Do Casomorphins from Cow’s Milk Contribute to Autism?


Casomorphins—breakdown solutions of casein, a milk protein, with opiate-like activity—may help make clear why autism signs or symptoms in some cases boost with a dairy-cost-free diet program.

In my last online video series on autism and diet program, I talked about the added benefits of broccoli sprouts, but the most commonly examined dietary and dietary interventions for autism and food plan entail versions of gluten-free and casein-no cost diet plans. Why?

In the 1980s, a team of respected Norwegian scientists noted a peculiar finding. They ended up comparing the urine of children with and devoid of autism in the hopes of teasing out any discrepancies that could direct to hints to the induce of autism. As you can see at :42 in my video Autism and Casein from Cow’s Milk, a urine profile exhibits spikes for every single of the numerous parts. Commonly, the urine’s peptides region is really silent. Peptides are like small items of proteins, and, normally, we should not be peeing out considerably protein. But, in the urine profiles from little ones with autism, there have been all types of peptide spikes.

This big difference elevated a issue: “Can the pathophysiology”—that is, the dysfunction—“of autism be defined by the character of the found urine peptides?” But, 1st: “Where do the peptides arrive from?” They didn’t know, but there was a clue: Most of the mothers and fathers of youngsters with autism documented that their children’s ailment got worse when they have been uncovered to cow’s milk. In reality, two proteins—gluten, a protein in wheat, and casein, a protein in milk—break down not only into peptides, but also into exorphins.

Exorphins, opioid peptides derived from food proteins, “are known as exorphins because of their exogenous [that is, from outside of the body] origin and morphine-like exercise,” as opposed to endorphins, which are morphine-like compounds we develop inside our bodies. Probably some of these foodstuff peptides represent a new course of hormones?

Effectively, is that what the young ones were peeing out? Evidently so, as some of people peptides experienced opioid activity. Perhaps the researchers were on to something. 

Two varieties of opioids have been found in milk: casomorphins, “in look at of their morphine-like exercise and their origin—they stand for fragments of the milk protein β-casein,” and the precise opiate, morphine. There seems to be actual morphine in milk. This can not just be a coincidence. “It is hard to believe that that these, or other types of opioids found in the milk, can be devoid of physiological, or dietary, significance.” If you feel about it, it tends to make full feeling. “Morphine and the opioid peptides may perhaps also have an significant part in the mother-toddler bonding mechanism, simply because the infants may well be ‘addicted’ to their individual mother’s milk.” But, what about the milk of a further species?

“Human milk is markedly various from that of other mammalian species” in that it has the most affordable casein written content. Even more, human casein is a markedly distinct protein in terms of its sequence of amino-acid making blocks.

As you can see at 3:40 in my online video, human breastmilk has about 15 moments less casein than cow’s milk and differs in its amino acid sequence by about half, so it breaks down into peptides in another way. “Twenty-one particular peptides had been determined from cow casein proteins,” which include numerous casomorphins, when compared to only five lively peptides identified in human milk and just a person casomorphin. What’s extra, “those [casomorphins] from bovine casein are additional potent than β-casomorphins from human milk.” At 4:08 in my movie, you can see a graph of opioid action, in which reduce usually means much more powerful. Bovine casomorphin was proven to be drastically extra potent than the weak opioid peptide from gluten, a substance far more comparable to the casomorphin from human breastmilk.

In truth, when you expose human nerve tissue to bovine casomorphin, it functions extra like morphine than the casomorphin from human breastmilk in phrases of epigenetic modifications, adjustments in gene expression, not only furnishing “a molecular rationale for the advice of breastfeeding vs. [cows’ milk] system feeding,” but also giving a feasible explanation why “casein-absolutely free, gluten-free eating plans have been noted to mitigate some of the inflammatory gastrointestinal and behavioral characteristics connected with autism…” 

“What is very good for the goose may well be fantastic for the gander, but what is fantastic for the cow could be unsafe to the human.” 


This article discusses the 1st online video in a series on the function of gluten- and dairy-absolutely free diet programs in the treatment method of autism. Remain tuned for the other 5 video clips in this six-section collection: 

My past sequence on autism explored the remarkable story of broccoli sprouts put to the check for the treatment method of autistic boys. See: 

Preserve abreast of all of my films on autism here.

You might also be interested in these movies on milk and little one and infant health:

In health, 

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you have not but, you can subscribe to my absolutely free videos in this article and observe my are living presentations:



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