milks like cow’s milk,” said lead researcher, Dr Sarah Steele from Queen Mary University of London.

“Potential buyers should be made aware that there is no scientific evidence that adult consumption of human milk for medicinal properties offers anything more than a placebo effect. Moreover, human breast milk is potentially very hazardous if used to replace a healthy balanced diet.”

Failure of women to sanitise properly when expressing milk, failure to sterilise equipment properly and improper or prolonged storage and transportation of milk can expose consumers to bacterial food-borne illnesses like any other raw milk, the researchers warn.

The lack of pasteurisation and testing not only indicates a bacterial risk, but also exposes consumers to risk of infectious diseases, including hepatitis, HIV and syphilis.

“While many online mums claim they have been tested for viruses during pregnancy, many do not realise that serological screening needs to be undertaken regularly,” said Dr Steele.

“Sexual and other activities in the postpartum period may expose the woman expressing to viruses that they may unwittingly pass on to consumers of the milk.”

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Nutrient-seeking bodybuilders who buy human breast milk over the internet risk contracting diseases such as hepatitis B and C, HIV and syphilis, experts have warned.
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