Is A2 Milk better than A1 Milk? Yes.

By Sue & Howard Dengate

Posted  October 14 2015 | 0 Shares

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Is A2 Milk better than A1 Milk? Yes.

By Sue Dengate BA DipEd

  1. A2 Milk
  2. What is A2 milk?
  3. What are the health benefits of A2 milk?
  4. Are there any medical reports?
  5. Why doesn’t my doctor know about this?
  6. Is A2 milk diluted with permeate?

Keywords: A1 beta casein, A2 beta casein, milk, yoghurt

What is A2 milk?

A2 is the name of a milk protein that was in all dairy herds until a natural mutation occurred in the European herd thousands of years ago. Dairy milk usually contains a mixture of A1 and A2 beta casein proteins, but milk from goats, sheep, camels, buffalo, yaks, donkeys is either mostly or completely A2.  Some cow breeds such as Jersey and Guernsey cows have traditionally produced A2 milk (although today they have to be tested and certified to be sure) whereas milk from black and white cows such as Holsteins usually produce mostly the A1 protein variant. In the 1970s, when Australian dairy herds switched from using Jersey cows to Holsteins, some of the dairy farmers’ families at that time noticed adverse effects on their health and have reported to us that they kept a Jersey cow for their own use. Since 2003, specially produced A2 milk has been available in Australia



What about breast milk? 

The short version of a very technical answer is that human milk is A2 and has less than one-thousandth the potential of adverse effects compared to A1 cows’ milk. However, there is evidence that the problematic peptide in A1 milk can be transferred to the baby through breastmilk if the mother has been drinking large amounts of A1 milk. This could account for why breastfeeding associations generally recommend that breastfeeding mothers should avoid dairy products if baby has gut or other problems.

 

What are the health benefits of A2 milk?

Milks containing mostly A2 proteins are often said to be better for ‘allergies’ (such as gut, skin rashes, hayfever, cough). There is also research to suggest that A1 beta casein may be associated with serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes type 1 and autism.

From the Food Intolerance Network point of view, we are interested in the reports from our members who have noticed improvements by switching to A2 milk – and I am one of them (for allergic rhinitis). For long term heart health, a number of men who have read the book Devil in the Milk – including my husband – won’t touch A1 milk again.

Families seem to find the switch to A2 milk the easiest of all dietary changes to make. It seems to work best for people with physical symptoms – such as gut, rashes, ear infections – than behaviour, although some children with behavioural conditions do improve on A2 milk. However, they may do even better on soymilk or ricemilk and some children who are affected by A1 milk are affected as badly by A2 so you need to do a challenge.

Reader reports

[927] Brief reports on A2 milk and rhinitis, autism and weight gain (March 2009)

My allergic rhinitis (stuffy and runny nose, chronic cough, congestion, hayfever during pollen season) appears to be entirely related to A1 but not A2 milk. For the last two years I have enjoyed unlimited A2 milk after 12 years on soy milk. A failsafe-friendly dietitian reports the use of A2 milk during an elimination diet for a boy with autistic type behaviour: ‘I placed him on a milk-free elimination diet, but allowed A2 milk. He consumed several cups of this per day whilst on the diet. His behaviour, concentration and sense of humour all improved. However, when we challenged with normal milk, concentration etc deteriorated. So it is back to the A2 milk whilst we go through other challenges.’ The dietitian asked my skinny 7 year old son – who tested negative for coeliac disease – to go gluten free and he felt better but lost a lot of weight. Then three months ago we switched to A2 milk and now he is doing really well. He has even been able to go back on gluten.

[622] Amazing change in my child due to A2 milk (February 2008)

My 10 yr-old disabled daughter was on neocate advance which she didn’t tolerate and I was told she was past the hospital’s expertise so they didn’t know what to do with her. She was getting sick, looked shocking and her behaviour was very hard to manage (especially as mentally she is about two-year-old) so I gave her ricemilk instead of neocate advance. After four days I realized she wasn’t tolerating ricemilk. So in desperation I tried A2 milk after seeing what it did for a friend’s son – his behaviour improved dramatically, he stopped screaming, his ear infections stopped and he started to talk.

