Milk and dairy have been the subjects of much debate over recent years. Lately, companies have been marketing “A2 milk” as a healthier option than “A1 milk.” But what exactly are A1 and A2 milk? What kind of cows provide each? And is A2 milk really healthier?
Let’s examine some of the science behind these ideas.
But first, let’s get a quick overview of just what A1 and A2 casein proteins are and how they can affect your health…
What is Casein?
Simply put, casein is the largest group of protein in milk. It’s used in the production of cheese. On average, milk from cows contains about three percent casein. This protein is almost always extracted from skim milk — rarely from higher fat milk, like cream. Casein is used in more than just cheese, though. It’s also used in the manufacturing of other foods, medicines, dietary supplements, cosmetics, glue, paint, plastics, paper coatings, and several kinds of textiles.1
Now, let’s examine the difference between 2 types of casein found in milk — A1 and A2:
A1 milk contains A1 beta-casein. For the most part, this comes from breeds of cows that originated in Northern Europe. Recent research has suggested that milk containing A1 casein can potentially lead to adverse health outcomes including problems with blood sugar and cardiovascular issues.2
Some other health risks associated with A1 milk can be digestive issues, intolerance to dairy products, and even a slowing of cognitive processes.3
Now, A2 milk is believed to be the healthier option here. It doesn’t tend to bring about the digestion issues and health risks linked to A1 milk.
However, in the late 1990s, a New Zealand company set to uncover the potential differences between milk and other dairy products containing A1 versus A2 casein. In the years since there has been a significant amount of debate on this topic.
Research from different countries provides different results. But, while there is a large amount of evidence that A1 milk carries potentially dangerous health risks, they are not found with A2 consumption, there are other studies that suggest otherwise.4
Read on to learn more…
What Breeds of Cows Provide A1 Milk and Which Cows Provide A2 Milk?
A1 Milk comes from the following cow breeds:
- Holstein Friesian
- British Shorthorn
A2 Milk comes from the following cow breeds:
Of course, other mammals provide A2 milk, as well. This includes but is not limited to goats, sheep, donkey, buffalo, camels, and even humans (this is great to know for breastfeeding mothers who are worried about the ingredients in their natural milk).5
Continue reading for a list of Gundry-approved dairy products to use as an alternative to milk from A1 cows.
Beta-Casomorphin-7 (BCM-7) and Digestion
Research has suggested that a peptide (BCM-7) is released during the digestion of A1 casein. It is believed that this peptide could be the culprit in the potential adverse health effects of dairy — from simple digestion issues to more serious risks. Research has also supported this with human trials in which participants exhibited stomach and bowel issues after consuming milk from cows with A1 casein.6
Other Potential Risks With A1 Milk
The following are some other potential risk factors that scientists have linked with the consumption of A1 milk:
- Blood sugar issues7
- Cardiovascular issues8
Please note that there is still debate over this topic. This is why it is important for research to continue and for consumers to try to keep up with that research.
It can be tough to make the healthiest choices when science is constantly advancing and changing. The best anyone can do is to stay up to date and follow dietary guidelines as set by the USDA and your doctor (especially if you’re on the weight loss track or have any other dietary restrictions).
Dairy Products that Don’t Contain A1 Milk Casein
The following is a list of Gundry-approved alternatives to milk/dairy products from A1 cows. Try these substitutes if you’re looking for dairy products containing A2 milk instead of A1:
- A2 Milk
- Goat milk
- Coconut milk
- Goat or buffalo yogurt
- Grass-fed French or Italian butter
- Goat butter
- Goat Brie
- Goat cheese
- Sheep cheese
- Buffalo mozzarella9
Remember, the highest fat dairy products don’t contain casein (it’s extracted from skim milk). So, high-fat dairy products, including high-fat cheeses like parmesan (and others), heavy cream, full-fat sour cream, and full-fat cream cheese, are also Gundry-approved (in moderation, of course).
A2 Milk for Better Digestive Health
While there is still ongoing research, it’s probably a safe bet to avoid A1 dairy and focus on A2 milk products. There are tons of options when it comes to avoiding A1 casein, and many of these options are just as delicious, if not more delicious, than regular ol’ milk.
Remember, if you have any questions or personal concerns, you can (and should) always consult with your doctor about your dietary choices, especially if you are having digestion issues.
Learn more in time for Thanksgiving:
Thanksgiving’s Best / Worst Dishes According to Dr. Gundry (VIDEO)
Dr. Gundry’s Kale Thanksgiving Salad Recipe (VIDEO)
You’ll Hate These 3 Thanksgiving Tips [But Love The Results]