Among certain fitness communities, fetishists and chronic disease sufferers human breast milk has emerged as a fad, however, scientists have advised against it.
There is a lucrative online market for adult buyers of human breast milk, with websites and forums describing it as a "clean" super food that can lead to gains in the gym, and even help with erectile dysfunction and cancer.
The authors, led by Dr Sarah Steele at Queen Mary University of London, write that these purported benefits do not stand up clinically and raw human milk purchased online or in an unpasteurized state poses many risks. Dr Steele said that nutritionally there is less protein in breast milk than other milks like cow's milk.
The authors warn that human milk is potentially very hazardous if used to replace a healthy balanced diet.
Failure of women to sanitize properly when expressing milk, the failure to sterilize equipment properly, and the improper or prolonged storage and transportation of milk can expose consumers to bacterial food-borne illnesses like any other raw milk.
The lack of pasteurization and testing not only indicates a bacterial risk but also exposes consumers to a host of infectious diseases, including hepatitis, HIV and syphilis.
The study is published by the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine