The Biochemical Magic of Raw Milk and Other Raw Foods: Glutathione

If the font is too small, as always you can use “control” and “plus” to enlarge it.

One of the many benefits of raw milk may be its ability to promote the production of a wonderful little compound called “glutathione” — this tiny compound consists of just three amino acids, but it is the master antioxidant and detoxifier of the cell.

Looking at this little molecule for a few moments may be reductionist, but understanding how a food provides its benefits not only helps us better understand how to produce, prepare, and use that food, but also helps us identify other foods that may offer similar benefits.  As I will describe below, for example, large amounts of raw fruits and vegetables may provide some glutathione-boosting power for people who cannot tolerate smaller amounts of raw milk.  Heck, even — shudder — raw egg whites may give a glutathione boost in some people comparable to that given by raw milk!

Glutathione — The Master Antioxidant and Detoxifier

Glutathione maintains vitamins C and E in their reduced, active forms.  It tightly regulates the production of hydrogen peroxide, which is a valuable signaling compound in small amounts but which promotes oxidative destruction of the cellular machinery in larger amounts.  It quickly neutralizes lipid peroxides — nasty, dangerous breakdown products of the delicate and precious polyunsaturated fatty acids found in our cell membranes.  On top of all these antioxidant functions, our cells use glutathione to make drugs and toxic chemicals more water-soluble so they can be excreted.  Without glutathione, the antioxidant system breaks down, and toxic chemicals hang around to wreak havoc in our cells and tissues.

Protein — It’s Great, But It’s Not Enough

Our bodies synthesize glutathione from protein.  The most important amino acid needed for glutathione synthesis is cysteine.  Cysteine is a sulfur-containing amino acid that is found in the diet, especially in animal proteins, and that our livers also make from methionine, another sulfur amino acid.  These are the same dreaded sulfur amino acids that vegetarians claim leach calcium from our bones.  As I pointed out in a blog post a few months ago, they don’t.

Studies in both rats and humans show that deficient intakes of these supposedly bone-eroding sulfur amino acids lead to a deficient synthesis of glutathione.  The more extensive rat studies show that glutathione increases as dietary protein increases, and that related antioxidant and detoxification enzymes increase in tandem.

In fact, this is true even when the protein is the supposedly cancer-causing milk protein, casein.

There is just one problem, however.  Once we meet our requirement for protein and sulfur amino acids, eating extra protein or sulfur amino acids fails to boost glutathione any further.  Rats need to consume about 15 percent of calories from protein in order to maximize levels of glutathione and its associated antioxidant and detoxification enzymes.  Preliminary evidence in humans suggests that the glutathione-boosting power of protein maxes out at one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day and 24 milligrams of sulfur amino acids per day.  For someone who weighs 110 pounds, this is 50 grams of protein per day; for someone who weighs 150 pounds, it’s about 70 grams of protein per day, and for someone who weigh 180 pounds, it’s about 80 grams of protein per day.  Consuming this amount of protein from virtually any mix of whole foods will satisfy the requirement for sulfur amino acids.

Excess cysteine, in fact, when consumed as a free amino acid, can actually deplete glutathione levels.  Why?  As it turns out, cysteine can be toxic because of its vulnerability to oxidation.  Except in acidic environments like the digestive tract, cysteine rapidly oxidizes and generates free radicals that can wreak havoc on the delicate structures of our cells and tissues.  Consequently, our bodies don’t let free cysteine hang around, and when we eat lots of it, we convert the excess to taurine and sulfate and get rid of it.

Never fear!  There is more to the story than regular ol’ animal protein.  The valiant, cape-wearing, free radical-wrestling, toxicant-thwarting Raw Milk and his courageous army of raw food volunteers is here to rack up our glutathione points even higher.

The Undenatured Whey Proteins Save the Day

In the late 1980s, a group of researchers from the Montreal General Hospital Research Institute and McGill University compared the ability of different proteins to stimulate immune function in mice.  They kept the level of protein constant at 20 percent, but varied the type of protein, testing casein, soy, wheat, corn, egg white, fish, beef, spirulina, another alga called scenedesmus, and, finally, whey.  The whey protein promoted better immune function than all of the other proteins, and it achieved this marvelous feat by increasing the amount of glutathione available to the spleen, allowing the rapid multplication of immune-enhancing white blood cells.

In 1991, however, these researchers stumbled upon a critical discovery: whey proteins only boost glutathione status in their raw, undenatured state.

