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Cockroach Milk The Next Super Food?

Its no secret that to food we ingest has a direct effect on our health and our bodies ability to fight off disease. It’s also a well know fact that the best defense for fighting off diseases and viruses is exercise and eating non-processed organic foods. Cow’s Milk has long been viewed as a health source for calcium and vitamin D as well as promoting healthy bones & teeth in people. However it is interesting to note that humans are the only species on earth that drink the milk of another animal. Now science is about to take that a massive step further. Research is beginning to show that there is another non-human source of milk that has exponentially more health benefits to humans than cow’s milk does.

Cockroach Milk.  Pacific Beetle Cockroach Milk to be more specific.

It’s more than four times as nutritious as cow’s milk and, the researchers think it could be the key to feeding our growing population in the future. New research published in the journal IUCrJ claims that milk from a species of lactating cockroaches might be the next big superfood.

cockroach milk

Most cockroach species do not produce milk, however the pacific beetle cockroach is the only known cockroach to give birth to live young, as opposed to hatching eggs, and has been shown to pump out a type of ‘milk’ containing protein crystals to feed its babies. The baby cockroaches ingest this milk, where it crystallizes in their stomachs. A team of scientists from India, France, Japan, Canada and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in America  have been analyzing these crystals.

The fact that an insect produces milk is pretty fascinating, but what fascinated researchers even more was the fact that a single one of these protein crystals contains more than three times the amount of energy found in an equivalent amount of buffalo milk (which is also higher in calories than dairy milk from cows).  The roach milk’s nutritional level is four times higher than cow’s milk.

cockroach milk
Cockroach milk crystals from larvae Adapted from: https://www.instem.res.in/content/solving-structure-insect-milk-proteins

The milk is quite nutritious, containing all of the essential amino acids, plus carbohydrates and lipids the human body requires. Even more impressive is the milk’s release mechanism, which allows the crystal to release protein at the same rate your body consumes it.

Cockroach milk’s time-released nature and high protein and energy content could make it an ideal supplement for athletes looking to recover after a workout. However, this dense source of protein wouldn’t be recommended for the people who are trying to lose weight, but for those people all over the world who struggle to get the proper amount of calories and nutrients required per day, this could be a quick and easy solution.

Photo by: Emily Jennings (University of Cincinnati)

Milking a cockroach is not the most feasible pursuit for scientist. Instead the goal is to see if they can be replicated in a lab setting, and produce it in large quantities.

Cockroach milk is not yet available for human consumption. Further examination is required to see if roach milk is toxic to humans.

There is no irony lost on the fact that that this insect that can survive a nuclear disaster may someday provide the ultimate liquid super food for humans.

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