All that you need to know about A1 and A2 milk

You must have already heard about A1 and A2 milk and you are most expected to have the question what is the difference between these two? For common people, it is not really very usual to have a clear idea about the difference between A1 and A2 milks, but at the present scenario, when milk from hybrid cows are becoming more commonly available, it might be actually important to know about the difference between these two types of milks and how they can affect your health.

If you or someone in your family has been having digestive problems after milk consumption, it can also be due to all this A1 and A2 difference. In fact, according to some researches, the milk produced by A1 cows can also be a cause of delayed psycho motor development in infants. So, yes, it is serious and before you chose your milk, it is important that you know the difference between the A1 and A2 milk.

What is the difference between A1 and A2 milk?

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Milk is a rich source of protein, which makes it healthy. The earlier breeds of cows, such as the Desi Indian cows, African cows are known as the A2 cows. These cows produce A2 milk. On the other hand the hybrid cow varieties, such as Holstein, Ayrshire, Friesian and the like are known as the A1 cows and they produce A1 milk.

The primary protein present in cow milk is casein but apart from it there is also another protein that needs special mentioning.  In A2 milk, apart from Casein another amino acid, Proline is found. In case of A1 milk, instead of Proline, Histidine is present. It is believed that the genetic mix up occurred during producing the hybrid cow varieties resulted into the change of the protein Proline into Histidine.

Apart from Casein and Proline or Histidine there is also a third small protein, BCM 7 present in milk. This protein is found in both A1 and A2 milk.  BCM 7 binds very strongly with Proline, in case of A2 milk, but in A1 milk the bond between Histidine and BCM 7 is quite weak. When A1 milk is consumed, the bond between Histidine and BCM 7 is broken very easily in the GI tract. However, as the bond between BCM 7 and Proline is quite stronger, BCM 7 is not released into the blood stream on consumption of A2 milk.

Why BCM 7 is harmful?

According to a research, this small protein BCM 7 passes into the blood of babies after the weak Histidine – BCM 7 bond is broken down in the GI tract. This protein might be a factor for delayed development of the psycho-motor system in children. Studies have also shown that this protein might be associated with the risk factor for heart diseases and type-1 diabetes.  A link has also been established with the BCM 7 protein and mental disorders like schizophrenia and autism.

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Significant differences have also been noted in the digestive symptoms produced by consumption of A1 and A2 milk. BCM 7 does not occur naturally in the human body and taking it from other animal sources might result into digestive disorders and gut problems. So, if milk does not go well with you, most probably you are taking A1 milk and the BCM 7 released during digestion of the milk is affecting your digestive system.

However, it is important to keep in mind that though BCM 7 has been found to be harmful for the human body, it is still not clear how much of this protein actually gets into blood through consumption of A1 milk.

The take home message

A number of studies indicate that consumption of A1 milk during childhood might add to the risk of getting type 1 diabetes, heart disease or autism. However, none of these studies prove that A1 beta-casein causes these disorders. There are also studies that have found no difference in the action of A1 and A2 milk on the human system. Some of the studies have shown that A1-beta casein might even have a protective effect on some disorders, including type 1 diabetes.

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So, it remains completely inconclusive if A1 milk actually adds to the risk of the serious disorders like Type 1 diabetes, heart diseases or mental illness.

However, a growing number of studies have shown that A1 beta casein might have a different effect on the digestive system of individuals compared to the A2 beta casein. It has also been observed that A2 milk is better suited for people who have general milk intolerance. A1 milk might also be linked to problems like bloating and intestinal gas. So, if you find that A2 milk is better suited for your system, compared to the A1 milk, you should stick to it.

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