Back in the day, the milkman used to show up at your door peddling whole milk, butter, cream, and what-have-you. Things seemed easier then.
Today, milk and dairy have become the subjects of much debate. The Dairy Industry offers different kinds of milk. And it has been promoting “A2 milk” as a healthier option than “A1 milk.” That’s great. But what does it all mean?
What kind of cow provides A2 milk? Is A1 milk bad for you? Is A2 milk healthier? Let’s look at the science behind these casein A1 and casein A2 milk.
What is Casein? What Products Contain Casein?
Casein is the largest group of protein in milk. Dairy farmers and cheesemakers use it to craft cheeses. On average, milk from cows contains about three percent casein. This protein is almost always extracted from skim milk. But it is rarely extracted from higher fat milk, like cream.
Casein is used in more than just cheese and milk, though. In fact, casein can be found in non-dairy products as well. You can find casein in the following products:
- Dietary supplements
- Paper coatings
- Textiles 1
What Are the Differences Between Casein A1 and Casein A2?
Casein A1 milk gets its name from A1 beta-casein. This has to do mostly with breeds of cows that originated in Northern Europe. Research suggests milk containing A1 casein might lead to adverse health outcomes. These issues may include:
- Blood sugar concerns
- Heart health issues 2
- Digestive issues
- Intolerance to dairy products
- Struggles with focusing 3
Casein A2 milk is the healthier choice between the two kinds of milk because casein A2 milk doesn’t usually bring about the same digestive issues and health concerns.
The Differences Between Casein A2 and Casein A1 Milk
Recently, a New Zealand company investigated the differences. They looked at milk and other dairy products containing A1 casein versus A2 casein. Scientific evidence suggests A1 milk carries potentially dangerous health risks. These risks are not generally found with A2 milk consumption. 4
What Cow Breeds Produce Casein A1 Milk?
- Holstein Friesian
- British Shorthorn
What Cow Breeds Produce Casein A2 Milk?
Casein A2 Milk from Other Mammals
Cows are not the only providers of milk in the animal kingdom. Other mammals provide A2 milk. Just look at this list of casein A2 mammals:
So, if you are a mother who is breastfeeding, there’s no need to worry about the ingredients in your natural milk.5
What is Beta-Casomorphin-7 Peptide?
Peptides are short chains of amino acids. These chains are linked by peptide bonds. Research suggests a peptide known as Beta-Casomorphin-7 releases when A1 casein is digested.
Many scientists believe this peptide might be responsible for the adverse effects of dairy. Their concerns range from simple digestion issues to more serious concerns.
Human trial research also supports findings where participants experienced stomach and bowel issues. These issues were noted after consuming casein A1 milk.6
Does Casein A1 Milk Put Your Health at Risk?
Researchers are currently debating over the health concerns triggered by casein A1 milk. But scientists are doing the best they can to continue studies. Milk-drinkers should be kept abreast of the changing evidence. A couple of other casein A1 milk potential risk factors are:
- Compromised blood sugar levels7
- Heart health issues8
Gundry-approved Dairy Alternatives to Casein A1 Milk
If you’re doing your best to avoid milk from A1 cows, the list below should come in handy. The following products consist of casein A2 milk or are entirely non-dairy:
- Coconut milk (unsweetened)
- Goat or buffalo yogurt
- Goat butter
- Goat Brie
- Goat cheese
- Grass-fed French or Italian butter
- Goat milk
- Sheep cheese
- Buffalo mozzarella 9
NOTE: High-fat dairy doesn’t contain casein (it’s extracted from skim milk). So the following high-fat products are actually Gundry-approved in small amounts:
- Heavy cream
- Parmesan cheese
- Cream cheese
- Sour cream
Casein A2 Milk for Better Health
Researchers are still working hard to uncover the mysteries of casein A1 milk. Even though there is still work to be done, try and consume just the casein A2 products. Casein A2 milk is just as sweet, tasty, and filling as its A1 counterpart.
And feel free to ask your doctor about the differences between casein A1 and casein A2 milk. Your doctor will be happy you asked and should know how to help you if you’re trying to better your diet.