Why Cockroach Milk Is the New Health Obsession

Warning: Do not read if you're squeamish.

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(Image credit: Design by Dana Tepper)

Health freaks will go to extreme lengths in the name of nutrients (and staying one step ahead of the trend), but I'm not afraid to say it: The latest "superfood" is just plain gross.

Taking stomach-churning to a whole new level is cockroach milk, which is comprised of the nutrient-rich milk crystals found inside the Pacific Beetle cockroach. This species uses said protein crystals as food for cockroach infants, but new research suggests that it could be beneficial to humans, too, as it's one of the most nourishing and highly caloric substances on the planet. It boasts four times as much protein as cow's milk, but also contains essential amino acids that promote cell growth, lipids that keep our bodies healthy, and sugars that fuel energy.

Buuuuut Will It Make Us Prettier?

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(Image credit: Design by Dana Tepper)

While the aforementioned benefits sound fine and all, as a beauty editor I needed to know if it had an "prettifying" benefits (what else could entice me to drink insect milk?), so I asked Rachel Nazarian, M.D. at Schweiger Dermatology Group to weigh in.

"The levels of growth hormone in this particular liquid are unknown, and there is evidence that shows that growth hormones may exacerbate acne in certain individuals," Dr. Nazarian explains. "The high levels of sugar may also make it a poor choice in terms of skin health and beauty, as we know that high-sugar diets actually accelerate skin aging."

Okay then! So while it's not going to work wonders for your skin, and could even exacerbate existing problems, it can, however, be beneficial to other parts of your beauty regimen: "Protein and fat are vital components of good hair and nails, and this particular liquid may make getting optimal levels of both things much easier," Dr. Nazarian adds. Still, Biotin and Vitamin D sound a lot more appetizing than cockroach excretion...

I will say that when you think about the fact that cockroaches can survive nuclear explosions, tapping into what they've got is intriguing. But still, these are the same pests tucking into stray crumbs and days-old dirty dishes. So...thanks, but no thanks.

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Beauty Editor

Lauren Valenti is Vogue’s former senior beauty editor. Her work has also appeared on ELLE.com, MarieClaire.com, and in In Style. She graduated with a liberal arts degree from Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts, with a concentration on Culture and Media Studies and a minor in Journalism.