Blog Nutrition Raw Milk Benefits: Will the Advantages Outweigh the Potential Risks?

Raw Milk Benefits: Will the Advantages Outweigh the Potential Risks?

Raw milk benefits get a lot of attention, but so do the risks involved in drinking it. You’ve likely heard about the potential health benefits related to raw milk but can’t stop wondering if it’s worth the potential risks. Besides, don’t newborns drink raw breast milk?


Raw, unprocessed milk are claimed to benefit your health, gut, and skin. However, weighing the possible advantages against the disadvantages requires knowing more about both types of milk.  

What Are 5 Benefits of Raw Milk?

Raw milk benefits may include these five areas:

  1. Raw milk may introduce beneficial bacteria to the gut microbiome(21). However, it can also contain disease-causing bacteria. 
  2. Although pasteurization probably has minimal impacts on the nutritional value of milk, it does decrease the amount of riboflavin (vitamin B2) (2, 22). However, pasteurized milk still remains an excellent source of riboflavin.
  3. Raw milk skin benefits may include avoiding nutrient deficiencies which cause mouth sores and cracked lips,  as well as possible reduced eczema symptoms (22, 27).
  4. Raw milk health benefits may include muscle growth with whey protein and possible reduced risk of asthma and allergies (29, 24).

However, the raw versus pasteurized milk debate is worth checking out before deciding which you prefer drinking. 

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What Is Raw Milk?

Raw milk hasn’t gone through processing or pasteurization, which the CDC recommends should happen to remove potentially harmful bacteria (19). Pasteurized milk undergoes a heating process with a temperature high enough to kill unwanted bacteria.

The CDC admits that neither milk has a guarantee against harmful germs, bacteria, mold, and contamination. They believe raw milk is much more likely to carry harmful germs, but neither milk is 100% germ-free. Even pasteurized milk may have been exposed to contaminants after pasteurization, especially if not handled and stored properly. 

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Despite the risks involved with raw milk or dairy products, some people still love it. Let’s weigh the benefits and risks to help you decide if it’s worthwhile. 

raw milk benefits for skin

Raw Milk Benefits and Risks

Some people believe that raw milk benefits may outweigh the risks when considering both sides of the story. However, knowing both sides might also scare you away from reaping the benefits. Let’s help you discover the truth about raw milk, especially the tested kinds some farmers sell. 

What Are the Benefits of Raw Milk for the Stomach?

Raw milk benefits for the gut and digestion may convince you to find tested raw milk. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that raw milk is better tolerated by those with lactose intolerance, possibly due to the presence of bacteria that produce enzymes which help break down the lactose. These claims have not been supported by research, however (21). 

Does Raw Milk Have Good Bacteria?

Furthermore, Irish researchers examined the bacterial composition of raw milk (7). The good bacteria found in raw milk and dairy products include: 

  • Bifidobacteria
  • Lactobacillus

However, the same study shows a high potential for harmful microbes within raw milk (7):

  • Escherichia coli (E-coli)
  • Campylobacter
  • Listeria
  • Salmonella
  • Mycotoxin-producing fungi

The CDC warns that the harmful bacteria may cause diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, cramps, and an increased risk of life-threatening diseases (19). 

Benefits of Raw Milk’s Good Bacteria

Before you choose pasteurized milk, let’s see how each healthy bacteria in raw milk may benefit you. The latter may be safer but kills the beneficial bacteria with heat treatment. 

Lactobacillus May Prevent Lactose Intolerance

Anecdotal evidence suggests that raw milk may prevent or reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance. This may be because Lactobacillus is a common bacteria found in raw milk. Heat-treated dairy doesn’t have it because the high temperatures kill the bacteria (21). These microbiome-friendly bacteria produce lactase, a digestive enzyme that helps you digest lactose. However, research has not supported the claim that raw milk reduces lactose intolerance – the evidence remains anecdotal. 

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It is also worth pointing out that there are other ways to get beneficial bacteria without risking foodborne illness. Fermented foods, including fermented dairy, are sources of these probiotic beneficial bacteria. 

Read more: Which Milk Is Best For Weight Loss: Should We Demonize This Calcium-Packed Drink?

Raw Milk Benefits for Nutrition

Raw milk benefits may include denser nutritional values with its own benefits. Let’s see how one vitamin makes all the difference when heat-treating store-bought milk. 

