June 11, 2014 12:22 pm

Why healthy men are drinking breast milk

A woman holds a bottle of collected breast milk on April 9, 2010 in Belgrade.

Andrej Isakovic/Getty Images

TORONTO — Lift some weights, eat steak and eggs then spike your protein shake with breast milk? Some men go to great lengths to get built, and drinking breast milk is the latest frontier.

To some men, human breast milk is being touted as the newest superfood — they call it an organic, all-natural supplement that’s a perfect energy boost before working out.

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Glenn Snow, the director of OnlytheBreast.com, said that the website has had a section for male buyers since its inception in 2010. Men, on average, pay between $1 and $3 per ounce.

“We think breast milk is amazing and can be used for many health and wellness purposes, regardless of the age and gender of the person seeking its benefits,” Snow told Global News.

He said it’s by no means a new trend, but it’s gaining attention. On body building forums, for example, men have dubbed it “the greatest supplement ever.”

READ MORE: Breast milk sharing programs gaining speed, despite warnings

“I don’t believe in steroids or other energy supplements, none of that garbage,” one man told New York Magazine.

“I want natural stuff that’s God-given, and if it’s okay with moms looking to get rid of it, I’ll take it.”

The global milk sharing network Human Milk 4 Human Babies was created by Canadian moms. It’s based on moms donating to their peers who can’t produce enough milk for their babies — they don’t sell their milk. Right now, the site has moved into communities around the world.

Emma Kwanisca, the co-founder of the site, said that men could reach out to moms and appeal to them for milk for their various causes. Handfuls have probably tried, Kwasnica suggests.

Hey, if it helps babies grow, it should be good for muscles, pecs and biceps, right? That might not be the case, according to Canadian nutritionists.

“Breast milk is designed for babies. It’s packed with everything they need to grow in a form that allows their delicate digestive systems and permeable intestines to absorb those nutrients,” according to Meghan Telpner, a Toronto-based nutritionist.

“Breast milk is not designed for grown men to drink,” she said.

READ MORE: 13 tips for eating healthier in 2014

Yes, it’s nutrient dense – with vitamins A, C, D, E and K, riboflavin, niacin along with long-chain fatty acids that are key to brain, retina and nervous system development, Telpner lists. It helps babies grow, wards off sickness and supports healthy digestion. It’s nature’s “most perfect food,” but for infants, she said.

But keep in mind, its fat content is four times that of its protein content, and it’s packed with carbohydrates, registered nutritionist Marisa Falconi warned. It helps babies double their weight over the course of six months, but grown men won’t see the same results, she suggests.

“The body building industry has led to some of the nation’s biggest health myths, and unfortunately this is yet another one,” she said.

(Instead the experts suggest that men can reap the same benefits from food such as sweet potatoes, carrots, eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, leafy greens and healthy fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil, and avocados.)

READ MORE: Some of the worst foods for your heart’s health

Then there are the warnings from public health officials about these milk sharing programs with Health Canada even stepping in with caution.

“Health Canada has some concerns regarding the sharing of that kind of milk because it’s difficult to discern the source,” Helene Couture told Global News last year. Couture works at the federal agency’s bureau of microbial hazards.

In this unofficial milk swap, it’s unclear if moms take certain medications, how hygienic the conditions are in collecting the milk and if the milk is kept in proper temperatures, she warned.

READ MORE: How bacon and sausages are changing your sperm quality

Another option that’s garnering attention across Canada is milk banks. There are only a handful in Canada so far.

In milk banks, extensive testing is done on the donating mothers and the milk is pasteurized before it’s doled out to the sickest babies.

The only problem: men would be turned away at these milk banks.

carmen.chai@globalnews.ca

© Shaw Media, 2014

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