Nurse Allysen Kelly has two young boys of her own and when the mommies on the playground started asking questions about A1 milk versus A2 Milk, she decided to share her answers (and recommendations) with everyone:
Bloating, stomach pains, and digestive troubles after drinking milk is not uncommon. Most people with these symptoms diagnose themselves with lactose intolerance and go to painstaking lengths to avoid dairy. As Dr. Cynthia Jaffe NP highlighted in a previous article, lactose intolerance and cow’s milk allergies are prevalent in this country which forces individuals to look for alternative sources of calcium. If you miss drinking a glass of cold milk, there might be an alternative on the rise. Surprisingly, it is not in the type of dairy product, but rather in the type of cow.
Have you heard the difference between A1 and A2 milk? If not, you aren’t alone. I’ll explain. The iconic, universally recognized black and white Holstein cows are the most common source of cow’s milk in the United States. These cows predominately produce milk containing A1 protein. This type of protein can cause stomach upset and symptoms that mimic lactose intolerance or other health concerns. Non-Holstein cows produce a different protein called A2. This protein does not contribute to stomach or GI upset and it tastes the same as regular grocery store A1 milk. It gives hope to people with suspected lactose intolerance. Their digestive troubles may very well stem from the A1 milk protein rather than the lactose.
As of now, A2 milk is most often available at local farmer’s markets and organic traders. However, this milk is rarely pasteurized. As with consumption of any raw foods, the risk for food borne illness (think Listeria or E. Coli.) is a possibility. I cannot recommend raw milk as a safe alternative for young children, older adults, or those more susceptible to illnesses. Distributions of pasteurized A2 milk are becoming more readily available in California through “The A2 Milk Company”. Their A2 milk options range from fat free to whole milk. These potential alternatives may allow more people to enjoy dairy options made from A2 milk.
Nurse Allysen Kelly shows us an A1 producing cow (bad for guts) and is holding A2 milk (good for guts).
Bonus Info For The Nutrition Science Nerds:
When digested, the A1 beta-casein (a protein) releases beta-casomorphin7 (BCM7) (another protein), which is linked to gastric inflammation (among other health concerns). Contrary to A1 milk, A2 milk is available from Jersey, Guernsey, Asian and African cow breeds. Digested, the A2 beta-casein protein milk does not release the inflammatory BCM7 protein. This is an important insight that future research articles are using to develop and support the benefit of A2 milk.