What Is It?
You may have noticed another jug of milk in the dairy section labeled A2 milk. What is it? A2 milk is natural cow’s milk that comes from certain cows. Most dairy cows produce milk containing two types of proteins, A1 and A2. Some cows produce milk with just the A2 protein. This milk is called A2 milk.
Protein in Milk
Milk is a great source of protein. Did you know you can get 8 grams of protein from just one cup of milk? Casein accounts for 80 percent of the protein found in milk. There are different types of casein including beta-casein. A1 and A2 are two varieties of beta-casein.
The genetic makeup of the cow determines what type of milk she will produce. The A2 Milk Company uses a hair sample to determine the genes of each cow. Cows can have one of three genotypes:
A1A1, meaning that she will produce milk containing only the A1 protein
A1A2, meaning that she will produce milk containing both A1 and A2 proteins
A2A2, meaning the she will produce milk containing only the A2 protein
By breeding and milking cows that only have an A2A2 genotype, dairy farmers can be certain that the milk being produced contains only the A2 protein.
Why do we care that this milk contains different proteins? Some people who have difficulty digesting regular milk may be able to drink A2 milk just fine. Most people assume that having digestive issues after drinking milk means that they are lactose intolerant. This may not be true. Those digestive issues may instead point to a sensitivity to the A1 protein. Some research shows that people with milk intolerance (not to be confused with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy) had reduced symptoms with A2 milk. If you are sensitive to milk and really missing it and you haven’t been diagnosed with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy, A2 milk might be worth a shot. The A2 Milk Company suggests staring with a small amount of A2 milk in coffee or cereal and increasing the amount if no symptoms present.
Milk and Your Health
Milk is a good source of high quality carbohydrates, protein, and fats, all of which are essential to a healthy body. Milk also provides important minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. A2 milk contains basically the same nutrition as regular milk, so unless regular milk gives you adverse symptoms, there is no reason to drink A2 milk (except for fun!).