My daughter has been on A2 milk for a week now (due to underweight issues she is tube fed over a litre a day) and she looks heaps healthier. Since commencing A2 milk the diarrhoea has stopped and nappies are becoming more solid, no vomiting, rashes are gone, wheezing gone and she is wanting her tube feeds – and more – plus solids, usually we have big problems getting her to eat orally. In a week she has gone from 18.2 to 19.4kg (400g being in the last 2 days) that’s the best weight gain she has ever had. Her behaviour is wonderful. She is so calm and she has started to talk (she was non verbal before). She even sat with her baby sister for an hour and actually played with the baby’s toy with her. That’s amazing as usually she hasn’t got a very good concentration span – one minute if you’re lucky is all I’ve managed out of her – and she doesn’t play, never has done – so her changes are amazing and very strange as she doesn’t tolerate cows milk.

[927] Brief reports on A2 milk and rhinitis, autism and weight gain (March 2009)

My allergic rhinitis (stuffy and runny nose, chronic cough, congestion, hayfever during pollen season) appears to be entirely related to A1 but not A2 milk. For the last two years I have enjoyed unlimited A2 milk after 12 years on soy milk. A failsafe-friendly dietitian reports the use of A2 milk during an elimination diet for a boy with autistic type behaviour: ‘I placed him on a milk-free elimination diet, but allowed A2 milk. He consumed several cups of this per day whilst on the diet. His behaviour, concentration and sense of humour all improved. However, when we challenged with normal milk, concentration etc deteriorated. So it is back to the A2 milk whilst we go through other challenges.’ The dietitian asked my skinny 7 year old son – who tested negative for coeliac disease – to go gluten free and he felt better but lost a lot of weight. Then three months ago we switched to A2 milk and now he is doing really well. He has even been able to go back on gluten.

See testimonials on the A2 website.

Are there any medical reports?

In Australia and NZ, A2 milk is too new to have been used in studies, but there is a medical report of allergies managed by camel milk, which also contains a2 beta casein protein.

In this study, eight children with severe food (mainly milk) allergies recovered fully from their allergies by drinking camel milk. Medical researchers at the Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva Israel reported that the children aged 4 months to 10 years suffered from symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting after eating, skin rashes, asthma, lactase deficiency and ‘chemical imbalance’ that did not respond to conventional treatments. The 4 months old child had been taken home from hospital because of lack of improvement and constant diarrhoea. A girl from the US was anaphylactic to cows milk and extremely allergic to all but a few foods. Families were supplied with bottles of frozen unpasteurised camel milk to be thawed as needed and instructed not to heat the milk which would destroy the immunoglobulins and protective proteins. The milk replaced all other foods for 2 weeks, after which other food was gradually added to the diet as chosen by parents. All children showed improvement with 24 hours of starting to drink the milk and all symptoms disappeared with in 4 days. No recurrence of the allergic symptoms was reported within 30 days. The 4 month old later suffered a severe ear infection which improved on reintroduction of camel milk. The child from the US returned home after two weeks and was able to eat foods to which she had previously

Why doesn’t my doctor know about this?

In New Zealand, where the laboratory test for A2 beta casein protein was discovered, doctors do know about this. An editorial in the journal of the NZ Medical Association commented that it would be reasonably straightforward to change New Zealand dairy herds to produce only A2 milk if that was necessary. ‘The intervention would require no change in behaviour by New Zealanders and could be implemented with little personal difficulty for substantial health gain’, the author concluded.

However, as with any topic where money is involved, there is a lot of controversy created by people with vested interests. Dairy industries in New Zealand and Australia do not want to change to A2 milk because they don’t want to admit that the product they sell now – ordinary milk- may be associated with health problems.

Is A2 milk diluted with permeate?

No, unlike many regular milks, A2 is not diluted with permeate which is a by-product of milk processing (see the explanation on their website). That’s probably partly why it costs more – but we figure it is worth the extra.

Further information

  1. For a scientific, balanced and readable account of the politics that have so far prevented A2 milk from becoming mainstream, I strongly recommend the following book: Devil in the Milk by Professor Keith Woodford http://www.amazon.com/Devil-Milk-Illness-Health-Politics/dp/1603581022 

Professor Woodford’s blog contains the latest scientific updates https://keithwoodford.wordpress.com/category/a1-and-a2-milk/ and you can see an interview with Professor Woodford on Youtube.
  2. See the New Zealand A2 website
  3. See When is A2 not really A2?
  4. www.fedup.com.au

The information given is not intended as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor for underlying illness. Before beginning dietary investigation, consult a dietician with an interest in food intolerance. You can see our list of experienced and supportive dietitians.

Reviewed by Sue & Howard Dengate 14 October 2015 references
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  • PEER REVIEWER

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This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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Is A2 Milk better than A1 Milk? Yes.

