Milk is the highly evolved secretion of mammary glands and is the most perfect food for infants. Milk produced by dairy animals has been regarded as nature’s perfect food, providing source of nutrients including high quality proteins, carbohydrates and selected micronutrients. In Australia, New Zealand, USA and other developed countries, people mostly consume A2 milk, since it is harmless whereas A1 milk is considered to be harmful for health. Although the research is still underway and concrete evidence for justifying the supremacy of A2 milk over A1 milk is still awaited. Still the author has collected some facts which elucidates that A2 milk has an edge over A1 milk. Author wishes to enlighten the readers about the types of milk based on the existing literature.
A2 story started in 1993 with Prof. Bob Elliot from Auckland University who was studying incidence of Type 2 Diabetes amongst Samoan children. Type 1 Diabetes occurs when pancreas stop producing insulin, whereas Type 2 Diabetes occurs when receptors fail to attach insulin and can be best controlled through exercise and diet. Later, Dr Jeremy started looking at the beta casein proteins present in milk for an inter-relationship between Type 2 diabetes and A1 milk intake. The experiments were also carried out on mice and the mice that were fed A1 milk developed a high incidence of diabetes whereas the ones fed on A2 milk, did not. In 2000, Corann McLachlan teamed up with entrepreneur Howard Patterson to form A2 Corporation which licenses the technology to test the DNA of cattle to see whether they produce A1, A2 or A1/A2 milk combination.
Difference between A1 and A2 milk
Milk is composed of 12% solid (fats, protein, lactose and minerals) and 88% water. The fat present in milk is of two types; casein and whey. Casein proteins are divided further into three types; alpha, beta and kappa casein. The main difference between A1 and A2 milk lies in the beta casein proteins. A1 and A2 milk are determined by a pair of genes at 6th chromosome. Both contain 209 amino acids attached together with a difference in only one amino acid. A1 protein contains amino acid histidine at position 67, whereas A2 protein contains proline. A1 beta casein breaks down after in-vitro digestion to form peptide beta casomorphin 7(BCM-7) but this breakdown does not take place in A2 protein. BCM-7 is a powerful opiod and acts similar to morphine. It oxidizes the LDL and is linked to heart diseases and can bind opiod receptors expressed in digestive, immune and neural tissue.
There are two major alleles A1 and A2 and a cow carries two copies of beta casein gene, either A2A2, A1A1 or A1A2 alleles. These alleles are co-dominant on each other i.e. additive in their effect. Therefore, A1A2 cow will produce A1 and A2 beta casein in equal amounts, A2A2 cow will only produce A2 beta casein and A1A1 cow will only produce A1 beta casein. Holstein Friesian (HF) and other Northern European cattle breeds carry equal amounts of A1 and A2 alleles. Jersey and other South European breeds carry 35% A1 allele and about 2/3 of A2 allele. Guernsey breed carries A1 allele at less than 10% and the Scottish Ayrshire breed carries 50% A1 allele. The new type of beta casein i.e. A1 beta casein became common not through selection but due to founder effect (as called by breeders).
BCM-7 is a heavy molecule whose absorption is difficult into the gut walls and bloodstream. But in patients with leaky gut, BCM-7 can enter the bloodstream, crosses the blood brain barrier and attaches to opiod receptors. BCMs are μ-type opiod agonists and the activation of μ-opiod receptor leads to constipation. It also increases lactose intolerance as transit is slow with more fermentation occurring. It is also linked with an increase inflammatory activity of colonic immune cells and mucous production as well as intestinal thickening as studied in rats. Bovine BCM-7 has been detected in human infants using immune assay methods and bovine BCM-7 had also been detected in urine of children with autism spectrum disorders using mass spectrometry analysis.
Which protein containing milk is normal? A1 or A2?
Milk originally contained A2 beta casein protein but due to mutations, around 5000 years ago in European cattle, cows started producing A1 protein. Native African and Asian breeds produce only A2 milk; New Zealand breeds produce milk containing 50% of both A1 and A2 proteins. Milk of goat, sheep and humans is also A2 as it contains proline rather than histidine. Thus A2 milk is considered to be normal. There are well documented and proven benefits of drinking milk that contains 75% A1 and 25% A2 proteins. Most commentators assume that A1 milk, at best, does not constitute a health risk and, at worst, is harmful.
Facts of A2 milk
A1 milk is produced by Jersey, Holstein and A2 milk is produced by Indian humped cattle breeds. The hump in Vedic cow has a specific vein which is called Surya Ketu Nadi. This vein (nadi) absorbs all the energies and radiations from sun, moon and all luminaries from the universe and puts them in cow products like milk, dung, ghee etc. This vein on interaction with solar rays, produces gold salt in cow’s blood. Indian cow is the only divine living being that has this vein passing through its backbone. They possess dewlap which gives immunity to cow and cow products. The milk of these Vedic cows possess 6 vitamins, 8 proteins, 25 minerals, 21 amino acids, 5 basic phosphorus, 2 types of glucose, cerebrosides, carotene (yellow color). A2 milk of Indian humped cows is more beneficial as it contains micro nutrients like cytokine, A2 beta casein proteins and minerals which enhance the immune system. A2 milk is better than A1 milk as it possesses many antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties and is beneficial for human and animal health, as stated by many researchers.
Most consumers and dairy farmers worldwide, remain unaware of the issues surrounding A1 and A2 milk. This is because consumer laws prevent A1 Corporation and its franchisees from making negative health statements about A1 milk. Currently, the major consumer market for A2 milk is in Australia. We should try to consume A2 milk only as it prevents many milk related health complications especially from A1 milk. More research is required to prove the reality of the hypothesis of A1 and A2 milk. In this aspect, support from Government is needed to accomplish the anomalies of milk quality and standards to improve the health of people.
Dr. Harpreet Kour
PhD Scholar, Department of Veterinary Pharmacology & Toxicology, GADVASU, Ludhiana, Punjab.
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