Most Americans may not be aware of the online market for unpasteurized human breast milk. This market is not the same as licensed milk banks, but rather individuals posting their milk for sale in online forums.
This craze is reportedly fueled by beliefs that breast milk can help bodybuilders get ripped, build up an adult's immune system and possibly cure cancer.
However, a new report published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine is warning adults of the real dangers of buying raw human breast milk.
Dr. Sarah Steele, of the Global Health and Policy Unit at the Queen Mary University of London, told CBS News, "Human breast milk is not delivering the nutritional benefit it touts online."
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Supporters of human breast milk may point to how it helps babies, and it does, but adults digest breast milk differently than infants do. According to Steele, breast milk actually changes composition as the baby grows older.
"Potential buyers should be made aware that no scientific study evidences that direct adult consumption of human milk for medicinal properties offers anything more than a placebo effect," Steele said in a press release, noted ScienceDaily.
Because the human breast milk is unpasteurized, there may be bacterial illnesses, especially if the raw milk isn't properly stored by the seller.
It's also possible for a woman to pass STDs into the breast milk that she sells online.
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Steele stated in the press release:
While many online mums claim they have been tested for viruses during pregnancy, many do not realise that serological screening needs to be undertaken regularly. Sexual and other activities in the postpartum period may expose the woman expressing to viruses that they may unwittingly pass on to consumers of the milk.