They made this discovery by complete accident when a shipment of whey protein from Denmark mysteriously lacked the glutathione-promoting activity of the preparation they had been using before.  So they put a number of whey proteins to the test by feeding them to mice and measuring the concentrations of glutathione in their livers and hearts.  Only their original preparation boosted glutathione status.  What turned out to be the difference?  Most of the products had undergone much more extensive heat treatment, causing two very delicate proteins, beta-lactoglobulin and serum albumin, to head for the highway.  These two proteins contain unique glutamyl-cysteine bonds that resist digestion and enter the blood stream in tact.  The glutamyl-cysteine bond is two-thirds of a glutathione molecule, and thus much more easily turned into glutathione itself.

Raw Egg White — The Trusty Sidekick?

The researchers searched over thirty publications identifying the sequences of edible plant and animal proteins and concluded that the only two types of protein in the food supply containing these unique bonds are whey proteins and egg white proteins.  They noted the following:

It may also be noteworthy that from time immemorial, whey from raw milk and/or undenatured raw egg white have been administered to children and to the sick as prophylactic or therapeutic measures in folk medicine.

I have heard of a number of cases of people benefiting from including raw egg whites in their diet.  It should be noted, however, that raw egg whites contain substances that inhibit digestion and decrease the availability of biotin.  Some people may benefit from their apparent glutathione-boosting ability, and this may be especially important for people who cannot tolerate milk, but in others the risk of biotin deficiency or digestive troubles might outweigh this benefit.  Intestinal flora produce biotin and egg yolks are loaded with it.  Maintaining proper intestinal flora and eating plenty of egg yolks may allow some people to reap the benefits of raw egg whites if they do not have trouble digesting them.

Attack Of the Ultra-High Temperatures

As milk is heated, the delicate whey proteins denature and start to associate with the casein fraction.  Even the small amount of heat involved in pasteurization decreases the whey protein concentration of milk, but ultra-high temperature (UHT) pasteurization and sterilization cause the worst declines.  I made the graph below from a study that purchased milk from several sources, each prepared in a different way.  It shows the percentage of total protein in the milk represented by whey proteins.  Since the different milks were from different sources, the difference could reflect both the heat treatment and the fact that the milk came from different cows that may have otherwise been treated differently.  In any case, it suggests the pasteurized milk we could buy at the store has much less whey protein than the raw milk we could get from the farm.

Since pasteurization decreases the total protein content of the milk, the concentration of whey proteins in the total milk fairs even worse:

High-temperature short-time (HTST) pasteurized milk had 30 percent less whey protein than raw milk, while UHT milk had a whopping 80 percent less and sterilized milk had a ginormous 87 percent less!

To make matters worse, heating milk also reduces the proportion of total whey protein represented by those magical yet delicate glutathione-boosting proteins.  This next study did things the right way and purchased raw milk from one source and subjected the milk to different heat treatments.  So we can without hesitation chalk these differences up completely to heat:

Whey protein from HTST milk has 22 percent less beta-lactoglobulin than raw milk.  If HTST also destroys 3o percent of the whey protein, then a glass of pasteurized milk has 45 percent less undenatured beta-lactoglobulin than a glass of raw milk.

While I had trouble finding a study that quantified the effect of HTST (about 72 C for 15 seconds) on serum albumin, a second rigorous study showed that heating milk at only 65 C for 15 seconds slashed away 40 percent of the serum albumin while heating the milk at 85 C for 30 seconds destroyed 77 percent of it:

If we give HTST the benefit of the doubt and assume its destructive effects are more similar to the effects seen with 65 C than those seen with 85 C, then we can conclude that it destroys roughly 45 percent of the glutathione-boosting properties of milk.  The undenatured whey protein that proved useful for boosting glutathione and immune function in mice was produced with a single round of “classical” pasteurization at 63 C for 30 minutes, which led to an even greater destruction of serum albumin, resulting in a total loss of 52 percent of the whey’s glutathione-boosting power.  The other whey proteins suffered even more heat damage during processing and failed to boost glutathione at all.

How Much Extra Glutathione Does Raw Milk Give Us?

What follows should be regarded as a very rough calculation that relies on several unproven assumptions, including the following: a) that the researchers’ hypothesis that the glutamyl-cysteine bonds are in fact responsible for the glutathione-boosting power of whey protein is true, b) that the total body increase in glutathione was similar to the increase seen in the tissues the researchers measured, and c) that raw, undenatured whey protein produces a similar response in people as it produces in mice.  Whey protein has in fact been shown to increase glutathione status in people, but for obvious reasons no one has ever dissected a human into bits to analyze the total amount of glutathione produced.

