Wednesday, July 07, 2010

What is Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone?

What is Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone?
Similar controversy surrounds recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), also called recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), administered to dairy cattle to help them produce more milk.

Developed by Monsanto Corporation and marketed under the name Posilac, it has generated a lot of debated since it was approved by the FDA in 1993.

The United States is the only major industrialized nation to approve rBGH, Health Canada, the food and drug regulatory arm of the Canadian government, rejected rBGH in early 1999 and stirred up more controversy in the process.

They rejected the drug after careful review is the same data that was submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration, finding that it did not meet standards for veterinary health and might pose food safety issues for humans.

The hormone is injected into the pituitary gland of dairy cows over two weeks because it can increase milk production by as much as 15 percent.

Unfortunately, it increases the rate of mastitis by 25 percent increases the rate of infertility in cattle 18 percent, and the rate of lameness 50 percent.

Because the cows are sicker, they are closed more heavily with antibiotics, which exacerbates the problem of antibiotic use in animals.

The mechanism by which rBGH works may also create dangerous hormones for people consuming the dairy products from treated cows.

As a by-product, rBGH causes cows to produce more insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1).

IGF-1 is present in milk at higher levels in cows that take rBGH. IGF-1 causes cells to divide. Elevated levels have been associated with higher rates of breast, colon and prostate cancer.
What is Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone?

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