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What is A2 milk?

A2 milk



Today’s cows are not what they used to be.

According to Professor Sebely Pal, the leading researcher in nutrition at Curtin University in Perth, …”originally, all cows produced milk containing only the A2 beta-type protein, but owing to a genetic mutation in European herds, another milk protein emerged – A1 – and spread throughout many countries. Today, milk with the A1 protein makes up the majority of milk in our fridges.

It is this A1 milk, according to her study – the world’s first on humans – that can cause people discomfort, while milk that contains the A2 protein and no A1 protein is much easier on the digestive system.  

The problem with milk intolerance is working out whether you are actually intolerant to the lactose or the protein in the milk.

Lactose is the sugar in the milk (the end -ose is used to name sugars, such as fructose, glucose, etc).

Infant mammals nurse on their mothers to drink milk, which is rich in lactose. The intestinal villi secrete the enzyme called “lactase”  to digest it. This enzyme breaks down the lactose molecule into two simple sugars glucose and galactose, which can be absorbed. As we grow older we reduce the consumption of milk and therefore the production of the enzyme lactase gradually decreases, which can be the cause of lactose intolerance.

In people who are lactose intolerant, lactose is not broken down,  producing gut-flora and gas which can lead to diarrhea, bloating, flatulence, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

However, the phrases “milk intolerant” and “lactose intolerant” are often used synonymously, says Professor Pal, whereas in fact, many people react not to the lactose at all, but to the A1 protein of the milk. This is great news for the milk-intolerant because the calcium in cows’ milk has key health benefits when it comes to bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis, for instance.

When observed  under the microscope, consumption of A1 milk experience gut inflammation and have changes in  stool consistency that doesn’t happen when consuming A2 milk.

In Australia, A2 milk products are taking over the market ( and we can expect to see a similar reaction in Europe. When I stayed at a friend’s house in London last week, I was surprised to see an A2 milk carton in her fridge. And Lilly -our recipe guru-, has already spotted the A2 yogurt on the shelves of our local organic shop in Amsterdam.

I really love milk, but I have to admit that milk doesn’t seem to love me, so I am going to give A2 a go… for me and the kids. There’s been a lot of bad publicity about milk, but good milk – half-fat, organic, from grass fed A2 cows- is the biggest source of calcium, a mineral that our bodies need to maintain healthy bones and teeth, specially important for children, sportspeople and for women approaching menopause.

Just remember that calcium cannot be absorbed without the presence of vitamin D, so if you live in a Northern country, make sure to take your  daily 2000 IU of this vitamin.

Writing this article has made me crave for a full, cool glass of milk -more on cravings anther time-, so I have sent a message to Lilly asking her to prepare a milk-shake recipe for us. I hope she says yes!




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