It might be time to stop ordering human breast milk online and move on to the udder, more standard type. Breast milk is being as marketed as a ‘clean’ super food for adults, but the lucrative online business is poorly regulated and poses many health risks.
While breast milk has nutritional benefits for babies, raw milk available online can actually be dangerous. Specialist websites, which have been selling human breast milk to adults, claim it can improve performance in the gym, and help with erectile dysfunction and cancer.
However, lead researcher Dr. Sarah Steele, from Queen Mary University of London, says there is "no scientific evidence that adult consumption of human milk for medicinal properties offers anything more than a placebo effect.”
In fact, nutritionally there is less protein in breast milk than alternatives like cow’s milk. She also warns in a statement that “human breast milk is potentially very hazardous if used to replace a healthy balanced diet.”
The editorial, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, warns that those who purchase breast milk online are exposing themselves to dangerous infectious diseases, including hepatitis, HIV and syphilis. In addition, there is the possibility of contamination issues, inappropriate storage, and improper transportation of the milk, which can expose customers to bacterial food-borne illnesses. The paper also warns that 93% of breast milk sold online contains detectable levels of bacteria.
“While many online mums claim they have been tested for viruses during pregnancy, many do not realize 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.”
Researchers are calling for public health guidelines against this growing trend of purchasing human milk online.