Relying on these imperfect assumptions, then, we can calculate that each glass of raw milk provides about 9.3 milligrams of glutathione while pasteurized milk provides only 4.5 milligrams:

Humans appear to make about 185 milligrams of glutathione per day when they meet the requirement for protein and sulfur amino acids.  A “milk fast” on 1500 calories of raw milk per day would provide the requirement for protein and sulfur amino acids and supply an extra 100 milligrams of glutathione-boosting power.  This should theoretically boost glutathione levels over 50 percent.  It should not be surprising, then, that such “milk fasts” have proved useful in the past for boosting immune function, recovering from illness, and regenerating vibrant health.

Raw egg whites contain a similar concentration of the unique glutathione-boosting glutamyl-cysteine bonds.  If indeed these bonds are responsible for raw milk’s glutathione-boosting power, raw egg whites might have similar power.  As noted above, many people may have have trouble with raw egg whites because of the biotin-binding factors and digestive enzyme inhibitors, but many other people, especially those who do not tolerate raw milk, may derive a big glutathione boost from them.  Raw milk and raw eggs should both be handled carefully to preserve these delicate bonds, and blending them into smoothies may cancel out some of the benefit.

Glutathione In Raw Fruits, Vegetables, and Other Foods

While raw milk and possibly raw egg whites contain unique glutathione-boosting proteins, most foods also contain small amounts of glutathione itself.  Studies in animals and humans have shown that dietary glutathione increases blood levels of glutathione, but one study in mice suggested that under ordinary conditions, dietary glutathione cannot boost its own concentration in other tissues except in the lung, where large amounts of glutathione are needed to maintain the fluidity of mucus.  When the researchers fed the mice a drug that inhibits glutathione synthesis, however, dietary glutathione did in fact boost tissue glutathione levels, which shows that cells do have the capacity to absorb it.

Thus, dietary glutathione should protect our intestines, blood, and lungs from oxidative assault, but huge amounts may be needed in order to give the same boost to our other tissues as we would get from raw milk. Once again, however, the heavy hand of heat takes a strike against our little hero.  The following data are taken from this paper.  Consider the effect of heat on spinach glutathione:

Or on the amount of glutathione in peaches:

Juicing is a particularly noxious way to treat fruits.  This is at least true when using commercial methods.  Each fruit in the following chart has two bars, one on the left for the whole fruit and one on the right for the corresponding fruit juice:

Asparagus, avocado, okra, spinach, squash, tomatoes, and potatoes rank among the richest plant foods measured.  Whole grains, legumes, vegetarian meat substitutes, and refined foods that have been measured contain little to no glutathione.

Meats contain lots of glutathione, but fats such as butter and lard contain zero.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  Loading up on lean meat is a bad idea unless you want to suffer from rabbit starvation.  Usually the digestive tract releases cysteine into our bloodstream slowly so that it never has much of a chance to accumulate and oxidize, but overdosing on lean meat might even provide enough cysteine to begin depleting glutathione levels.  While a raw “milk fast” may give us a huge glutathione boost, a lean “meat fast” is more likely to make us sick.

The best foods for boosting glutathione status appear to be raw milk or raw egg whites.  Many people who cannot tolerate pasteurized milk report that they can tolerate raw milk.  Many others report that they cannot.  Raw egg whites contain their own risks from anti-nutrients, but people who digest them well and get plenty of biotin from their intestinal flora or from additional egg yolks may be able to reap their glutathione-boosting benefits in the absence of milk.

Besides these two unique sets of proteins, meeting our daily needs for protein with moderate amounts of meat, fish, eggs, legumes, or other plant and animal protein foods, and loading up on raw fruits and veggies appear to be the best ways to give us a good glutathione boost.  A diet rich in the full spectrum of nutrients will also provide many other vitamins and minerals important to boosting glutathione status in less direct ways.

Glutathione is not the only benefit of raw foods, nor is loss of glutathione the only drawback to excessive heating and processing.  So we clearly should not base our diet merely on these data.  Some people, moreover, have intolerances to fruits and vegetables, just as others may not tolerate dairy or egg whites.  These facts emphasize the importance of considering each individual’s unique biochemistry rather than making a one-size-fits-all diet for everyone.

However, to the extent that glutathione is responsible for some of the miraculous recoveries people experience with raw milk, many of us may be able to enhance these recoveries even further by loading up on raw fruits and veggies, and people who cannot tolerate raw milk may benefit from consuming these foods in addition to raw, whole eggs if they do not have a problem with whites.

