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Many hypers find that milk increases hyper symptoms.  The high amounts of calcium versus magnesium in milk may be the reason for this observation but there may be another reason: estrogen.

Estrogen is found in milk and studies have shown that estrogen increases cadmium absorption.  I believe that cadmium is a major promoter of Graves' disease and TED and the effects of estrogen on cadmium (and possibly other metal) absorption may be the major factor explaining why women get thyroid disease at a much higher rate than men.

Following is a study which states that cadmium toxicity causes anemia, a condition highly associated with thyroid disease.  As the article states, cadmium  "absorption is increased by co-administration of milk and in conjunction with iron deficiency."  

Quoting the study, "Hg++ accumulation in the brains of suckling rats is approx. 10 times higher than in grown animals. Milk increases the bioavailability of Hg++."  Does this "10 times" strike a bell for you as it does for me?  This is the factor by which women (high in estrogen) are more likely to get hyperthyroidism than men. 

The evidence is clearly pointing to heavy metal toxicity from cadmium and mercury which is accelerated by estrogen as the causative factor for hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.  Milk consumption may be one of the ways that estrogen levels are increased in the body and cadmium absorption is magnified.

Z Ernahrungswiss 1990 Mar;29(1):54-73

[The toxicological estimation of the heavy metal content (Cd, Hg, Pb) in food for infants and small children].

[Article in German]

Schumann K

Walther-Straub-Institut fur Pharmakologie und Toxikologie der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat, Munchen, FRG.

There are differences between young and adult organisms regarding toxokinetic aspects and clinical manifestations of heavy metal intoxications. Chronically, toxic Cd intake causes a microcytotic hypochromic anemia in young rats at lower exposure levels and after shorter exposure periods than in adult animals. Cd absorption is increased by co-administration of milk and in conjunction with iron deficiency. After long exposure periods toxic Cd concentrations accumulate in the kidney cortex; this process starts very early in life. In 3-year-old children Cd concentrations in the kidney can reach up to one-third of those found in adults. Hg++ and methyl-Hg can cause Hg encephalopathia, and frequently cause mental retardation in adults. Correspondingly, Hg++ accumulation in the brains of suckling rats is approx. 10 times higher than in grown animals. Milk increases the bioavailability of Hg++. In suckling rats Hg is bound to a greater extent to ligands in the erythrocytes. Methyl-Hg concentrations in breast milk reach 5% of those in maternal plasma and that is a severe hazard for breastfed children of exposed mothers. Toxic Pb concentrations can lead to Pb encephalopathia. A high percentage of surviving children have seizures and show signs of mental retardation. Anemia and reduced intelligence scores were recently observed in children after exposure to very low levels of Pb. Pb absorption is increased in children and after co-administration of milk. There are no definite proofs for carcinogenesis or mutagenesis after oral exposure to Cd, Hg, and Pb in man. Heavy metal concentrations were found in the same order of magnitude in commercial infant formulas and in breast milk. When infant formulas are reconstituted with contaminated tap water, however, Pb and Cd concentrations can be much higher. The average heavy metal uptake from such diets exceeds the provisional tolerable weekly intake levels set by the WHO for adults, calculated on the basis of an average food intake and a downscaled body weight. These considerations do not even provide for differences in absorption and distribution or for the increased sensitivity of children to heavy metal exposure. However, dilution effects for essential heavy metals were observed in fast-growing young children; this effect might be extrapolated to toxic metals. These theoretical considerations are compared with epidemiological evidence. A health statistic from Baltimore shows a decline of Pb intoxications in infants. This observation correlates with a simultaneous decline in exposure to Pb which was due, for example, to decreased use of lead dyes in house paints and the abolition of tin cans for infant food.

Ann N Y Acad Sci 1986;464:75-86

Hormones in milk.

Schams D, Karg H

Protein hormones (especially prolactin) and steroid hormones (gestagens, estrogens, corticoids, and androgens) can be detected by bioassay and radioimmunoassay in milk in a variety of species. In addition, milk contains vitamin D and beta-casomorphins (opiate-like peptides). It has been assumed that most of the hormones are transferred into milk by diffusion. However, evidence is available for active mechanisms like those for progesterone in goats and prolactin in cows. Most of the hormone profiles in milk are similar to the ones in blood plasma. Hormone concentrations in milk seem to be a good estimate of the average hormone content in plasma, especially for the measurement of longer-lasting secretory activities like progesterone and estrogen release during the estrous cycle or seasonal changes of prolactin in ruminants. Determination of progesterone and estrone sulfate in milk serves as a diagnostic tool in fertility control, especially in cows. Enzyme immunoassay kits are available for this monitoring purpose. Exogenously administered hormones are also transferred into milk. Residue studies have shown that the dilution is so great that it may be assumed that there is no potential risk for the consumer.

