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Bovine Somatotropin Effects on Humans Still Under Debate

Bovines and Humans, what’s the connection when it comes to Hormones and Steroids. As consumers of milk from cows, we are connected, that’s how. In order to increase the milk produced from a bovine, they are injected with steroids. Once injected with a steroid, they produce more milk than normal and the owner tends to make more money than normal. The steroids induce hormones in the cow and cattle so that they manufacture more milk in their udder. The hormones may show up in the resultant milk and when a consumer drinks the milk, it may have some effects on the humans.

Behind the Scene

Somatotropin is a peptide hormone produced by the pituitary glands of cows and cattle. These hormones can be artificially manufactured by a process called Recombinant DNA technology and the hormone is called a bovine somatotropin (rBST), recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). This hormone is a like a Growth hormone found in humans. Once injected into the bovine animal, they induce cell growth in them, thereby increasing the size of the animal as well as producing more milk in the udder. Small portions of the hormone are found in the milk and seem to have bovine somatotropin effects on humans.

The Numbers Game and Real Effects

It’s found that Somatotropin effectson humans is 1/10th of the human Somatotropin in normal adult population. With respect to infants, it’s found that they increase the IGF1 by 1% and considered to have little or no effect on the growth of the children. However, cattle and cows, which have been injected with the hormone have been found to develop Mastitis. This is a kind of disease caused by infections via bacteria. Hence these cattle have to be treated with antibiotics and other medicines. There is a higher chance of developing cancer because of the hormone.

Effects on Humans

Cows treated with this steroid have remnants of the hormone and when humans consume this milk, it’s found that it contains a hormone called Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1, in short IGF1. The presence of this IGF1 is the cause of concern to the humans. IGF1 in humans is responsible for the growth of the body in the form of cell growth and proliferation and retarding cell growth. Somatotropin effects on humans is still being researched by the top scientific bodies like the WHO, FDA, National Cancer Association, etc. The increased levels of IG1 and the antibiotics present in the milk which is the cause of concern for many a people. Whether humans will develop cancer after consuming the milk treated with rBST or develop resistance to human antibiotics in long-term? Research have found that so far no real scientific evidence is available to say Yes.


Studies have concluded that milk production increases by 11% to 16% when injected with the drug and 24% of them suffer from Mastitis. Even though bovine somatotropin effects on humans is almost nil,the fear of consuming milk with increased IGF1 presence, forced the ranchers to stop using these drugs on the cattle.


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