“Reducing” one of our favorite foods to a new favorite molecule may thus help us come up with better holistic solutions to promote vibrant health.  Here’s to yours!  And may the world obtain the same.

Read more about the author, Chris Masterjohn, PhD, here.

47 Responses to The Biochemical Magic of Raw Milk and Other Raw Foods: Glutathione

  1. Randall Watson says:


    You mentioned asparagus as rating fairly well fir glutathione, at least as far as plant foods go. In the past I have always purchased frozen organic asparagus, which I would then cook in the following manner….

    1. Fill a pan with a shallow layer of water
    2. Bring water to a boil
    3. Add Asparagus
    4. Cover pan and turn heat down to medium, or even low, and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.

    While this method is on the gentler end of the scale, is it likely that I am knocking out a large chunk of benefit by preparing it as such? carrots are about the only vegetable that I eat raw with any regularity, with all my other vegetable consumption coming from lightly cooked vegetables. I always reasoned that is was better to eat a lot prepared in a way I enjoy vs. limiting them drastically on account of not being so keen on most of them in the raw state. Perhaps I need to rethink my policy and start attempting to alter my habits.

  2. Wendy says:

    What about hard cheese (like Gruyere or Parmesan) made from raw milk? How do they fair as far as glutathione is concerned? How about semi-soft cheeses?


  3. Awesome! Appropriately applied reductionism at its finest. 🙂 This article will be a great source to counter the “raw milk and pasteurized milk have no meaningful nutritional differences” claim that crops up so often.

    I’ve read in a few places (none totally reliable) that fertilized eggs have a lower avidin content than unfertilized ones. I don’t know how far along an embryonated egg would have to be for there to be a significant change, though — do you happen to have any info on this? Maybe fertilized eggs would be helpful for folks who want to down a lot of raw whites without worrying about inducing biotin deficiency.

    Fantastic work 🙂

    • Samantha Lewis says:

      I have a friend who cannot eat fertilized eggs. He can eat them if they are not fertilized (no rooster). He is also allergic to poultry meat. I thought that was interesting.

  4. Awesome! Appropriately applied reductionism at its finest. 🙂 This article will be a great source to counter the “raw milk and pasteurized milk have no meaningful nutritional differences” claim that crops up so often.

    I’ve read in a few places (none totally reliable) that fertilized eggs have a lower avidin content than unfertilized ones. I don’t know how far along an embryonated egg would have to be for there to be a significant change, though — do you happen to have any info on this? Maybe fertilized eggs would be helpful for folks who want to down a lot of raw whites without worrying about inducing biotin deficiency.

    Fantastic work!

  5. Hi Randall,

    Cooked asparagus actually has a huge chunk of glutathione (~20 mg/100g). This would seem to suggest that raw asparagus has a proportionately more massive chunk, but they didn’t measure it. They measured foods as they are usually prepared, and there were only a handful of foods that they measured both raw and cooked.

    Cooking increases the bioavailability of some other nutrients, most notably carotenoids, so there is some merit to cooking vegetables. Health also reaches far beyond the biochemical. There are vastly understudied and difficult-to-study electromagnetic, psychological, and spiritual aspects to health, so I would not discount the importance of enjoyment and thanksgiving.

    And there is always raw fruit! Which tends to be really yummy.


  6. Hi Wendy,

    I’m not sure about all the specific cheeses, but in general cheese-making tends to separate out the whey proteins. It is the whey proteins responsible for the glutathione-boosting properties of raw milk, so the best way to figure out the benefit of a specific type of cheese is to see whether contains any whey proteins. I would think on the whole that fresh milk and yogurt (or kefir) would be much better than cheese in this respect. Although cheese has other benefits, especially if you don’t do well with lactose.


  7. Hey Denise,


    That’s a good question about avidin. I have wondered that for years, but never researched it. An egg seems intuitively analogous to a seed, so it seems like fertilization should neutralize the anti-nutrients like sprouting does to seeds. That’s a good topic to research for another blog post perhaps!


  8. Dan says:

    Chris, great article. What about non-denatured whey powders? Is there a specific reason that you know of to avoid them – or is it just cautious avoidance of modern processed food?

  9. Hey Dan,


    For whey protein powders, the closer it comes to being a fraction of whole, unprocessed milk the closer it comes to being something like cod liver oil — a concentrate of an important fraction of nutrients — rather than a modern, processed food. So I don’t think whey proteins should be avoided by simple virtue of the fact that they are modern or that they are a fraction of a whole food.

