What Is A2 Milk?
Most people can’t help but notice the ever-growing variety of milk options in grocery stores these days. From almond milk to soy milk to whole milk to organic milk to cashew milk to hemp milk, the list keeps growing as farmers and corporations are turning to new ingredients and processes to manufacture this all-important staple in the human diet.
Used in cooking, baking, combining with cereal, or drinking on its own, milk is a rich source of calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and potassium, and has been associated with increased bone health and decreasing rates of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. Naturally, it’s recommended by most physicians as part of a healthy diet. But, somewhat surprisingly, traditional milk consumption is on the decline. In fact, Americans are drinking an astonishing 37% less of it than we did 45 years ago, with most people sipping less than a cup per day.
Considering that lactose intolerance and milk allergies are becoming increasingly common nowadays, a new kind of dairy milk is promising to be easy to digest while tasting like the milk we’re all accustomed to drinking. As health-conscious consumers, here’s what you all need to know about a2 Milk, which is soon to launch stateside.
Most cows these days make milk with both A1 and A2 beta-casein proteins, but cows are now being specially selected for making just the A2 protein. Interestingly, all cows originally only produced milk with A2, but a natural genetic variation that first appeared in Europe spread throughout the world and slowly added A1 to the mix over time. Interestingly many Asian and African breeds have not been touched by the A1 protein. The same goes for goats.
To counteract this considerable change in the population, the a2 Milk Company handpicks the proper purebred cows to source 100% natural fresh milk with only the A2 protein.
But you can’t tell what kind of cow you’re working with just by looking at it. Taking a strand of hair from a dairy cow’s tail for DNA testing will reveal whether it produces both A1 and A2 or just A2.
Milk with the A2 protein only is much more similar to human and other mammalian milk than milk with both A2 and A1. This is because the A1 protein can negatively interact in some people’s bodies during digestion, causing a great deal of physical discomfort. The milk itself is less likely to cause bloating, nausea, gas and diarrhea.
The difference between A1 and A2 milk is a single amino acid, but its effect may have a powerful impact on drinkers throughout the world. Currently, some of the most powerful evidence has been the anecdotal accounts of consumers and even health care professionals who have switched to a2 and found that any digestive issues that they previously suffered from were somewhat relieved. Drinkers have indicated that this new milk has helped with issues including reflux, What’s more, scientific research has found a link between drinking A1 milk and developing heart disease, type 1 diabetes, autism, and schizophrenia. It’s also been associated with various auto-immune diseases.
The current status
The a2 Milk Company was founded 19 years ago in New Zealand. In 2007, a small group of Midwestern states starting carrying the product in their stores, and today we’re that much closer to more widespread distribution in the United States.
It’s been estimated that up to 25% of the general population in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand suffer from cows’ milk intolerance. If that figure holds true for the U.S., then an astounding number of people stand to benefit from a2 Milk.
Whether or not you’re sensitive to traditional cows’ milk, it’s good to educate yourself on the options that are available, or about to become available. Given that more Americans are replacing milk with less nutritious beverages—like carbonated soft drinks, coffee, and juice—it’s important to take a closer look at one wholesome option that was so prevalent only a generation ago. For now, a2 Milk almost looks like a throwback to simpler times, and a unique offering unlike anything else in the market at the moment.
Also Read: 8 Surprising Sources of Fiber