New research validates consumer fears
Parents for many years have suspected that cows milk was causing health problems in their children and they were right. A1 and A2 milk refer to a type of beta-casein protein. The A1 is known for causing health problems such as lactose intolerance and the A2 milk better suited for human consumption.
Scientists tell us that Cow’s milk contains six major proteins of which two are whey proteins and four are casein proteins which make up about 80 percent of the protein in cow’s milk and of these four, a major one is known as Beta Casein (or β-casein).
Beta Casein is separated into beta-casein A1 and beta-casein A2 and the type of beta-casein present in the milk depends on the genetic make-up of the cows. So A1 is called ‘A1 milk’ while milk high in beta-casein A2 is being called ‘A2 milk’ and these are now appearing on New Zealand and Australian milk carton labels.
What’s the difference between ‘A1’ and ‘A2’ milk?
Perhaps you need to read Dr Keith Woodfords New book 'Devil in the Milk' which highlights the controversial properties of milk, or the best seller Milk A-Z by Robert Cohen and Don't Drink Your Milk! which presents medical facts about the problems associated with milk by Frank A. Oski to gain a wider view.
How has A1 milk appeared?
It is thought that A1 is a rogue peptide that mutated in cows hundreds of years ago and has since been identified though research as a possible trigger not only for childhood diabetes but also heart disease, autism and schizophrenia. But those with vested interests dispute the research findings.
What milk am I drinking?
Milk produced in most countries normally contains a mixture of A1 and A2 beta-caseins. Different breeds can produce different milk. For example Friesian cows produce mostly A1 milk, while Guernsey cows, sheep and goats produce mostly A2 milk. If you live in Africa or Asia, cattle produce mostly A2 beta-casein. The A1 version of the protein is common among cattle in the western world. The A1 beta-casein type is the most common type found in cow's milk in Europe (excluding France), the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Should I stop drinking milk?
If your health is perfect, no, but if your health is not so good, or if you have allergies then yes. While milk can be nutritious and beneficial, remember that cows milk was designed for calves and not humans.
What are the risks?
Research recently published in the New Zealand Medical Journal has suggested there is a possible link between milk protein consumption and heart disease and insulin-dependent diabetes. Researchers Dr Murray Laugeson and Professor Emeritus Bob Elliott collected data from various sources from 20 wealthy countries and reported a significant correlation between the amount of A1 beta-casein consumed in a country and the national rate of coronary heart disease. They also found a similar correlation between A1 beta-casein consumption and the rate of childhood type 1 diabetes which may be interpreted that Beta-casein A1 is may cause or trigger Type 1 diabetes in some children who have a genetic predisposition to developing it.
The NZ Food Safety Authority
The NZFSA commissioned an independent expert, Professor Boyd Swinburn, to analyse the available published literature on the A1/ A2 issue. That Review is now available but inconclusive other than saying more research is warranted. Overall, the NZFSA position continues to be that milk is important in the diet, and that there is insufficient evidence to suggest any change to this current advice about the value of milk in the diet. NZFSA will continue to monitor developments and research in the area and seek expert advice if and when such research becomes available, we think differently.
In India where milk has been an important part of almost everyone's diet for millennia, the majority of cows produce A2 milk. "The famous Gir cow is also worth its weight in gold, quite literally! After four years of extensive research, scientists at Junagadh Agricultural University (JAU) actually found gold in the urine of Gir cows." ~ TOI. However it's not clear if gold is also contained in the Gir cows milk. If it were, the health effects of ingesting colloidal gold would be a great advantage as gold has antibiotic and anti viral properties.
This breed has been neglected, it only exists in small numbers in India and Brazil, so don't expect this milk is a store near you.
Commercially A2 Milk is a trademark of the A2 Corporation, which is licensed by milk distributors to apply to cows' milk which has been tested to ensure it contains a higher proportion of A2 type beta-casein than regular milk. The A2 Corporation has developed a test, where DNA from a cow's tail hair is examined to determine whether the milk they produce will be high in the A2 protein. Milk producers can test all their cows, and separate those that produce A2 milk from those who do not.
Unfortunately this higher percentage is not 100% so consumers should be warned that those sensitive to milk could still be badly affected by the A2 milk. Autism, Heart disease, Schizophrenia and Diabetes may be linked to A1 protein and certain proof is a long way off.