Raw Milk May Have Slightly Higher Nutritional Values

A Canadian review of 40 studies examined how pasteurization decreases specific nutrients within milk (2). No losses occurred with vitamin B6. Vitamin A was actually increased following pasteurization. However, pasteurization slightly decreased these vitamins

  • Folate
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

The minimal loss of nutrients in heat-treated milk isn’t too concerning. The authors of the study concluded that the nutritional impact of pasteurization on milk is minimal, largely because the amounts of these vitamins in milk are small to begin with. The one exception is riboflavin (vitamin B2). However, even after some losses due to heat treatment, pasteurized milk is still an excellent source of riboflavin. 

Raw Milk May Help Cell Function

Vitamin B2 is also called Riboflavin. The National Institutes of Health says Riboflavin is necessary to (22): 

  • Regulate the growth and function of your body’s cells
  • Transform food into energy

The recommended daily dose of vitamin B2 is 1.1 mg for women and 1.3 mg for men (22). Dairy is among the primary sources of vitamin B2. Other sources include fortified grains, eggs, lean protein, mushrooms, and spinach.  As mentioned before, raw milk may contain more riboflavin than pasteurized milk, but pasteurized milk is still an excellent source of riboflavin.

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raw milk benefits and risks

Raw Milk Benefits for Skin

Raw milk benefits for the skin may include reduced swelling, cracking, and eczema symptoms. Discover how vitamins and simple components may improve skin health. 

Raw Milk May Improve Vitamin B2 Levels

Raw milk benefits for the skin start by broadening your knowledge of vitamin B2. The National Institutes of Health says a vitamin B2 deficiency may increase your risk for the following (22): 

  • Sores in the mouth’s corners
  • Swollen, cracked lips
  • Hair loss

Again, both pasteurized and raw milk are excellent sources of riboflavin (vitamin B2).

Raw Milk May Protect Against Eczema

Additionally, UK researchers studied how farm life affected eczema and allergy symptoms in children (27). Raw milk consumption was associated with reduced eczema symptoms and a 59% reduction in immunoglobulin E levels. More research is needed to better understand this association, and it does not negate the health risks of raw milk, which might be more serious for children.

Raw Milk Benefits for Health

Raw milk benefits for health require understanding the proteins and other components beyond the good bacteria you’ve investigated. Let’s see what else may benefit you.  

Raw Milk May Reduce Allergies or Asthma

German researchers analyzed the effects of raw farm milk on children with allergies and asthma (24). Children who drank more raw milk had fewer hay fever and asthma incidents. Other factors may contribute, including the farm environment in which they live. 

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Polish researchers found similar results when studying whether raw milk protects individuals against allergies and asthma (17). The reasons didn’t pinpoint precise mechanisms, but researchers believed the undisturbed and natural proteins, fatty acids, and healthy bacteria help. 

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Is Raw Milk Actually Good for You?

Studies have shown that the nutritional content does not differ significantly between raw and pasteurized milk. Some health concerns remain serious, such as the harmful bacteria you may consume. According to the CDC, even laboratory tests do not always detect low levels of contamination, which can still make you sick(19). The potential benefits are pretty minor, while the risks are very real. 

Is It Good to Drink Raw Milk Everyday?

Drinking raw milk at all is strongly discouraged by public health authorities (19). There is no significant nutritional benefit, and the risk of serious illness is very real. 

Where Can You Find Raw Milk?

Different US states have laws regulating raw milk, some allowing it, while others don’t. The farm-to-consumer interactive map constantly updates the laws regulating raw milk in different states (18). No raw milk may cross state borders, but the map typically shows:

  • Where to find raw milk in retail outlets
  • Where to buy raw milk from farmers who test it
  • Where to buy raw milk for pets and animals
  • Where you can’t find raw milk at all

Goat Milk Benefits May Offer an Alternative

Consider another alternative if you don’t feel safe enough to drink raw cow’s milk. Goat’s milk contains higher amounts of the foundational nutrients in dairy. Goat’s milk may bring added benefits because of higher nutritional values per 8 fl oz. glass (11):

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Goat’s Milk Cow’s Milk
Calories 168 149
Protein 9 g 8 g
Carbs 11 g 12 g
Fat 10 g 8 g
Calcium 327 mg 276 mg
Phosphorus 271 mg 205 mg
Potassium 498 mg 322 mg

Goat’s Milk May Be Better for Some People Than Cow’s Milk

Michigan State University claims that goat’s milk may work better for some people than cow’s milk (11). Many people with cow’s milk allergies can tolerate goat’s milk, for example. It may also be easier to digest because the fat globules are smaller and it is naturally homogenized.  