Is A2 Milk better than A1 Milk? Yes.

By Sue Dengate BA DipEd

  1. A2 Milk
  2. What is A2 milk?
  3. What are the health benefits of A2 milk?
  4. Are there any medical reports?
  5. Why doesn’t my doctor know about this?
  6. Is A2 milk diluted with permeate?

Keywords: A1 beta casein, A2 beta casein, milk, yoghurt

What is A2 milk?

A2 is the name of a milk protein that was in all dairy herds until a natural mutation occurred in the European herd thousands of years ago. Dairy milk usually contains a mixture of A1 and A2 beta casein proteins, but milk from goats, sheep, camels, buffalo, yaks, donkeys is either mostly or completely A2.  Some cow breeds such as Jersey and Guernsey cows have traditionally produced A2 milk (although today they have to be tested and certified to be sure) whereas milk from black and white cows such as Holsteins usually produce mostly the A1 protein variant. In the 1970s, when Australian dairy herds switched from using Jersey cows to Holsteins, some of the dairy farmers’ families at that time noticed adverse effects on their health and have reported to us that they kept a Jersey cow for their own use. Since 2003, specially produced A2 milk has been available in Australia



What about breast milk? 

The short version of a very technical answer is that human milk is A2 and has less than one-thousandth the potential of adverse effects compared to A1 cows’ milk. However, there is evidence that the problematic peptide in A1 milk can be transferred to the baby through breastmilk if the mother has been drinking large amounts of A1 milk. This could account for why breastfeeding associations generally recommend that breastfeeding mothers should avoid dairy products if baby has gut or other problems.

 

What are the health benefits of A2 milk?

Milks containing mostly A2 proteins are often said to be better for ‘allergies’ (such as gut, skin rashes, hayfever, cough). There is also research to suggest that A1 beta casein may be associated with serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes type 1 and autism.

From the Food Intolerance Network point of view, we are interested in the reports from our members who have noticed improvements by switching to A2 milk – and I am one of them (for allergic rhinitis). For long term heart health, a number of men who have read the book Devil in the Milk – including my husband – won’t touch A1 milk again.

Families seem to find the switch to A2 milk the easiest of all dietary changes to make. It seems to work best for people with physical symptoms – such as gut, rashes, ear infections – than behaviour, although some children with behavioural conditions do improve on A2 milk. However, they may do even better on soymilk or ricemilk and some children who are affected by A1 milk are affected as badly by A2 so you need to do a challenge.

Reader reports

[927] Brief reports on A2 milk and rhinitis, autism and weight gain (March 2009)

My allergic rhinitis (stuffy and runny nose, chronic cough, congestion, hayfever during pollen season) appears to be entirely related to A1 but not A2 milk. For the last two years I have enjoyed unlimited A2 milk after 12 years on soy milk. A failsafe-friendly dietitian reports the use of A2 milk during an elimination diet for a boy with autistic type behaviour: ‘I placed him on a milk-free elimination diet, but allowed A2 milk. He consumed several cups of this per day whilst on the diet. His behaviour, concentration and sense of humour all improved. However, when we challenged with normal milk, concentration etc deteriorated. So it is back to the A2 milk whilst we go through other challenges.’ The dietitian asked my skinny 7 year old son – who tested negative for coeliac disease – to go gluten free and he felt better but lost a lot of weight. Then three months ago we switched to A2 milk and now he is doing really well. He has even been able to go back on gluten.

[622] Amazing change in my child due to A2 milk (February 2008)

My 10 yr-old disabled daughter was on neocate advance which she didn’t tolerate and I was told she was past the hospital’s expertise so they didn’t know what to do with her. She was getting sick, looked shocking and her behaviour was very hard to manage (especially as mentally she is about two-year-old) so I gave her ricemilk instead of neocate advance. After four days I realized she wasn’t tolerating ricemilk. So in desperation I tried A2 milk after seeing what it did for a friend’s son – his behaviour improved dramatically, he stopped screaming, his ear infections stopped and he started to talk.

My daughter has been on A2 milk for a week now (due to underweight issues she is tube fed over a litre a day) and she looks heaps healthier. Since commencing A2 milk the diarrhoea has stopped and nappies are becoming more solid, no vomiting, rashes are gone, wheezing gone and she is wanting her tube feeds – and more – plus solids, usually we have big problems getting her to eat orally. In a week she has gone from 18.2 to 19.4kg (400g being in the last 2 days) that’s the best weight gain she has ever had. Her behaviour is wonderful. She is so calm and she has started to talk (she was non verbal before). She even sat with her baby sister for an hour and actually played with the baby’s toy with her. That’s amazing as usually she hasn’t got a very good concentration span – one minute if you’re lucky is all I’ve managed out of her – and she doesn’t play, never has done – so her changes are amazing and very strange as she doesn’t tolerate cows milk.