    However, there are some important considerations.

    First, the word “undenatured” is deceptive because when a whey protein denatures, it associates with the casein fraction and is not included in a whey protein isolate. All whey protein, no matter how awfully it is processed, is mostly undenatured. What you want to find out is whether it is processed at low temperatures or without heat, what type of pasteurization it underwent and at how many points during the process, and so on. If it is cold-processed using modern filtration techniques rather than spray-drying and if it underwent a single classical or HTST pasteurization rather than multiple pasteurizations or UHT, this is good. However, it is obviously better if you can find one made from raw milk.

    There are several other concerns. First, eating extra protein will increase your turnover of vitamin A. You probably want to make sure you are eating liver and/or cod liver oil if you are taking a protein supplement, although the same could be said for eating a lot of muscle meat. Second, milk contains a broad spectrum of nutrients. Whey protein, not so much. So you have to make sure your background diet is nutrient-dense enough to compensate for including a food that has good quality important proteins but not that much in the way of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.

    If you get something of good quality it could probably be useful as a bodybuilding aid or for boosting immune function, but as with anything whole foods are generally preferable (unless you don’t tolerate the whole food for some reason, of course).

    Hope that helps,

  10. Greg Kilger says:


    While whole foods from quality sources cannot be topped, would it be worthwhile for those who tolerate dairy and don’t have consistent access to a source of raw milk to use a high-quality whey protein powder 1 time a day or every other day (merely as a supplement to the diet, not as a dietary staple of any sort) in terms of deriving benefits on the glutathione front?

    I personally use a product called “Whey Cool” from Designs For Health; Supposedly it is derived from raw milk from pastured/”grassfed” cows and processed in a manner that doesn’t destroy the delicate and valuable microfractions or denature the protein itself. I’ve always wondered if I am a sucker overpaying for what amounts to a waste of time or making a worthwhile investment in my health by periodically supplementing my regular dietary habits with this, in lieu of the whole raw milk that I just can’t seem to purchase with any regularity, if at all, in my area.

  11. Greg,

    Thanks for writing. In short, yes. I’m not familiar with the specifics of that product, but if it is in fact raw and the processing is delicate so as not to disturb its rawness, then isolating the whey protein fraction is analogous to isolating cod liver oil from cod liver or using a centrifuge to obtain high-vitamin butter oil from cream. Of course whenever you fractionate anything you raise the question of whether you’re missing out on other nutrients. If you aren’t using milk, you have to make sure you’re getting your calcium from somewhere, as well as the many other important nutrients that can be obtained from milk. This is not necessarily difficult but you have to be mindful of it. But delicate cold-processing that concentrates whey proteins from raw milk should preserve and concentrate the glutathione-boosting power.


  12. jimmyv says:


    I have read many articles of yours and appreciate your work. You make mention of centrifuge extraction of high vitamin butter oil raising questions. Are you insinuating that it is better to consume enough pasture butter to obtain Activator X (K2)? Also, I have been tracking my consumption of all foods/drinks over the past 2 months. It seems that I consume on average about 4-5 tablespoons daily of cultured pasture butter (from organic valley, not raw, although I may be switching to raw). I usually use Food For Life Sprouted Flourless bread as the vehicle. Also, I consume 2-4 organic free roaming eggs daily, and drink an 8 oz glass of raw milk (I’m lucky that my local Henry’s Market sells OP raw milk). I also am taking the FCLO and HVBO, and one tablespoon of virgin coconut oil daily. I am currently on a heavy muscle building weight lifting schedule. Does this sound like I would be getting enough (or too much) glutathione? Would adding 1 scoop of raw grass fed milk whey protein be a good idea for me to build muscle?

    Sorry for so many questions. Hopefully I am not overloading you here 🙂


  13. jaker says:

    would supplementing with oral glutathione or IV glutathione be an advantage?

  14. Tim Ferriss says:

    Great work. Nothing more to add. Thank you for an insightful and well-reasoned critique.


  15. G says:

    I wonder if you guys ever heard about the all-cheese diet of Dave Nunley?


