Does Milk Cause Heart Disease?

on Nov 20
by Dr. Vikki Petersen | Print the article |

Milk and dairy products are definitely ‘loved’ in this country. But do they love you? When it comes to heart health, perhaps it would be better said that milk is your arch enemy. Let’s look at why from a clinical nutrition approach.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about dairy products and how they create ill health, but today we are specifically addressing homogenized milk. This milk contains an enzyme called xanthine oxidase (pronounded zantheen). This bovine (coming from cows) enzyme has been shown to damage the cells in the walls of arteries, a process that begins atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries leading to heart disease.

This enzyme should normally never leave the digestive tract but homogenization reduces the size of fat particles in milk to the degree that they do pass intact across the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. (A leaky gut would aggravate this, but that’s a different discussion.)

Once in the bloodstream, the enzyme travels to the arteries where it wrecks havoc.

When the body identifies something it considers to be a toxin (called an antigen) the immune system produces something called an antibody (made against the antigen) to attack it. If something is not seen as a toxin by the body, it will not make an antibody. So it is a key fact that antibodies to xanthine oxidase have been found in the blood of individuals with atherosclerosis.

Further, bovine xanthine oxidase has been found in the atherosclerotic placques of humans. In case you’re wondering, we humans make the same enzyme, but it is not found in our arteries.

An animal study done with rabbits found the presence of bovine xanthine oxidase in the blood of rabbits fed homogenized cow’s milk.

There is an incidence of heart disease around the world consistent with consumption of homogenized milk.

The mechanism, as explained by Dr Kurt Oster, a cardiologist from Connecticut, is that xanthine oxidase literally ‘shreds’ the aterial lining. Calcium is attracted to the damage, as is cholesterol and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) results.

So what’s our take-away? Well it definitely seems prudent to avoid homogenized milk products. Does that make butter and cheese okay? I’m afraid not, but I’ll be building the case against those in the next few weeks so stay tuned.

There are many alternatives to mammal’s milk. You can try rice milk, almond milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, Earth’s Balance margarine (no trans fats), coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, Daiya cheese, coconut ice cream.  There’s a long and delicious list that will not create the problems that drinking the milk of another animal poses.

I hope you found this helpful. If you feel a little sad, I understand. I too used to love milk. But the truth is the truth and we are here at HealthNOW to dramatically improve your health.

Happy Thanksgiving!

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”
Author of the eBook: “Gluten Intolerance – What you don’t know may be killing you!”


  1. Oster, K., Oster, J., and Ross, D. “Immune Response to Bovine Xanthine Oxidase in Atherosclerotic Patients.” American Laboratory, August, 1974, 41-47
  2. Oster, K., and Ross, D. “The Presence of Ectopic Xanthine Oxidase in Atherosclerotic Plaques and Myocardial Tissues.” Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, 1973.
  3. Oster KA. Plasmalogen diseases: a new concept of the etiology of the atherosclerotic process. American Journal of Clinical Research 1971:2;30-35.
  5. Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis by Dr Alan Gaby, pp 117-119..

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