What’s the Deal With A2 Milk?

Could this cow milk be a new option for those with lactose intolerance?

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Photo by: konradlew

konradlew

The popular slogan, “Milk: it does a body good,” doesn’t ring true for almost two-thirds of the world’s population that suffers from perceived lactose or dairy intolerance. Those who have difficulty drinking traditional cow’s milk are usually pushed to lactose-free or nut and soy based varieties. But what if there was another option? If you have trouble digesting milk — even if you think it’s related to lactose intolerance — A2 milk could be the answer.

Casein is the largest group of proteins in cow’s milk, making up about 80% of the total protein content. The two most common forms of casein being A1 and A2; the type found in milk is directly related to the breed of cow it came from. Most milk contains both A1 and A2 casein but a new brand of milk comes only from A2 producing cows.

In comparison studies, A2 milk is more easily digested than milking containing A1 protein, even in those who previously thought they were lactose intolerant. When we breakdown A1 casein during digestion, a protein fragment BCM-7 (beta-casomorphin-7) is produced, which can trigger symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and other gastrointestinal issues. BCM-7 is not produced during the breakdown of A2 proteins.

The hypothesis is that consumption of A1 casein leads to the production of BCM-7, which can cause a range of pro-inflammatory effects that aren’t seen in the consumption of A2 only milk. Surprisingly, the ability to enjoy A2 milk without any side effects were seen in both lactose tolerant and lactose intolerant participants. This suggests that some of the symptoms we normally attribute to lactose intolerance may actually relate to the production of BCM-7 instead.

Similar in price to lactose-free milk, A2 milk provides a cows-milk alternative with no difference in taste to those who have a hard time digesting milk but haven’t been clinically confirmed with a lactose intolerance. If you don’t have any issues with regular cow’s milk, then you don’t need to switch to A2. However, if you if have difficulty with dairy and are missing it in your diet, A2 milk might provide the perfect solution. 

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