  16. Dan says:

    Thanks for your response above about whey powders!! It’s been a while, but I have a follow up question. If denatured whey associates with casein, with the result that any whey powder or whey product (like real ricotta cheese) contains mostly undenatured whey, does it matter how that powder or product was produced? For example, even if whey from UHT milk is used to make a powder or product, is the small amount of whey that survives that process still good whey? Many thanks, Dan

  17. Isaac Rivera says:

    This may very well explain my wife’s health problems. She has been doing the GAPS intro protocol for a year. Her main symptom is daily heartburn which seems to get a lot worse with fats. On the other hand, sweet or fibrous veggies give her massive and painful bloating. So she is on a very limited diet and can mostly tolerate leaner meats and white fish. She does take a small amount of FCLO (2 caps) and eats small amounts of fat in her pork. Have we gotten into a vicious circle of her liver is over-taxed with all the protein processing (and the toxic products of SIBO) and thus cant digest fats?

  18. Isaac Rivera says:

    There are two parts of the article I don’t get. One is related to this quote: “Meats contain lots of glutathione, but fats such as butter and lard contain zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Loading up on lean meat is a bad idea unless you want to suffer from rabbit starvation. Usually the digestive tract releases cysteine into our bloodstream slowly so that it never has much of a chance to accumulate and oxidize, but overdosing on lean meat might even provide enough cysteine to begin depleting glutathione levels.”

    Are you saying that though “meats contain lots of glutathione” but meat’s levels of cysteine cancel all that glutathione out?

    The second question is regarding regular “low temp” pasteurization of milk (63 deg C for 30 minutes). It is not clear to me from the article if this processes’ “total loss of 52 percent of the whey’s glutathione-boosting power” cancels the glutathione benefits of milk or not.

    Thanks for your reply,


  19. Robert Cannon says:

    Intravenous glutathione seems to be far more effective per book “Power Up Your Brain”- excellent new book. Also cysteine oxidizing- N- Acetyl-Cysteine is a stable form. THere are many benefits of supplementing. Here is an excellent paper.
    (e) Everybody is likely to experience a cysteine deficiency sooner or later
    As everybody beyond the fifth decade of life will experience sooner or later a decrease in muscle function, a decrease in immune function, a decrease in plasma albumin concentration, and/or an increase in TNF-α concentration, it is hypothesized that practically everybody experiences sooner or later an ageing-related deficit in the body cysteine and glutathione reservoirs that warrants cysteine supplementation. This hypothesis implies that ageing may be postponed and frailty be avoided to some extent by supplementation of the ‘paravitamin’ cysteine.
    (they use NAC orally) Undenatured Whey is also an excellent source they say.

  20. pamela says:

    I just made the corned beef recipe from Sally F.’s book. (I am however, choosing to cook it in the crock pot.) It had a bit of funky smell – I am not sure that is typical because of sitting on the counter for 48 – 54 hours. Or if it is a sign I should be concerned of. It is scheduled for the family dinner tonight!! I used raw milk kefir whey for my whey.

    While I am talking with you: I did a batch of lacto pickles (sally’s recipe) with kefir whey a couple days ago, and they had a bad sulfur type smell (like cooked hard boiled eggs or even rotten eggs). I tasted them and the seemed OK, but the smeel was intolerable and I picthen them. Me and my daughter both had mild symptoms of food poisioning, but we took charcoal and it seemed to pass. We eat whole foods, no drugs, and organic raw milk and grass fed meat, and cultured beverages, etc. (FOR YEARS) We are not typical SAD diet folks – so I wouldn’t think it is a detox thing…will you please advise? Not sure hwo to ask.

    Thanks You, Pamela

  21. Howard says:

    I keep seeing warnings against eating raw eggs, even from such notables as Dr. Eades. What is the risk? If there is a difference tied to source, how do you verify the source?

    • Christopher Masterjohn says:

      Hi Howard,

      I think you have to be careful of raw egg whites if they hurt your digestion or if you notice any signs of biotin deficiency but they seem to be helpful for some people. I would avoid factory farmed eggs raw just because of the extra risk of uncleanliness, but personally I eat raw egg yolks a lot and don’t worry about it too much. I think if you have someone who’s frail or gets gut bugs easy then perhaps extra precautions are warranted.


  22. Mark L. says:

    Thanks for the useful information! What do you think about adding biotin to raw egg whites before consuming the egg whites to avert avidin’s effect in the body? My unique situation is that I have been eating raw egg yolks and “partially-cooked” egg whites for 4 years; I cooked the egg whites partially in a microwave in an attempt to denature the avidin, but recently I noticed “clouds” on a misshapened fingernail (which is a symptom of biotin deficiency).

    • Christopher Masterjohn says:

      Hi Mark,

      I generally don’t bother with the egg whites. I prefer to just throw them away. I think adding extra biotin should work — egg yolk and liver are the best sources — but my general feeling is that if you develop symptoms of biotin deficiency from raw or cooked egg whites then it’s better to just ditch them, unless there are clear benefits you are accruing from eating them.


