Milk is an essential part of the diet for many people across the world. Regardless of age and gender, they consume at least a glass of milk every day. It is mainly because milk is rich in essential nutrients.

The different sources of milk include cows, sheep, goats, camels and buffalo among others. Non-animal sources of milk are coconut, almond, soy, rice, flax, and hemp. Among all these various sources of milk, cow milk is the most popular. 

However, things took an unexpected turn in the recent past. Several nutritionists and other experts raised their voices against this drink. They claimed milk could be harmful to humans in a long run. The reason for this problem is believed to be a mutation. While drinking the cow milk what matters is the breed of the cow.

Historically, every cow produced milk with a large amount of a Beta Casein called A2. (Beta Casein is a type of protein found in cow milk.) But with the introduction of cross-breeding and natural mutation, cows started producing milk with another type of Beta Casein called A1 milk.

What is the difference between A1 milk and A2 milk?

A1 milk produces a type of peptide called Beta Casomorphin – 7 (BCM-7) when it is digested in the small intestine. This peptide passes through the blood after the intestine absorbs it. Medically, BCM-7 is opioid-like and associated with milk allergy, lactose intolerance, stomach discomfort, and galactosemia.

On the other hand, A2 milk is comparable with breast milk. The supporters of A2 milk have claimed that it is easier to absorb and digest.

A short history on A2 milk

A2 milk garnered the attention of consumers nearly two decades ago. The difference between A1 and A2 milk was brought to fore by a New Zealand-based scientist named Dr. Corran McLachlan. He founded a public listed company named A2 Corporation Limited in 2000  to propagate benefits of A2 milk.

Health Benefits of A2 milk

Ordinary cows’ milk naturally contains a mix of both A1 and A2 proteins. A2 Milk comes from cows that naturally produce only the A2 protein and no A1. Published research suggests that A2 Milk helps to avoid digestive discomfort.

Several scientists from across the globe have done various research works to study the health benefits of A2 milk.

Scientific Research on Benefits

A group of researchers from China found that cow milk with A2 Beta Casein does not aggravate the symptoms of post-dairy digestive discomfort (PD3). For the study, they observed 45 Chinese adults with self-reported milk intolerance for two weeks.

The scientists gave 8 oz of regular milk to the participants twice a day for a week. They found that the participants suffered from inflammation and stomach discomfort after consuming it. The participants also suffered from severe stomach pain and stomach flu. But they did not suffer from these problems when they were on  A2 milk.

Through the study, the researchers also found that the participants on A1 milk had higher levels of inflammatory markers in their blood. A1 milk even impacted their brain function. They took a long time to process information and made many errors during a test after consuming the drink.

In another research work,  two Australian scientists focused on the relationship between A1 milk and type 1 diabetes. The study was conducted by J S J Chia & J L McRae for Immunology Research Centre of St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne last year.

Initially, the scientists observed 230 children, who were at-risk of type 1 diabetics. They found that A1 milk consumption is related to the development of type 1 diabetics.

However, the researchers found that A1 milk only affects children when consumed in large quantity. They found it through a follow-up study for which they observed over 2,000 children from various parts of the world.

Apart from diabetes A1 milk is associated with higher inflammation, coronary heart diseases, and inflammatory bowel syndrome.

A2 milk, on the other hand, can alleviate these risk factors as the proteins found in A1 milk are better absorbed by the human body.

A2 milk in India

Cows and Buffaloes belonging to Indian native or desi breeds produce A2 milk. Some of the high-yielding Indian breeds producing A2 milk are Rathi, Tharparkar, Red Sindhi, Sahiwal and Gir, according to the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR).

NBAGR has been doing several types of research on A2 milk in India since 2009. The studies are being done in association with the Indian Veterinary Research Institute and the National Dairy Research Institute.

In 2009, NBAGR screened over 600 cattle belonging to 15 native Indian breeds and found that only a small number of cattle represented A1 A2 genotypes. Predominantly Indian native cows are of A2A2 genotype and their milk good to drink. 

Therefore, know the breed of the cow before drinking its milk! It is especially important for the health of your children.    Switch to A2 cow milk which is not only richer in omega 3 fatty acids but also easier to digest.

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