How far would you go to increase your muscle mass? This is a question to ask some of the bodybuilders and weightlifters of the world, as their latest interest is apparently purchasing breast milk online.
It’s not uncommon to purchase breast milk. There are some mothers who over-produce milk for various reasons. If there is an oversupply of breast milk, this can become very uncomfortable, leading to breast engorgement and blocked ducts . Instead of wasting this milk, these women may choose to donate or sell their milk to other mothers who are having trouble with nursing.
Breast milk can sell for $1 to $2.50 an ounce, keep in mind that a 6-month-old baby consumes about 30 ounces a day. Breast milk is like liquid gold, and the market is booming. More recently, there has been a spike in male clientele, particularly bodybuilders. They claim that breast milk is ideal for gaining and building muscle mass.
Breast milk is a magical elixir, for babies. So can breast milk really be effective for grown men?
What are you getting when you drink breast milk? According to the National Nutrition Database, here’s what an 8-ounce glass of breast milk provides:
- 172 calories
- 2.5 grams of protein
- 10 grams of fat
- 16 grams of carbs
However bodybuilders aren’t concerned as much with the macronutrients, they know there is more protein in cow dairy and powders. What they’re after in breast milk is the abundance of growth factors. Breast milk contains proteins such as IGF insulin-like growth factor, which may help tissues repair more quickly, shortening their recovery time .
Studies show that IGF levels are highest in the milk produced within the first few days of giving birth, also known as colostrum. Natural IGF levels will decrease over time as the baby’s digestion tract, microbiome, tissues, and immune system get stronger .
While this may be enough evidence to make a breast milk protein powder and peanut butter smoothie. Here are the 4 things you should know about the breast milk market:
- You can’t just stop at the health food store and buy raw breast milk. You have to search for a mother who is willing to sell her excess
- Breast milk goes for between $1 – $2.50 per ounce online, this may be well-over $8 per glass
- Some people buy breast milk on Craigslist. Others buy from dedicated breast milk sites. No matter, you’re buying breast milk from a stranger.
- You can’t be sure that the person you’re buying is clean, or if they have properly cleaned their pump. HIV can be passed on through the breast milk, so you’re taking a health risk buying from someone you don’t know .
While breast milk is certainly healthy for babies, adults may be best to choose the well-researched benefits of other food-based protein sources.
There are safer alternatives to support building muscle mass. One of these options is non-human whey protein. While breast milk does contain 60% whey, since the overall protein levels are low, it is negligible if you consider how much you would have to consume to get the appropriate amount. A grass-fed whey protein powder has roughly 15g of protein per serving (2 scoops). If you’re looking to increase muscle mass you can also supplement with a grass-fed multi-source collagen for its peptide content.
- Too Much Milk and Oversupply https://www.laleche.org.uk/too-much-milk-and-oversupply/
- Regulation of muscle mass by growth hormone and IGF‐I https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1038/bjp.2008.153
- Nutritional Support for Exercise-Induced Injuries https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-015-0398-4
- Temporal changes in insulin-like growth factors I and II and in insulin-like growth factor binding proteins 1, 2, and 3 in human milk. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18259111
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/maternal-or-infant-illnesses/hiv.html
- Buying Human Milk via the Internet: Just a Click Away https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4046749/
- Basic Report: 01107, Milk, human, mature, fluid https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/01107?fgcd=&manu=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=human+milk&ds=&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing=
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