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A2 milk, not quite A level evidence

May 13, 2016

 

Continuing on with the 'great dairy debate' I would like to shed a little light on the difference and theories behind A2 milk. What is the difference and is there any evidence supporting A2 claims?

 

Cows milk is made up of two types of proteins, Casein (80%) and Whey (20%). Beta-casein is the second most abundant type of casein protein in cows milk and has two types (A1beta-casein and A2 beta-casein.)

 

These two different type of casein proteins are thought to be digested slightly differently in the body and based on studies done on mice, have been associated with gastrointestinal effects such as increased mucus production, inflammation and delayed gastric emptying.

 

Curtin University, in 2014, published the first pilot study looking at the effects A2 vs A1 milk protein in humans. This study found differences in stool consistency and higher abdominal pain when consuming A1 protein milk. However, the study comprised of only 36 men and women, 8 of whom stated they already had a problem with dairy products.

 

Due to the low number of participants and being the first study in humans of its kind, these results need to be interpreted with caution.

 

As far as A1 being connected to schizophrenia, autism, and diabetes, this is simply NOT TRUE and is not supported by any evidence whatsoever.

 

In a nutshell, the evidence is not strong to support the A2 milk claims, further good quality research needs to be done to substantiate these claims. By all means try an A2 milk and if you notice a difference in how you feel, make the change. You may also notice a little less change in your pockets.

 

A point on infant nutrition:

As discussed above, A2 and A1 protein are only relevant when discussing milk containing casein protein. If your child cannot be breastfed and you are worried about digestibility of formula, there are commercially available 100% whey formulas which do not contain A2 protein either and will be a far cheaper alternative.

 

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