Updated: Jul 8, 2021
Dairy products play an essential role in the nutrition of billions of people around the world. And while milk is well known to have numerous nutrients, on the other hand, it is also associated with different illnesses. Learn why this A1 vs. A2 milk contest is relevant in your consumption of dairy products and how it could help with your digestive health?
A1 and A2 milk: the basics
Milk has a heterogeneous group of compounds: whey proteins, minor proteins, caseins, proteins of the fat globule membrane, enzymes, and nitrogen compounds. In this mix of compounds, casein represents 80% of total cow milk. There are four types of caseins, and each type has different genetic versions. One type of casein is Beta-casein which represents 45% of the bovine casein. Beta-caseins also have different variants, but two of the most common are A1 and A2.
In this contest of A1 vs. A2 milk, something must be clear: while cows could have A1 or a combination of A1 and A2 milk, water buffalo milk has only A2 protein.
A1 vs. A2 milk
The controversy surrounding A1 vs. A2 milk relates to the digestion of beta-casein. As the body digests proteins, bioactive peptides may be released. A peptide is simply a small chain of amino acids.
This peptide is called BCM-7 and is much more commonly released when the body digests A1 milk than when A2 milk.
While few research groups suggest that BCM-7 could be linked to type-1-diabetes, heart disease, infant death, autism, and digestive problems, these results are not conclusive, and more research is needed. On the other hand, A2 milk has not been associated with any of these diseases.
But while more investigation is needed to see the A1 vs. A2 milk benefits or disadvantages. The conversation is far from over because as we go further, we can see the impact on digestive health-related to lactose intolerance; keep reading to discover more.
Digestive health: caseins vs. lactose
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest milk sugar (lactose). That is a common cause of bloating, gas, and diarrhea. An estimated 65% of people have a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. And It is most common in people of East Asian descent, affecting 70–100% of these populations.
But where does lactose intolerance come in the A1 vs. A2 milk conversation? Well, we are in front of a common mistake. The association of discomfort of our digestive health with lactose intolerance must not be confused with A1 casein intolerance. Let us explain.
A study of the Nutrition Journal found that milk containing A1 beta-casein was associated with increased gastrointestinal inflammation, delayed intestinal transit, and decreased speed and accuracy of cognitive processing. Symptoms, linked with lactose intolerance, are more related to an A1 casein intolerance than a lactose intolerance per se.
Another study of the Journal of Food Engineering and Technology found an association between abdominal pain on the A1 milk diet but not in the A2 milk diet. Also, it was reported that the consumption of milk containing both types (A1-milk and A2-milk) was associated with significantly greater post-dairy digestive discomfort symptoms, and longer gastrointestinal transit times. In the same study, when 10 people with A1 intolerance have an A2 diet, they did not present any gastrointestinal problems.
In both studies, they found that people with A1 intolerance can avoid their discomfort consuming milk containing only type A2. Also, the study reveals that symptoms related to A1 intolerance may be disguised as symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Caseins are proteins, as explained before, while lactose is sugar. The amount of lactose in A1 and A2 milk could be the same. So, people with A1 casein intolerance could be making a mistake thinking that they are lactose intolerant.
A2 buffalo yogurt: the healthier solution
At this point, the comparison between A1 vs. A2 milk shows that while some studies reveal that A2 could be healthier, it still has lactose. This means that A2 milk could be good for A1 casein-intolerant consumers, but could not be as good for people that suffer from lactose intolerance.
So, why A2 buffalo yogurt? Yogurt may cause less bloating because much of the lactose has already been broken down by its good bacteria. A2 buffalo yogurt has the best of both worlds. Water buffalo yogurt is 100% A2 milk (perfect if you are A1 casein-intolerant), and because of good bacteria will be easier to digest (perfect if you are lactose-intolerant).
Don’t wait any longer to try Annabella water buffalo yogurt. It is suitable for people with A1 casein intolerance and people with lactose intolerance. And best-of-all, it comes in delicious flavors; because healthy can be delicious too!