What is A2 milk and what are its potential benefits? | Main edition



Some people suffer from gastrointestinal upset when drinking cow’s milk, a problem that can be eliminated by consuming lactose-free milk, which is readily available at retail outlets across the Commonwealth. However, not everyone is relieved by this change.

For about 20 years, some health professionals and researchers have attributed the digestive problems associated with regular milk to protein.

Milk is considered a major source of high quality protein, providing about 38% of the non-fat solids serving of milk and 21% of the energy of whole milk. Ninety-five percent of the protein in milk can be divided into two broad categories: serum protein (found in whey) and casein protein.

Proteins are long chains made up of amino acids. Protein chains are “cut” by enzymes during digestion into shorter chains of amino acids called peptides. The arrangement of amino acids in protein chains, along with how proteins are broken down during digestion, determine how they act, biologically, in a myriad of chemical reactions.

A1 and A2 are names for only two of the casein proteins. The only difference between the two is that amino acid # 67 in their chains is different. When each is digested, the peptide segments created by enzymatic action at this 67th amino acid determine how A1 and A2 function in the body.

When the casein A1 protein is split, the result is a peptide known as BCM-7 peptide. It is not produced with the degradation of the A2 protein.

This difference is what causes the problems, according to supporters of A2 milk and the available research.

Some research has been conducted and published in credible journals to indicate that consuming milk containing the A1 protein creates digestive problems in some people, but research on the benefits of A2 milk is inconclusive. Few human studies have been carried out.

The results of a study found that humans who ingest milk containing both A1 and A2 proteins may take longer to digest the protein, a condition that is believed to cause bloating and abdominal pain. The journal Nutrition looked at research related to A2 proteins and found that while this finding is confirmed, the majority of additional research was done on rodents.

It’s possible that the A1 protein creates digestive problems in some people, as does lactose, but not enough research on humans – large-scale experiments – has been done to provide conclusive evidence.

Researchers at the University of Vermont say there are many more varying proteins in cow’s milk that may be involved and may contribute to the small percentage of stomach problems. According to a professor, his team looked at two types of cows and found more than 40 different proteins between them. It is possible that one of them is causing the differences in symptoms.

I often joke that all things in life can be explained by a bell curve, but I also believe there is some truth to this statement.

A bell curve is a graph that shows the distribution of a set of chosen values. When drawn, it looks like the shape of a bell. Using the statistics applied to the bell curve of a normal distribution, about 68% of the human population would have no symptoms when drinking milk containing the A1 protein, and only 5% would have serious symptoms and problems. The only way to know if this is a correct representation would be to conduct appropriately designed research.

The Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board supports experimental research to examine any claims of nutritional or health problems or the benefits associated with consuming dairy products. Valid and reliable research helps the industry grow and improve its offerings to consumers.

We also support the efforts of our processors, manufacturers and retail outlets in Pennsylvania to provide dairy alternatives such as lactose free milk and A2 milk so that all people have access to nutritious dairy drinks.

I can be contacted at 717-210-8244 or by email at chardbarge@pa.gov to discuss any questions or concerns.


Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.