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Monday, August 04, 2008

More A2 Milk Nonsense

Remember A2 Milk, the latest rage from New Zealand?

Let's quote a reputable site, an official New Zealand government FAQ.

What’s the difference between ‘A1’ and ‘A2’ milk?
The name comes from the type of protein in the milk. Milk from cows, and any other milk producing animal, can vary quite a lot in the types and amounts of proteins they contain.

Cow’s milk contains six major proteins. Four are casein proteins, the other two are whey proteins. Casein proteins make up about 80 percent of the protein in cow’s milk. A type of casein called beta-casein is one of the major ones, and is itself of different kinds, depending on the genetic make-up of the cow. The most common are beta-casein A1 and beta-casein A2. Milk high in beta-casein A1 is being referred to as ‘A1 milk’ while milk high in beta-casein A2 is being called ‘A2 milk’.

This is good for some people with cow's milk protein allergies because they may be less sensitive to this different set of proteins.

Obviously, though, it couldn't possibly matter to those of us with lactose intolerance, right?

Well, as I reported in A2 Milk Update: Warning to LI Readers, A2 milk manufacturers are making the claim that people with LI can drink A2 milk safely. Why? Because the different proteins somehow make a difference. That there is no evidence for this claim existing anywhere in the world that I can find doesn't seem to bother them.

I hadn't heard anything more for the past year, but an article on, A2 Milk: the Solution to Lactose Intolerance, Allergies and Other Illness?, by Lynn Berry, resurrects the idiocy. And not even in their Satire section.
People with assumed lactose intolerance are able to tolerate A2 milk with research suggesting that intolerance is due to the type of milk protein present in the milk given that A2 milk contains lactose.

The article concludes by saying:
Information for this article was taken from:




I do like articles with references. That means I can check them to see if they were accurately quoted.


Not one of the three pages linked so much as mentions the word lactose. If you dig really deep on the site, however, you find this:
Q: If I have lactose intolerance can I drink a2 milk?
A: A2 milk contains the same quantity of lactose that is found in normal milk and will not resolve any medically diagnosed lactose intolerance. However some of the symptoms of lactose intolerance can be caused by other factors in milk such as BCM7 that can be released from the A1 protein found in most cows’ milk.

BCM7 is a strong opioid which has been shown to directly affect gut processes and mucus production. A2 milk does not contain the A1 protein that releases BCM7.

Link to "Research has centred on the effects of BCM7 in the body" section of the Bioactive page of to act as reference.

I have absolutely no idea what they think they are saying there. BCM7 has no relationship to lactose intolerance. I did check the "Bioactive page of" It, of course, did not even mention the word lactose.

Unless and until 40 years worth of research by the medical community is overturned and some other factor in milk than lactose is implicated in lactose intolerance, I urge my readers not to be taken in by any magical promises made by A2 milk. Treat it exactly as your would any other milk: no better, no worse.

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Anonymous said...

They are saying that beta-casein A1 might damage your brush border membrane, pretty much the same way gluten do in celiac´s.

This might result in an inability to metabolize lactose.

And it looks like they´re right too :-)

Steve Carper said...

Who are "they"? How do you know that "they're" right?

Please cite the medical journal articles that make the case.

Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed lactose intolerant when I was 13, I am now 36. I have avoided most dairy (having yogurt with 'Lactese Drops'and the odd 'Farmers Union Iced Coffee' and usually paying dearly after the latter). I CAN HAVE A2 MILK!!!!!
Although I do not like the taste of cows milk now anyway.
I hav looked into it (A1, A2, BCM7)at great length. I think the argument against 'A1' milk is strong and more resurch is needed.

Anonymous said...

have a read of 'DEVIL IN THE MILK Illness health and politics, A1 and A2 milk' by Keith Woodford.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous above is right - Inflammation causes flattening of the brush border where lactase is secreted and so its well known that inflammation or an infection can lower your enzyme production. BCM7 has been shown to cause reactions in gut cells (The influence of casein-derived exorphins on mast cells in rodents M. Stępnik, M. Kurek, Journal: Revue francaise d'allergologie et d'immunologie clinique, ISSN: 0335-7457, Vol: 39, Issue: ,Date: 1999, Pages: 57-59). So it's totally plausible. If you do some research into it the journal articles are all there to back it up.

