A2 Milk the New Wonder Milk: Fact or Fiction


If you are anything like me, you would look at the milk section of the supermarket and instantly become overwhelmed.

I actually counted all the possible options across both the fridge and long life section to find there are at least 30 different types of milk available at my local supermarket.

Just last week I was asked about the health differences between 100 per cent A2 milk and regular cow’s milk, I was interested to hear different people’s opinions on the topic and some of the misconceptions people had about regular milk.

Firstly, What is A2?

Cow’s milk is high in milk protein, in particular a protein called Casein.

Casein makes up about 80 per cent of the protein in a glass of milk and can be further broken down in to A1 and A2.

Historically, all cow’s milk was just A2 milk proteins but due to farming practices and environmental changes seen in America, Europe, Australian and New Zealand, cattle started to change and milk cows started to produce A1 milk proteins too.

The main difference between the two is that A1 and A2 protein is how it is digested. A1 is digested in the gut and causes digestion to slow, where as A2 protein doesn’t.

Benefits

Research shows that A2 is not necessarily better for you, but instead it doesn’t consist of the negatives having been associated with A1 milk proteins.

A1 milk proteins have been associated to loosen stools and other symptoms of IBS in those with lactose intolerance.

There were occasional stories in the media suggesting that A1 milk proteins could trigger autism, schizophrenia, diabetes and heart disease, however an investigation by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority found there was no safety issues in either type of milk.

Marketing Traps

Regular cow’s milk sold in our grocery stores today is a combination of both A1 and A2.

However, you might have noticed some milks in Australia are now stating on the label that they “contain A2 milk protein”.

This is completely irrelevant as all cow’s milk in Australia contains A2.

This is simply clever marketing, as most people will associate A2 proteins as the healthy protein in milk, without realising that A2 protein is present in all cow’s milk.

The Verdict

Milk is an important part of a healthy diet, dairy milk is a great source of protein, calcium, riboflavin and many other nutrients and should be consumed on a regular basis.

If you don’t normally experience gut issues when you consume dairy, at present there is little evidence to suggest A2 is “healthier” for you at this time.

If you do experience signs of lactose intolerance, such as bloating, cramping or changes in your bowel habits, A2 may help to improve your symptoms but so will lactose-free milk (eg. Zymil or MilkLab) and lactose free milk is often cheaper.

In conclusion, I tell every one of my patients, “your gut is as unique as your facial features; what works for you may not be the same as everyone else”.

So always talk to your health professional if you have concerns and start trialling different products until you find the right one for you and your family.