Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cheese’s vitamin K2 content, pasteurization, and beneficial enzymes: Comments by Jack C.

The text below is all from commenter Jack C.’s notes on this post summarizing research on cheese. My additions are within “[ ]”. While the comments are there under the previous post for everyone to see, I thought that they should be in a separate post. Among other things, they provide an explanation for the findings summarized in the previous post.


During [the] cheese fermentation process the vitamin K2 (menaquinone) content of cheese is increased more than ten-fold. Vitamin K2 is anti-carcinogenic, reduces calcification of soft tissue (like arteries) and reduces bone fracture risk. So vitamin K2 in aged cheese provides major health benefits that are not present in the control nutrients. [Jack is referring to the control nutrients used in the study summarized in the previous post.]

Another apparent benefit of aged cheese is the breakdown of the peptide BCM7 (beta-casomorphin 7) which is present in the casein milk of most cows (a1 milk) in the U.S. BCM7 is a powerful oxidant and is highly atherogenic. (From "Devil in the Milk" by Keith Woodford.)

[P]asteurization is not necessary, for during the aging process, the production of lactic acid results in a drop in pH which destroys pathogenic bacteria but does not harm beneficial bacteria! Many benefits result.

In making aged cheese, the temperature [should] be kept to no more than 102 degrees F, the same temperature that the milk comes out of the cow. The many beneficial enzymes in milk (8 actually) therefore are not harmed and provide many health benefits. Lactoferrin, for example, destroys pathogenic bacteria by binding to iron (most pathogenic bacteria are iron loving) and also helps in absorption of iron. Lipase helps break down fats and reduces the load on the pancreas which produces lipase.

By federal law, milk that has not been pasteurized cannot be shipped across state lines [in the U.S.], but raw milk cheese can be legally shipped provided that it has been aged at least sixty days. Thus, in backward states like Alabama where I live that do not permit the sale of raw milk, you can get the same beneficial enzymes (well, almost) from aged cheese as from raw milk. And as you pointed out, cheese that is shrink-wrapped will keep a long time and can be easily shipped.

I buy most of my raw milk cheese from a small dairy in Elberta, Alabama, Sweet Home Farm, which produces a great variety of organic raw milk cheese from Guernsey cows that are fed nothing but grass. No grain, no antibiotics or growth hormones. There is nothing comparable in the way of milk that is available legally. The so called “organic” milk sold in stores is all ultra-pasteurized. Yuck.

Raw milk cheese is readily shipped. Sweet Home Farm does not ship cheese, so I have to go get it, 70 miles round trip. On occasion I buy raw milk cheese from Next Generation Dairy, a small coop in Minn. which promises that they do not raise the temperature of the cheese to more than 102 degrees F during manufacture. The cheese is modestly priced and can be shipped inexpensively.