BUFFALO MILK - THE HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE
Meet the Asian Water Buffalo. There are 150m worldwide and in countries
like India they provide more milk than any other animal. Surprising then
to find these gentle creatures grazing peacefully on the wide open plains
Pasteurised buffalo milk is not just a tasty option, it appears to be
a healthy one too.
|Ellen and Mike believe that buffalo milk contributed
to their health improvement|
Third generation farmer Nick Griffin, whose family have been farming
in the Leighton Buzzard area since 1920, turned to buffalo in 1988.
Nick began with 120 animals after the BSE scare persuaded him to quit
farming conventional livestock.
He now has more than 300 buffalo and has plans to expand.
|Buffalo - the Facts|
- The domestic buffalo is descended from the wild water buffalo
- The horns of all buffalo are triangular in section
- Most domestic water buffalo are found in the hot, wet areas
of the world where rice is produced
- Over 95% of water buffalo are found in Asia
- More than one-half of the remainder are found in Africa, primarily
- The annual milk yield of good cows, depending on strain, is
between 1500 and 3000kg
- Buffalo milk contains 7-8% fat
- The production of buffalo milk in the Asian-Pacific region exceeds
45m tonnes annually
- Over 30m tonnes are produced in India alone
- No difference in the nutritive value and digestibility of milks
from cow and buffalo
- Cholesterol content of buffalo milk is 0.65 mg/g as compared
to 3.14 mg/g for cow milk
- Buffalo milk has 11.42% higher protein than cows milk
- Buffalo milk is superior to cows milk in calcium (+9%), iron
(+37.7%) and phosphorus (+118%)
- Buffalo metabolise all dietary carotene into vitamin A, which
is passed into the milk
- The presence of higher levels of immunoglobulins, lactoferrin,
lysozyme, lactoperoxidase make buffalo milk suitable for special
dietary and health foods
- Cheese made from buffalo milk displays typical body and textural
- More specifically, where chewing and stringing properties are
specially desired as in the case of Mozzarella cheese
- Domestic buffalo, in human care, are placid and patient, and
also easy to control
Nick's customers are not just drinking buffalo milk because it tastes
good; eczema suffers drink it to help cure their skin complaints.
It appears to help those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome too.
Those with allergies, or a lactose intolerance, are finding it an agreeable
change from goats' milk.
Both Mike and Ellen are regular consumers of buffalo milk.
Mike, who suffers from psoriasis, said: "I cannot take cow's milk
in any form whatsoever.
"It is only since I have had buffalo milk that I have ever been
able to drink milk.
"I have seen such a vast improvement, I only occasionally get a
flare up now."
Ellen agreed: "It has helped me enormously with my high blood pressure.
"I enjoy buffalo milk enormously, once you become addicted to it
you cannot leave it alone."
Nick: "We have dozens and dozens of people with eczema, psoriasis,
irritable bowel syndrome
Over 100 customers rely on the milk.
"The buffalos' immune system seems to be stronger than that of cows.
"They have not been given as many antibiotics as dairy cows and
are more disease resistant.
"The natural immunity which they would pass on to their own young,
through the milk, is passed on to us."
|Is the immunity which buffalo would pass on to
their calves, through milk, given to humans?|
But unless this is medically proved Nick cannot advertise these benefits.
"Legally we are not allowed to say anything.
"There are very strict claims in what can be said about foods, to
protect the public."
Inside Out decided to investigate the truth of these "health benefit"
Pranny Pranar from Luton suffers from psoriasis and eczema and was keen
to give buffalo milk a go.
Pranny has had eczema and psoriasis on his arms, back and leg for years.
|I suffer from psoriasis and eczema and want to
try buffalo milk|
He has tried all the prescription drugs but nothing has worked.
Would he give the buffalo milk a try?
Pranny said: "Funnily enough, my wife had mentioned buffalo milk
and said it would help, because in India that is what people often take
"But I thought ... where around here would I find a herd of buffalo?
"Then you called.
"But I have tried everything else, so I will give it a go."
Allergic to dairy products
Children are often affected by eczema.
|I am allergic to 2,556 things|
Nine-year-old Lloyd has been a sufferer since he was six months old.
Lloyd is allergic to dairy products but doctors would like to find a
milk he can drink because they are concerned about his bone development.
Medical opinion is cautious about heralding buffalo milk as a miracle
In fact current thinking argues that the causes and controls for eczema
are not the same for everyone.
|... only 10% of eczema cases are triggered by
|Dr David Taylor|
Dr David Taylor, Leighton Buzzard GP commented: "Most children with
eczema have acquired it through genetic makeup not environmental contacts.
"Current thinking is that only 10% of eczema cases are triggered
by food ingredients.
"To get a food product medically endorsed requires medical trials
with 100s of case studies, approval from local medical ethics committee
and primary care trusts.
"All carried out over long period of time.
"Costs are prohibitive for an individual."
Nick cannot afford these trials and without being able to advertise the
health benefits of the milk to attract more customers his business is
in danger of collapse.
'Straw poll' results
One month after Inside Out's first visit to the buffalo farm we checked
up on our own trials and see how everyone is doing.
It looks positive for Pranny, but for Lloyd it is not so clear.
Pranny Pranar has seen an improvement in his skin since drinking the
buffalo milk and believes it has helped.
On the other hand, Lloyd's mum said: "The eczema fluctuated from
bad to controllable.
"Whether this was down to buffalo milk, or not, I do not know.
"I would like to think it was and carry on with the buffalo milk"
They may not be miracle cures, but each in its own way is a positive
response to the milk.
Doctors agree that there is no one cure for conditions like eczema and
But it does seem a shame that what helps some people may not be around
for much longer.
Ellen said: "If Nick closed down the buffalo milk business we would
be back to square one.
"Shouldn't someone help Nick?"
Mike continues in his support: "It is not a miracle cure, it has
just got something in it that has a benefit in it
"If I had the money I would help Nick."