Unknown said...

I think you're right: whoever is saying A2 milk fixes lactose intolerance is talking rubbish.

On the other hand, I don't think that is the main 'theorised' benefit behind A2 milk at all. If you read further about it you will see that the main 'theorised' benefits (still unproven) are related to autoimmune responses which certainly have nothing to do with inherited lactose intolerance at all, which is an inability to digest lactose usually because genetically you cannot produce lactase enzyme.

Someone has decided to mix these two totally different subjects, probably based on dubious anecdotal evidence, when there is no logical basis for it - lactose is a suger, totally unrelated to beta casein and BCM-7 - which is what I think you are trying to point out. :-)

However - there seems to be more than one of lactose intolerance, and it's not really clear what causes the non-inherited varieties, although they seem to sometimes be related to general gut disease problems, and in that case it is faintly possible to imagine that there is some connection to A-2 milk... maybe the anecdotes aren't 100% rubbish?

Squarepeg said...

They didn't say A2 milk solves the lactose intolerance problem; they said that non-A2 milk often produces the same symptoms as lactose intolerance, and many people who have been misdiagnosed with lactose intolerance can consume A2 milk without any problem. Not all "lactose intolerance" is really lactose intolerance; many people who have been so diagnosed also find that raw milk doesn't produce their symptoms.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you are a scientist and must have proof from research articles in peer reviewed journals. If you want to make broad recommendations that are costly to the population then I agree that you need to look at the literature and do more research. The do more research part seems to be the most common answer. BUT, we definately need to look at the case definition of Lactose intolerance. Certainly all milk digestion problems cannot be the same, ie lactose intolerance. My doctor didn't do any tests when he declared that I was lactose intolerant. He just listened to my symptoms and then told me I was lactose intolerant. Certainly it must be more complicated than this.
I find the A2 discussion very interesting. I long ago found that I can consume goat milk with no problems where if I drink cows milk I have problems. I would like to try some A2 cows milk and see if I can tolerate it as well. I think the important thing coming out of all this debate is that there MAY BE a simple fix for people with milk digestion problems... consume A2 milk and see what happens. What do you have to lose? We will all know personally what works for us in a matter of hours. There is so much to gain if you like dairy products as much as I do.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the info! All been very helpful.

Anonymous said...

The link between A2 milk and Lactose Intolerance is how BCM7 effects your digestion. BCM7 slows down how fast food is digested leaving the lactose to ferment longer in your gut. Since A2 milk digests faster symptoms could be less sever.

Patrick Jordan said...

Hypersensitivity, Addiction and Allergy are a continuum. One thing that appears from the comments of those who do not react to goatsmilk is that goats were rarely used as vaccine ingredients. Given that fetal bovine serum, eggs, and a host of other 'food' products were used to culture and formulate vaccines generations before most of the posters were born, the generational provocation of antibody response to those injected substances leads to the consumed substances to be recognized as antigens even during leukocytosis in the gut from poor digestion including lack of enzymes leading to a host of the misunderstood symptoms characterized here. Molecular mimicry most likely leads to autoimmune responses also part of that hypersensitivity continuum so the picture becomes complete with the induction of things like diabetes, etc. Milk from animals is not human food. No animal on the planet takes milk from another species, nor drinks milk after it has been weaned so the obvious answer to this problem is to stop doing the unnatural.

Akshayakalpa said...

Organic foods have higher nutritional value than conventional food, according to some research, the reason is absence of pesticides and fertilizers.

ramesh said...

Though A2 milk is rich in many nutrients, it is recommended for growing kids above age 7 and not for all the kids. A2 milk has many packed nutrients and is suggested for adults and kids aged above 7, you have to make sure whether the farmhouse is producing quality milk or they like just bottling the milk with some added ingredients. Cow Milk Chennai offers high quality and pure a2 milk.