[927] Brief reports on A2 milk and rhinitis, autism and weight gain (March 2009)

My allergic rhinitis (stuffy and runny nose, chronic cough, congestion, hayfever during pollen season) appears to be entirely related to A1 but not A2 milk. For the last two years I have enjoyed unlimited A2 milk after 12 years on soy milk. A failsafe-friendly dietitian reports the use of A2 milk during an elimination diet for a boy with autistic type behaviour: ‘I placed him on a milk-free elimination diet, but allowed A2 milk. He consumed several cups of this per day whilst on the diet. His behaviour, concentration and sense of humour all improved. However, when we challenged with normal milk, concentration etc deteriorated. So it is back to the A2 milk whilst we go through other challenges.’ The dietitian asked my skinny 7 year old son – who tested negative for coeliac disease – to go gluten free and he felt better but lost a lot of weight. Then three months ago we switched to A2 milk and now he is doing really well. He has even been able to go back on gluten.

See testimonials on the A2 website.

Are there any medical reports?

In Australia and NZ, A2 milk is too new to have been used in studies, but there is a medical report of allergies managed by camel milk, which also contains a2 beta casein protein.

In this study, eight children with severe food (mainly milk) allergies recovered fully from their allergies by drinking camel milk. Medical researchers at the Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva Israel reported that the children aged 4 months to 10 years suffered from symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting after eating, skin rashes, asthma, lactase deficiency and ‘chemical imbalance’ that did not respond to conventional treatments. The 4 months old child had been taken home from hospital because of lack of improvement and constant diarrhoea. A girl from the US was anaphylactic to cows milk and extremely allergic to all but a few foods. Families were supplied with bottles of frozen unpasteurised camel milk to be thawed as needed and instructed not to heat the milk which would destroy the immunoglobulins and protective proteins. The milk replaced all other foods for 2 weeks, after which other food was gradually added to the diet as chosen by parents. All children showed improvement with 24 hours of starting to drink the milk and all symptoms disappeared with in 4 days. No recurrence of the allergic symptoms was reported within 30 days. The 4 month old later suffered a severe ear infection which improved on reintroduction of camel milk. The child from the US returned home after two weeks and was able to eat foods to which she had previously

Why doesn’t my doctor know about this?

In New Zealand, where the laboratory test for A2 beta casein protein was discovered, doctors do know about this. An editorial in the journal of the NZ Medical Association commented that it would be reasonably straightforward to change New Zealand dairy herds to produce only A2 milk if that was necessary. ‘The intervention would require no change in behaviour by New Zealanders and could be implemented with little personal difficulty for substantial health gain’, the author concluded.

However, as with any topic where money is involved, there is a lot of controversy created by people with vested interests. Dairy industries in New Zealand and Australia do not want to change to A2 milk because they don’t want to admit that the product they sell now – ordinary milk- may be associated with health problems.

Is A2 milk diluted with permeate?

No, unlike many regular milks, A2 is not diluted with permeate which is a by-product of milk processing (see the explanation on their website). That’s probably partly why it costs more – but we figure it is worth the extra.

Further information

  1. For a scientific, balanced and readable account of the politics that have so far prevented A2 milk from becoming mainstream, I strongly recommend the following book: Devil in the Milk by Professor Keith Woodford http://www.amazon.com/Devil-Milk-Illness-Health-Politics/dp/1603581022 

Professor Woodford’s blog contains the latest scientific updates https://keithwoodford.wordpress.com/category/a1-and-a2-milk/ and you can see an interview with Professor Woodford on Youtube.
  2. See the New Zealand A2 website
  3. See When is A2 not really A2?
  4. www.fedup.com.au

The information given is not intended as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor for underlying illness. Before beginning dietary investigation, consult a dietician with an interest in food intolerance. You can see our list of experienced and supportive dietitians.

Reviewed by Lisa Kelly 14 October 2015
references
  • current version

  • PEER REVIEWER

  • Doc id

  • next review

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

make a comment

0 comments

more articles by Sue & Howard Dengate

view more

latest articles

view more

MEET THE EXPERTS

view more