  23. valerie says:

    “Raw milk and raw eggs should both be handled carefully to preserve these delicate bonds, and blending them into smoothies may cancel out some of the benefit”. Chris, I make a smoothie with raw milk kefir blended with my oat/wheat porridge that I make (sprouted dehyrdated mix that I mill at home, then soak in water with some kefir for 2 days before cooking on low heat). After reading this I am concerned about the blending. I just stir in the raw yolks after this is blended. But am I damaging my kefir/porridge by using my hand held blender and should probably mix it by hand? Im am answering my own question but I would love your opinion. BTW, Thank you a million billions time over for your amazing ability to make the science understandable to a layman and the effort you put into these articles. You are a incredibly valuable voice for the wAPF. This foundations message is greatly enhanced by your education and knowledge. You are the kind of spokesman we need!!! Keep up the good work please. Valerie

    • Hi Valerie,

      Yes I think if you have a raw milk product you should try blending the less delicate things and stirring them into the milk by hand. I can’t verify or quantify the effect on glutathione production, but I’ve read that, qualitatively, there is some destruction of the important peptides with blending.


  24. Kirk says:

    Great article by my favorite nutrition researcher/scientist!
    For protein powders I used to use a brown rice protein powder and hemp protein powder….I would have used whey protein powders but was concerned about the negative effects of processing…. I discovered that there were now whey protein powders available from grass fed cows…. I found one that claims it is never heated it claims to be the only one that uses a cold pasteuriztion process…. the product is called One World Whey I compared prices to other grass fed whey powders and it is near the lowest cost approx. $1.25 per 15gram of protein (when purchased in the 5 lb container) it does have a great taste and the flavorings are natural like real vanilla beans for the vanila flavor….
    For the last 6 months I have been on the perfect health diet and I think it makes a lot of sense also thanks for your excellent review of The perfect health diet

    • Rob says:

      As far as I can tell, One World Whey uses “cold pasteurization” for their milk/whey. That’s another name for irradiation. I think I’d rather have the milk heated for a couple seconds than to have it irradiated. Vital Whey (sold by US Wellness Meats) is 100% grass fed and organic.

      • Denise says:

        From their info:

        One World Whey is NOT irradiated. Whey protein powders must meet FDA microbial standards. Other whey proteins use heat pasteurization to kill microbes. One World Whey uses a completely cold process to remove microbes. One World Whey is not technically “raw” nor enzymatically alive. One World Whey meets the FDA microbial standards. The FDA requires that microbes not be detectable, because microbes are their concern when it comes to harmful pathogens.

    • tslate says:


      Irradiated can be code for pasteurized, cold pasteurized and flash pasteurized or just irradiated. You can also look for a radura symbol on the label of a radiated product.

      There’s also HPP or high pressure processing which is also “cold” pasteurization.

      Then the standard heat methods which include 30 minutes at 145 F or 15 seconds at 161 F or some others at much higher temps, shorter times.

      I think whomever manufactures one world whey needs to be explicit about how it pasteurizes the product as hiding behind cold processing and claims of inventing a 7 step process sounds fishy as whey manufacturing processes(these days) are highly technical and were not invented by one person.

      Vital Whey as far as I recall uses a 15 second, 161 F pasteurization using Australian grass fed milk. I don’t know much about the One World Whey as the descriptions are a bit murky, like “trucool” process, never heated. If a product has never been heated then it’s code for either HPP or irradiation/pulsed ultraviolet laser light.

      So either one world whey must be using HPP or irradiation or heat pasteurizing first and then using cold process methods (as much of the industry does). In other words it is not a lie to say the whey is cold processed because the “milk” is heat pasteurized and thereafter the whey is manufactured using all “cold” methods. It’s just a wee bit deceptive.

      Try them both and compare is your best bet. After all said and done One World Whey may be a great product, I just think people deserve to be told the truth.

      These are the heat methods:

      • Denise says:

        One World Whey is NOT irradiated. Whey protein powders must meet FDA microbial standards. Other whey proteins use heat pasteurization to kill microbes. One World Whey uses a completely cold process to remove microbes. One World Whey is not technically “raw” nor enzymatically alive. One World Whey meets the FDA microbial standards. The FDA requires that microbes not be detectable, because microbes are their concern when it comes to harmful pathogens.

