Despite claims that human breast milk can help fight cancer, help improve erectile problems and aid in muscle building, experts have warned that breast milk bought online carries serious health risks.
The current market of adults buying breast milk online has been described as ‘booming’ and websites where people can sell, buy or donate breast milk continue to pop-up. Social media also lends a helping hand to the expanding online breast milk market, where sellers are even including descriptions of mother, milk and baby.
Dr. Sarah Steele of London’s Queen Mary University writes that the supposed benefits of drinking breast milk have not been clinically proven and adults consuming the product are exposed to certain risks.
“Potential buyers should be made aware that no scientific study evidences that direct adult consumption of human milk for medicinal properties offers anything more than a placebo effect,” Dr Steele said.
“[Also] nutritionally there is less protein in breast milk than other milks like cow’s milk.”
Serious Health Risks
Like other raw, unpasteurised milks, human breast milk carries a high risk of causing food poisoning and other health issues. The tragic death of a Victorian toddler in late 2014 has been linked to the consumption of raw milk and has further brought the issue to the publics attention.
While selling raw milk for human consumption in Australia is almost completely banned, it can be legally sold as a cosmetic product; and, although the products must carry ‘Not for Human Consumption’ warning labels, manufacturers say little can be done to prevent human consumption when the product is in someone’s home.
Infectious diseases are also an issue with regards to human breast milk, as there is the possibility of diseases, such as HIV, syphilis or hepatitis B or C, infecting those drinking it. Although tests on the mothers can be undertaken, experts warn that this does not guarantee the milk is completely safe.
Also, like other milks and dairy products, breast milk must be also stored and transported at the correct temperature to avoid additional risks of contamination. This means that people who are purchasing the product online are exposed to milk that could easily be incorrectly stored and/or transported.
Is Breast Really Best?
Whether someone wants to purchase breast milk in an effort to pack on some extra muscle; believes it healthier than other milks; or even due to a sexual fetish, they should first very carefully consider the health risks.
The ‘Breast is Best’ philosophy might possibly be true with regards to babies and breast-feeding, however the evidence and many experts certainly suggest this is likely not true for adults and the online market for breast milk.