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Heiman: Study on Milk's Effect on Health Spells Opportunity
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 03/26/2020

Despite low farm commodity prices that dragged on for years and having the economy disrupted from the recent Coronavirus pandemic, a prominent Wisconsin cheese maker says he is encouraged by the results of a study in China that found drinking cow's milk could have a positive impact on those suffering from ailments such as COVID-19. Ken Heiman, who co-owns Nasonville Dairy near Marshfield, said the Chinese are pointing out something that many people in the dairy industry have known for years--milk contains natural antibodies that help the body fight off disease.

"This research specifically looked at how the Lactoferrin protein in milk from cows help the body's immune system fight off viruses," Heiman said. "With this Coronavirus spreading so rapidly across the world and throughout our country, this could be an opportunity for the American dairy industry to step up and provide a way to help in this dire situation."

The study was a joint research project by the Chinese dairy industry, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and several other national health agencies in Asia. Together, the groups have formed a set of guidelines for Chinese residents that encouraged them to consume 300 grams of milk each day, which equates to just over a cup and a half. It further encouraged consumers to eat other dairy products because its fortified probiotics are proven to improve gut health.

With many Americans on edge over COVID-19, Heiman says people have nothing to lose by increasing their intake of dairy products--even if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is not talking about the benefits of milk in regards to fighting the pandemic.

"If nothing else, buying more of these products will help our farmers, while providing your family with a nutritional source of food during a time when our health is so important," he said.

Wisconsin's dairy sector makes up the largest portion of the state's overall agricultural industry and represents over 16 percent of Wisconsin's economy.

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