Prog Food Nutr Sci 1990;14(1):1-43

A review of the hormone prolactin during lactation.

Ostrom KM

Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs.

The principal lactogenic hormone, prolactin, secreted by the anterior pituitary is critical to the establishment of lactation, milk macronutrient content and milk production. The concentration of circulating prolactin increases during pregnancy so that by the end of gestation, levels are 10 to 20 times over normal amounts. However, prolactin is prevented from exerting its effect on milk secretion by elevated levels of progesterone. Following clearance of progesterone and estrogen at parturition, copious milk secretion begins. The minimal hormonal requirements for normal lactation to occur are prolactin, insulin and hydrocortisone. Prolactin stabilizes and promotes transcription of casein mRNA; may stimulate synthesis of alpha-lactalbumin, the regulatory protein of the lactose synthetase enzyme system; and increases lipoprotein lipase activity in the mammary gland. Prolactin levels decrease as lactation is established but nursing stimulates prolactin release from the pituitary which promotes continued milk production. Prolactin is secreted into milk at levels representative of the average circulating concentration. The physiological significance of milk prolactin to the infant is uncertain. Prolactin exists in three heterogenic forms which possess varying biological activity. The monomer with a molecular weight of 23 kDa is found in greatest quantity and is the principal biologically active form. The pattern of heterogeneity changes during pregnancy to favor even more monomer in proportion to the dimer. However, during lactation, the proportion of the monomer in circulation decreases in response to selective uptake of the monomer by the mammary gland. Over 90 percent of the prolactin in milk is present as the monomer. Prolactin may exert some of its biological effect by a shift in the ratio of active to less active forms of the molecule.

Med Hypotheses 1997 Jun;48(6):453-61 t

Dairy products and breast cancer: the IGF-I, estrogen, and bGH hypothesis.

Outwater JL, Nicholson A, Barnard N

A. B. Princeton University 1996, Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, Washington, DC 20016, USA.

Research on the role of dietary factors in breast cancer causation has focused predominantly on fat intake. While some studies have examined associations between breast cancer rates and consumption of whole milk, there has been less attention given to dairy products in general. Dairy products contain both hormones and growth factors, in addition to fat and various chemical contaminants, that have been implicated in the proliferation of human breast cancer cells. This literature review evaluates the epidemiological and mechanistic evidence linking dairy consumption with breast cancer risk.

In a message dated 11/3/00 8:59:09 AM Pacific Standard Time, writes:
<< Several studies have reported a seasonal variation in the presentation of 
patients with Graves' disease. This was observed in European studies dating 
back to the 1920s as well as more recent studies from the United States, the 
United Kingdom, and New Zealand . These studies suggest that cases tend to 
present in the spring and early summer months both in the Northern and the 
Southern hemisphere. The most obvious explanation of this trend is that 
higher summer causes the symptoms of hyperthyroidism to be less well 
tolerated so that patients are more likely to seek medical attention. 
However, there are other possible explanations. In a study in the UK it 
appeared that the onset as well as the the presentation of the disease was 
seasonal with a peak period of onset from January to June. It was 
suggested that a winter increase in the iodine content of the diet could 
have triggered the disease in some patients. The winter increase in 
dietary iodine intake is well recognized in Northern European countries and is due 
to the practice of supplementing cattle feed with iodine during the winter 

Hi Dawn,
There are probably some very logical explanations of why hyperT increases in the late winter to the summer. I was unaware that iodine supplementation for cattle was increased during the winter, but this would probably mean higher iodine content in milk. We know that milk is a real negative for hypers and I know of three reasons: (1) Milk cans at the dairy are cleaned with iodine and there is always some retained in the can, (2) The milk cans are galvanized which means that zinc and cadmium get into the milk from the can and both these metals are copper antagonists, and (3) Milk is extremely low in copper.
Humans drink milk for vitamin D and vitamin D status declines to a minimum in February. Since it is an oil vitamin, it is stored in the body from the prior fall, but people run very low by Jan-March. Increased milk and dairy consumption to get vitamin D increases the hyper promoting effects of milk consumption

Also, in spring and summer, people start eating more fruit. Fruit is another negative for hypers because it is copper depleting. It may deplete copper because of the high iron to copper ratio of most fruits.

There could easily be other dietary factors that affect the seasonal variation in hyperT symptoms. John