What is the difference between A1 and A2?
A2 milk has taken the dairy world by storm, sparking companies built on the premise of a specialty milk. A2 milk is a nuance in dairy that has gotten many new farmers to consider. But what is A2, and what makes it so special?
What is A2?
A2 is a protein, known as Beta Casein. 90% of milk is A1. A1 milk causes ( post-dairy digestive discomfort (PD3) discomfort in some people. A2 is shown to cause significant less digestive discomfort in those with self-reported lactose intolerance.
In a study done by Nutrition Journal, A1 is associated with gastrointestinal inflammation, worsening post-dairy digestive discomfort, slowing of the digestive process, as well as decreased cognitive processing speed. A2 does not trigger inflammation when compared to the A1 protein. Read the full story here.
Consumption of milk containing A1 β-casein was associated with increased gastrointestinal inflammation, worsening of PD3 symptoms, delayed transit, and decreased cognitive processing speed and accuracy. Because elimination of A1 β-casein attenuated these effects, some symptoms of lactose intolerance may stem from inflammation it triggers, and can be avoided by consuming milk containing only the A2 type of beta casein.
What’s the difference?
Both proteins are variants of eachother that are dissimilar in structure by 1 single amino acid. The A1 protein produces beta casomorphin-7, which triggers a slowing process of digestion between the stomach and anus (sorry to be so vulgar!).
What cows produce A1 and A2?
Most cows are A1, about 90% of cows in the dairy world are of the Holstein cattle breed. These cows produce both A1 and A2 proteins. The problem is the A1 protein, like the study above shows, consuming milk containing both A1 and A2 onsets post-dairy digestive discomfort.
Common cows that produce A1:
A2 producing cows
A2 milk is great for those that want:
12% more protein.
33% more Vitamin D.
25% more Vitamin A.
30% more Cream.
15% more Calcium.d
Lactose intolerant? Think again!
Fun fact: many people who are lactose intolerant can consume A2 dairy. Researchers at the Liggins clinic say A2 is “as effective as lactose-free milk at preventing or reducing some symptoms including nausea, stomach pain and bloating, but didn’t improve ratings of “overall digestive comfort”.
According to medlineplus.gov, 65% of the human population has a reduced ability to digest milk. This doesn’t mean everyone rushes to the toilet after drinking milk, this stat includes people who get extreme discomfort as well as people who get mild discomfort.
According to doctor Amber Milan at the Liggins institute “We’re hopeful that consuming dairy with only the A2 protein will reduce symptoms by avoiding inflammation that might make intolerance worse.” This is great news for those who want to try milk without the stomache gurgles, and it may not help 100% of pople with lactose intolerance, but it’s worth a shot!
Is A1 milk bad for health?
Although some observational studies have claimed to notice an increase risk for such things as diabetes in early childhood, there are not sufficient data to prove these claims. Although A1 is not digestible for those with lactose intolerance, the European Food Safety Authority says A1 is completely healthy to drink and will not cause adverse affect, unless you are not able to digest A1.
Is GHF milk A2?
We do use the Guernsey breed, 98% of which are A2 producing, but we have not had our Guernsey cows tested for A2. In all likelihood yes, but don’t believe in advertising something we haven’t certified 100%. Since most Guernseys are A2, Grace Harbor Farms milk is a great option for those looking for an A2 option. We believe in our milk 100%, and even more in our dairy community. We have teamed up with Myshan Farms (follow them on Instagram @myshanfarms if you haven’t) to bring you the best of Guernsey milk of the Pacific Northwest to communities all over Washington State.
Will we test for A2?
That is a plan!
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Where can I find GHF milk??
The EFSA says A1 is not unhealthy