What is A2 Milk?

A1 vs. A2 Milk and cheese - wrong kind of dairy

We’ve all heard the debate about cow’s milk and whether or not we should be consuming it. The China Study and the documentary Forks Over Knives have done a great job of getting people to shy away from red meat and dairy. I remember when I first saw that film, I felt like it left too many questions unanswered. The biggest question for me was they never addressed the issue of A1 and A2 milk. They also never addressed factory farming and eating feedlot beef vs grass fed beef. I have no problem with a primarily plant based diet, but I believe animals that are 100% grass fed, not given GMO’s, antibiotics or hormones and raised with ethical standards can be a beneficial part of a nutrient dense diet.

I found out about the debate between A1 and A2 milk about two years ago when I started getting some of my dairy from the Beyond Organic farm, who only uses milk from A2 cattle in their cheese and cultured beverages. It wasn’t until recently though that I started reading the book, Devil In the Milk: Illness, Health, and the Politics of A1 and A2 Milk

Recently, an article on MotherJones.com was published called You’re Drinking the Wrong Kind of Milk.  It states, “The difference between A1 and A2 proteins is subtle: They are different forms of beta-casein, a part of the curds (i.e., milk solids) that make up about 30 percent of the protein content in milk. The A2 variety of beta-casein mutated into the A1 version several thousand years ago in some European dairy herds. Two genes code for beta-casein, so modern cows can either be purely A2, A1/A2 hybrids, or purely A1. Milk from goats and humans contains only the A2 beta-casein, yet not everyone likes the flavor of goat milk, which also contains comparatively less vitamin B-12—a nutrient essential for creating red blood cells.”

The article goes on to explain, “When digested, A1 beta-casein (but not the A2 variety) releases beta-casomorphin7 (BCM7), an opioid with a structure similar to that of morphine.  Studies increasingly point to BCM7 as a troublemaker. Numerous recent tests, for example, have shown that blood from people with autism and schizophrenia contains higher-than-average amounts of BCM7. In a recent study, Richard Deth, a professor of pharmacology at Northeastern University in Boston, and his postdoctoral fellow, Malav Trivedi, showed in cell cultures that the presence of similarly high amounts of BCM7 in gut cells causes a chain reaction that creates a shortage of antioxidants in neural cells, a condition that other research has tied to autism. The study, underwritten in part by A2 Corp., is now undergoing peer review in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.”

I have friends and family who have gone without dairy, some even lived a vegan lifestyle. They went on to try A2 dairy and had no problems of lactose intolerance or digestive issues. Many go on to regularly consume the A2 dairy and they feel healthier then they did without it. A1 vs A2 milk

If you have been without diary or simply want to educate yourself on both sides of the debate, I encourage you to do your research on the A1 vs A2 dairy topic. I suggest you read the book and take a look at this article, “Forks Over Knives – Is the Science Legit?” to start with. I am also an advocate of raw dairy and cultured dairy. If you’d like to learn more about, please see www.RealMilk.com and watch the documentary Farmageddon to learn why we now pasteurize our dairy as well as what is happening to dairy farmers across the country.

Have you tried A2 dairy? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.

Learn more about the author Lisa Custer at Google+

Lisa Custer

Lisa enjoys learning about natural health and is currently working on a Holistic Health & Life Coach certification. She is passionate about real food education and sharing what she learns. She lives in Florida with her husband and son.

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