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Effects of hormones in dairy products on the human body

Alexandar Kirilov, Elena Stoyanova, Plamen Angelov, Staniela Porozhanova


Introduction: Dairy products contain hormones which can be absorbed by the human body. These compounds are naturally found in milk but they are also given as supplements to increase the produc­tion of milk. The hormones with most significant effects on the human body are prolactin, IGF-1 (in­sulin growth factor-1), progesterone, estrogen, prostaglandins, and glucocorticoids.

Materials and methods: The information was gathered from several articles and researches on the topic from the database PubMed and NCBI by using the following key words: hormones, dairy prod­ucts, biological effects, metabolism, carcinogenesis. Then the information was analysed and summa­rized.

Results: The effects mainly depend on the secretion of the hormones in the milk, their persistence af­ter processing, absorption in the human body, metabolic bioactivity and the receptors they target in different organs. It is also worth considering the concentration of the hormones in different kinds of milk and the age in which they are consumed. Some hormones like prolactin have an impact only on neonates affecting their neuroendocrine, reproductive and immune systems. Others are thought to cause carcinogenesis in different organs - IGF-1 in the colon, pancreas, endometrium and prostate, and estrogen - in testis, prostate and breast. Due to their low oral bioavailability and inactivation in the liver, hormones like progesterone and prostaglandins are not considered to have any major bio­logical effects.

Conclusions: There is still no clear information about the impact of hormones in dairy products on the human body. Further analytic researches should be conducted in order to take proper measures for protecting public health.


hormones; dairy products; biological effect; carcinogenesis; metabolism



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