What is A2 Milk? Why is it better than A1 Milk?
Usually, we sort milk by how it is obtained – vegan or non-vegan. Cow’s milk, goat milk and other milk from mammals are considered non-vegan milk. Vegan milk includes soy milk, coconut milk, rice milk, etc. However, how many of us know that there are differences in cow’s milk? It is obvious that every breed of cow has mild differences in its milk. However, the major difference arises from the breeding processes of the cows. When the cow is naturally bred it gives A2 milk and when it is bred with artificial insemination, it gives A1 milk. According to researchers A2 milk is always nutritious and has good health effects than A1 milk. Not many of us know what A2 milk is and how it is beneficial than A1 milk. To put some light on this issue, here we have our article on this. Read ahead.
What is A2 milk?
In recent days, A2 milk is marketed as a healthier alternative than regular milk. So have you ever wondered what the difference is? The major difference between the two kinds of milk lies in the presence of a group of a protein called Casein. Casein is usually present in all milk and it makes up to eighty percent of the total protein content in the milk proteins, other than the whey proteins. Beta-casein has a nutritional balance of amino acids. A2 and A1 beta-casein are primary types of the beta-casein present in all milk. The difference with the A2 milk is the presence of A2 beta-casein that is found in indigenous cattle milk. So, what does this A2 beta-casein do? This casein protein is responsible for suppressing the effects of the bioactive peptides called Beta-casomorphin-7. This milk from native indigenous cows that contain good amounts of A2 beta-casein is called A2 milk.
What is Beta-casomorphin-7?
Beta-casomorphin-7(BCM 7) is a small protein bonding with amino acids such as proline in milk. When this Proline bonds with BCM 7, it prevents the protein from releasing into the animal’s GI tract. However, in A1 milk, the proline gets converted to Histidine because of the alteration of genes. This histidine has a weak bonding with BCM 7 and so gets released into the cow’s milk and when consumed enters the human body. As a result, A1 milk yields to Gastrointestinal proteolytic digestion in animals and allow the bioactive peptide, beta casomorphin 7 into its milk. The presence of Beta-casomorphin-7 in A1 milk is suggested as having adverse effects on the body.
Why A2 milk is better?
Since A1 and A2 milk differ in its composition, the major issue arises with its health consequences. According to Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2012, BCM 7 is associated with risk of type-1 diabetes, coronary heart diseases, and several mental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and more. Similarly, several other studies have also proved that are significant differences in digestive symptoms between A1 and A2 milk. The reason for A1 milk to cause digestion problems and allergies is that the opioid peptide BCM-7 present in A1 milk is not absorbed easily by the human body, triggering adverse health effects.
Usually, the European cow breeds produce high milk yield but contain the A1 variant of beta casein protein. Studies day that this A1 beta casein is prone to allergies and other health conditions. Traditional farmers know the difference and so vouch for indigenous cows’ milk.
Meanwhile the A1 beta-casein is prone to cause several health issues.
- Studies show that there is a linkage between A1 milk consumption and risk of type-1 diabetes. However, this research is controversial as substantial evidence is yet to be concluded.
- Observational studies link consumption of A1 milk with the risk of heart diseases. Fat accumulation from A1 milk might potentially clog the blood vessels and lead to heart problems. Again, the results of human trials on this regard are yet to be determined.
- There is limited evident to prove that A1 milk increases the risk of sudden death in infants and mental conditions like Autism. This s because peptides like BCM-7 is said to have a major role in development of autism. But still, there is no conclusive evidence.
- Lactose intolerance is a digestive problem for many children and even adults. Though the amount of lactose found in A1 and A2 milk are quite same, A2 milk is said to cause less bloating and digestive discomfort. If you are prone to lactose intolerance, you can readily opt for A2 milk.
- A1 beta-casein is known to affect digestive function and so many clinical trials have confirmed the results.
No doubt, the demand for A2 milk has gone high after the rising awareness of this A1 vs. A2 milk debate. Several countries such as Australia, UK and New Zealand have already introduced A2 milks and now in India, the issue has been brought to limelight after the Pro-Jallikattu Revolution. But it has to be taken into account that the normal milk we consume contains both A1 and A2 beta-casein. But what makes A2 milk stand out is that it contains only A2 beta-casein.
The bottom line for this A1-A2 debate is that several studies are still indicative of the adverse effects of A1 beta-casein but the evidence is still weak. However, the long-term effects of A1 milk are yet to be analyzed. So, if you prefer to tolerate A2 milk then, making a change is no harm.