      • Steve says:

        Interesting comment about the various processing methods. I’ve listened to Stephen Huerer on numerous podcasts and one point he does make is that the milk is not heated before obtaining the whey, thus the proteins remain undamaged. Other companies claim their whey is unpasteurized but they fail to mention that the milk was first pasteurized.

      • Dan says:

        I’ve been reading lots about HPP and I’m not avoiding those processed foods the way I would irritated ones. It’s basically just replicating the pressures you’d get far under water, which lyses bacteria cell membranes. I’d never replace my raw foods with it entirely, but I’m fine with it occasionally. What do you think?

  25. Pranay says:

    Hey Chris!
    I have always wondered what exactly the phrase “denatured proteins” connotes: is it that the proteins, due to high heat, etc. bond with other proteins creating a complex compound that does not have the benefit of the original separate compounds? Or is it a protein molecule (amino acid chain) that unfolds due to heat, cooking (maybe at low heat?), etc. After all, I wonder, the stomach denatures denatures proteins through hydrochloric acid (and proteases too, I think). So, my question is, are denatured proteins really bad, or can they help digestion since they do the stomach’s job for it? And could the level of temperature be a factor in dtermining if they are good or bad?
    Everytime I have scrambled eggs or omelletes i wonder if I’m getting the protein I need! Thanks!

  26. Katherine says:


    Thanks for sharing this information and your thoughts on raw milk. What are your views on studies suggesting that dairy inhibits the body’s uptake of antioxidants in tea, fruits, and vegetables? Casein is the suspected culprit, and if I understand correctly, the thought is that the casein binds with the antioxidants in the other food, ultimately making those antioxidants inaccessible to the body. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any studies comparing pasteurized milk to raw milk: the studies, to my knowledge, only used pasteurized milk. Doesn’t the pasteurization process change the casein? Do you think that it’s likely raw milk doesn’t behave in the same way as pasteurized milk? I’m thinking that raw milk’s casein probably doesn’t bind to antioxidants that way, but I’d love thoughts from someone who has a better understanding than I do. My knowledge of chemistry is very limited. I drink raw milk, and I’m wondering if I should abstain from drinking a glass of milk with a fruit and vegetable meal? Or is raw milk most likely fine to consume at the same time? Any thoughts?

    • Hi Katherine,

      Thanks for writing! Unfortunately, I can’t give you a good answer to your question because I’m not familiar with the research showing that milk inhibits the absorption of “antioxidants.” I don’t know what you mean by “antioxidants,” but if you’re talking about polyphenols, the absorption of these is normally incredibly low because our body actively tries not to absorb them, so I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that this is a “bad” effect — it could just be support of the normal metabolic process that prevents their absorption. I personally wouldn’t worry about drinking milk with vegetables unless it bothers your digestion.


  27. Chris Eisenhour says:

    Hi Chris,

    I just found this site and have to admit it is amazing! But after reading this blog i was wondering what the difference was between a protein isolate and a concentrate. I’ve read that isolates have a higher bio-availability than concentrates but that isolates can turn putrid in your gut. If they are both undenatured and raw is one better than the other? Also what are your thoughts on colostrum?


  28. adrian says:

    So u saying that raw milk is much better and does it produce high amount of biochemical nutrient ? Pls respand asp thank u

  29. Emily says:

    Thank you for your article..I am trying to figure out the best way to boost glutathione for my daughter with autism. You might be aware that many children with autism are low in their glutathione levels. Are you aware of a study that would show which boosts glutathione the most- raw milk, whey isolate, whey concentrate, or another transdermal/IV/oral form of glutathione? Thanks!!

  30. Dorian says:

    Thank you so much for writing on sensitive subjects like this. People are so indoctrinated by superficial science that they forget common sense and traditions. I live in Canada, and the majority of the young people would not conceive to drink raw milk.
    When I lived in Romania, I used to buy raw milk every so often, and we drank some raw, or we pasteurized it by briefly boil it to one raise, (if we didn’t know the farmer).

  31. Brian says:

    so what would the absolute best whey to regenerate glutathione? Best Whey brand?

    Lots of people say NAC, but I never saw that much an improvement.

  32. Cheri Marques says:

    I’ve been searching the internet to find various ways to boost glutathione…because I have come across something that is down right jaw dropping in terms of GSH increase. I saw here that a raw milk fast could boost GSH by 50%….but the Ribocine molecule (Dr. Nagasawa) boosts intracellular GSH by 300-500%!!!!!! You should check it out…32 peer review studies on it.
    So far I haven’t seen anything that is it’s equal…

Leave a reply

© 2015 The Weston A. Price Foundation for Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts.