Last weekend my family went to pick up some milk from our local farmer. We got to meet the new baby calf and show our boys where our milk comes from. As we were ooing and ahhing over the sweet baby calf, the farmer mentioned that he had his cow tested and she produces A2/A2 milk. I had never heard of A2 milk before, and so of course I went straight home and started researching it.
What is A2 milk?
From my research I discovered that, originally, all dairy cows produced A2 milk. Then a mutation occurred in a European herd where the amino acids of the beta casein protein produced an extra peptide called BCM7. Any cow that produces the BCM7 peptide, is considered an A1 cow. Any cow that does not produce the BCM7 peptide is considered an A2 cow. However, it gets a little more complicated when you consider that it takes a mommy cow and a daddy cow to make a new baby cow. (Can you tell I have a toddler?) Therefore, if you remember back to your high school biology class, any cow could produce A1/A1, A1/A2. or A2/A2 milk depending on the genes of the cow’s parents.
Today most cows in America produce milk with A1 beta casein content.
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What does this mean?
There are a lot of claims out there about A1 versus A2 milk. There is also a good amount of research on A1 versus A2 milk. Here are some of the claims and some of the supporting research.
Health benefits of A2 milk versus A1 milk:
- A2 milk does not bother people with lactose intolerance. (study)
- There are links to A1 milk and heart disease/type 1 diabetes. (study)
- There are possible links to A1 milk and autism/schizophrenia. (study)
- A2 milk is better for people with leaky gut/auto-immune disease. A1 milk is harder on the gastrointestinal system and promotes more inflammation. (study) (study) (more info - a good explanation on how A2 milk is better for people, like myself, with autoimmune conditions)
- A1 milk causes plaque build-up in the arteries. (study)
- A1 milk could be connected to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (study) (more info)
When looking at the research regarding A1 and A2 milk, it becomes clear that most of it is funded by a company that sells A2 milk. I am usually weary trusting research that is funded by a company who has a financial stake in the results. However, not all the studies are funded by this company and there does seem to be a lot of compelling testimonies of people who have switched over to A2 milk and experienced positive health benefits. You can read some of those stories here.
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It’s catching on
There is also a book written by a professor in New Zealand, Keith Woodford, called Devil in the Milk: Illness, Health, and the Politics of A1 and A2 Milk. (affiliate link) I haven’t read this book yet, but I’ve read a lot of other articles written by this author and what he has to say makes sense.
I have also noticed a lot of companies making pledges to switch their dairy herds to A2/A2 milk. Snowville Creamery is one of them. Would they go through the expense of the genetic testing and selective breeding if the evidence wasn’t compelling or if they didn’t think there would be a demand for it? Probably not.
Why does it have to be so complicated?!
It should come as no surprise to us that our food supply is making us sick. Think about it. Satan used food to entice Adam and Eve to sin. He tempted Jesus with food in the wilderness. There’s even a sin specifically about eating too much food – gluttony. Food can be a major stumbling block for us. It can bring health or sickness. Today we are dealing with genetically modified foods and dairy farms that are so focused on mass production, that no one really cares that the cows stand around in their feces all day long eating grains they were not created to eat. When we stray from God’s original design, things get murky.
I have been dairy free for several months, but decided to give the raw A2 milk a try. I have been drinking it daily for two weeks now and have actually noticed some improvements in my autoimmune symptoms. This gives me a lot of hope. I still consider myself dairy free when we are out and about and I’m not eating cheese or anything pasteurized, but so far the raw A2 milk has done me a body of good (literally!). Who knows, maybe I’ll dive into the world of cheese making now that I have some milk that my body likes.
If you want to give A2 milk a try, you may have trouble finding a good source. I suggest talking to your local, trustworthy farmer. There are also some types of cows who generally have higher rates of A2 milk. About 70% of Guernsey cows produce A2 milk and 46%-70% of Holstein Friesian, Jersey, and Brown Swiss cows produce A2 milk. (source) Our farmer has Guernsey cows, and can I just say Best. Ice Cream. Ever!
If you still can’t find A2 milk and you are concerned, you may want to switch from cow milk to goat milk which contains much less to no A1 beta casein proteins.
What do you think about A1 versus A2 milk? Have you heard of this before?
Beginner’s Guide to Milk – (why it’s important to source good quality milk)
You’re Drinking the Wrong Kind of Milk - Info about A2 and A1 milk
BCM7 and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – I laughed this off at first, then I read it and it is interesting.
Food Intolerance Network Factsheet – A2 milk
The Devil in the Milk – Mercola