As the name suggests, Bovine Somatotropin is actually a growth hormone for cattle. As human growth hormone is essential for humans, so is bovine growth hormone essential for cattle. It is a peptide hormone and as in humans, the growth hormone is produced in the pituitary gland of the animals. That is why, when it comes to functions and benefits, both hormones are similar. BST is approved by the FDA.
The facts about Bovine Somatotropin
It was in the 70s it was found that the hormone could be created artificially as well and that is how the somatotropin came to be manufactured. Though the FDA gave approval for its sale and usage, the product became a matter of controversy for several reasons. The supplement was administered to cattle in order to increase milk production. Following the US, the use of bovine somatotropin was approved in many other countries as well. All went well till it was found that the dairy products could have adverse effect on humans. As a result, many countries sought to ban bovine somatotropin. Though there were concerns and reports, there has not been any scientific proof to the claims.
In fact, many organizations such as the FDA and the NIH or the National Institute of Health did conduct research for the same but they concluded that the dairy products were safe to be consumed. Thus, bovine somatotropin continued to be used in many cattle farms and even today it is used BST is approved by the FDA.
Safety concerns regarding Bovine somatotropin
The milk of those cattle which were given bovine somatotropin contained IGF-1 or Insulin-like Growth Factor in high quantities. Now, this is a hormone secreted in human body by the liver. That is why it was claimed that drinking such milk could harm humans and it could be harmful for young children including infants. A prominent study has been by the American Cancer Society which concluded that bovine somatotropin had no effect on humans whatsoever. Though the milk did contain IGF-1, the quantity was much lesser and had no consequence.
Since the health effects on infants was a primary concern, a study conducted on children who drank the milk found that there was no effect on any organs or functions and neither did the weight increase. Thus, it was safely concluded that bovine somatotropin did not have any considerable effect on humans.
At the same time, it is important to note that bovine somatotropin was always meant for animals and never was it in use in humans as a hormone replacement therapy. There have been many synthetic versions of somatotropin and there are some that are a form of human growth hormone as well. It is important to note that though the functions of growth hormone are similar in both human and animals, the molecular structure and the specific functioning differ. That is why, what works for animals does not work on humans and vice versa. Thus, bovine somatotropin is best left to cattle but it is also observed that today, not many farmers use bovine somatotropin to increase milk production.