Milk is considered as a very nutritious drink since ages, and makes a good source of vital nutrients like proteins, lipids, vitamins, calcium and other nutrients.
With the going advancements in cow breeding technology for increasing milk yield, are we getting the healthiest choice?
Generally milk contains 80% casein protein and 20 % rennin protein. Casein protein can be further classified into alpha, beta and gamma casein proteins; in which the gamma proteins get further be classified into A1 and A2 types.
There are ongoing claims by A2 milk producing companies about A2 protein milk being better and tolerant than the A1 protein milk. Let’s dig into more insight about this and study various points related to A2 milk.
A2 Milk Producing Breeds
Historically indigenous cows produced A2 milk, but with the advent of inter breeding of these indigenous cows, A1 milk came into picture. Sheep, humans and goats also produce A2 milk.
The composition of A2 proteins varies amongst different breeds with Holstein Friesian having the lowest proportion and Guernsey has the highest proportion of A2 proteins in milk. Many Indian subcontinent breeds like Shahiwal, Gir, Rathi, Red Sindhi, Kankrej, Tharparkar are good source for A2 milk. In Indian breeds Gir species is the best choice due to its less interbreeding.
Benefits of A2 Milk over A1 Milk
On digestion A1 milk protein can yield the peptide β-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7), which is found responsible in causing many gastrointestinal problems, some of which bear a resemblance to those in lactose intolerance.
While A2 milk does not produce (BCM-7) on digestion, thus relieving many unpleasant gastrointestinal effects of milk consumption.
In a research comparing gastrointestinal effects of A2 milk with a mixture of A1 and A2 milk, it was concluded that subjects consuming a mixture of A1 and A2 milk showed more gastrointestinal discomfort symptoms, lower value of total fecal short-chain fatty acids , increased gastrointestinal inflammation, delayed gastrointestinal transit times as compared to subjects who consumed only A2 milk.
Lactose intolerance: A2 milk is free from many gastrointestinal dysfunctions, but it is not free from lactose. So the individuals having lactose intolerance shall consume it with a cautious note.
Allergy: A2 milk also contains proteins and other nutrients like other milks, so it also holds a potential of being allergic to some individuals who are already sensitive to milk contents.
Antibiotics and other toxins: As like other cows A2 milk producing cows can also be subjected to antibiotics and other environmental toxins, depending on the kind of feed they are given and other factors.
Economy: At last you need to pay a higher amount for the A2 milk as compared to other mixed milks.
The popularity of A2 milk is increasing due to its better gastrointestinal tolerant as compared to other A1 and A2 mixed protein milks. Though the presence of lactose, allergy, antibiotics presence and higher price are the shortcoming of A2 milk. But if the benefits outweigh the shortcomings than it can be a wise choice for getting rid of or reducing gastrointestinal discomfort related to A1 milk protein.
Though more research is needed to conclude that A1 milk is responsible for causing type 1 Diabetes, Autism and heart disease. The best choice is to switch to our historic practice of drinking milk produced from our native cows, which usually produced A2 milk. Also we can switch towards dairy products made from sheep, buffalo and goat milk in which A1 protein is absent.
Rajalaxmi B et al.2017. A1 versus A2 Milk: Impact on Human Health. International Journal of Livestock Research 8(4). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323358929_A1_versus_A2_Milk-_Impact_on_Human_Health
Jianqin et al. 2016. Effects of milk containing only A2 beta casein versus milk containing both A1 and A2 beta casein proteins on gastrointestinal physiology, symptoms of discomfort, and cognitive behavior of people with self-reported intolerance to traditional cows’ milk. Nutr J. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818854/
MH Sikder et al. 2019. Antibiotic residues in milk: Past, present, and future. J Adv Vet Anim Res. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6760505/
Kaskous, Shehadeh. (2020). A1-and A2-Milk and Their Effect on Human Health. Journal of Food Engineering and Technology. 9. 10.32732/jfet.2020.9.1.15. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/341193496_A1-and_A2-Milk_and_Their_Effect_on_Human_Health