Read more: Food Quiz To Determine How Well Do You Know What You Eat.


Is Raw Milk the Healthiest Milk?

The nutritional benefits of raw milk are small. Pasteurization does not meaningfully change the nutrient content of milk, and beneficial bacteria can be obtained from other foods. . The CDC recommends against  raw milk as it may carry harmful bacteria (19). 

Is It Safe to Drink Raw Milk?

According to the CDC, individuals over 65, children under five, pregnant women, or those with weakened immune systems are at the greatest risk of foodborne illness, but anyone can get sick from drinking raw milk or consuming products made from it (19). 

What Are the Side Effects of Raw Milk?

The CDC warns that contaminated raw milk may contain germs that cause diarrhea, cramping, nausea, and vomiting (19). More serious illnesses can also occur including Guillain-Barre Syndrome (paralysis) or Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, leading to kidney failure or death.

The Bottom Line

Raw milk versus pasteurized milk isn’t a debate anyone can answer for you. Instead, you must consider the facts, how raw milk may benefit you, and how it may introduce harmful bacteria into your system. The nutritional qualities of raw and pasteurized milk are similar, while the risk of foodborne illness with raw milk is very serious.



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 9 Essential Nutrients Or Why You Should Include Milk To Your Daily Menu (2022,
  2. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Pasteurization on Milk Vitamins, and Evidence for Raw Milk Consumption and Other Health-Related Outcomes (2011,
  3. Calcium, Vitamin D, and Your Bones (2022,
  4. Calories in 100% Natural Cold Pressed Raw Cow’s Milk (n.d.,
  5. Calories in Grade A Raw Goat Milk By St. John Creamery (n.d., 
  6. Changes in Stability and Shelf-Life of Ultra-High Temperature Treated Milk During Long-Term Storage at Different Temperatures (2019,
  7. Complex Microbiota of Raw Milk (2013,
  8. Consumption of Unprocessed Cow’s Milk Protects Infants From Common Respiratory Infections (2015,
  9. Dairy Milk Is High In Carbs, So Here Are A Few Keto-Friendly Substitutes (2022,
  10. Effect of Whey Protein Supplementation on Inflammatory and Antioxidant Markers, and Clinical Prognosis in Acute Ischemic Stroke (TNS Trial): A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled, Clinical Trial (2020,
  11. Goat Milk Versus Cow Milk: A Comparison (2022,
  12. Heat Stability of Micellar Casein Concentrates as Affected by Temperature and pH (2012,
  13. Influence of Nonfermented Dairy Products Containing Bacterial Starter Cultures on Lactose Maldigestion in Humans (1991,
  14. Lowering Effect of Fermented Milk With Lactococcus Lactis: A Pilot Study (2018,
  15. Nonpasteurized Dairy Products, Disease Outbreaks, and State Laws – United States, 1993-2006 (2012,
  16. Randomized Double-Blind Controlled Clinical Trial of the Blood Pressure–
  17. Raw Cow’s Milk and Its Protective Effect on Allergies and Asthma (2019,
  18. Raw Milk Nation – Interactive Map (2023,
  19. Raw Milk Questions and Answers | CDC (2023,
  20. Recent Development of Probiotic Bifidobacteria for Treating Human Diseases (2021,
  21. Recipe for a Healthy Gut: Intake of Unpasteurised Milk Is Associated with Increased Lactobacillus Abundance in the Human Gut Microbiome (2022,
  22. Riboflavin – Consumer (2022,
  23. Solubility and Heat Stability of Whey Protein Concentrates (1977,
  24. The Beneficial Effect of Farm Milk Consumption on Asthma, Allergies, and Infections: From Meta-Analysis of Evidence to Clinical Trial (2020,
  25. The Skeletal Muscle Anabolic Response to Plant- versus Animal-Based Protein Consumption (2015,
  26. Vitamin A Intake and the Risk of Hip Fracture in Postmenopausal Women: The Iowa Women’s Health Study (2007,
  27. Which Aspects of the Farming Lifestyle Explain the Inverse Association With Childhood Allergy? (2006,
  28. Why Does Milk Make You Sleepy? Learn All The Facts! (2022,
  29. Workout Supplements: Whey vs. Casein Protein (2023,
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