If you’ve been to the store lately (of course you have, it was gonna snow, so you needed bread and milk) you may have seen another “new” type of milk popping up on the shelves.
Whole milk, 2%, Skim, Organic, GMO free, Grass-fed… The list goes on. And now… A2!!! Where does it stop!?!?
How can this A2 milk be any different than the other milks on the shelf? Well the answer to that is...it is. It is substantially different and has the potential to change the dairy industry and the way they raise and breed animals forever.
The A2 Gene
“A2 milk is produced only from cows having two copies of the A2 gene for beta casein. To explain further, cows’ milk is about 87 percent water. The remaining 13 percent is a combination of lactose, fat, protein and minerals that make up the solids in milk. If we focus on the protein within milk, the major component of that protein is called casein. About 30 percent of the casein within milk is called beta casein. The two most common variants of the beta casein gene are A1 and A2, so any given bovine will be either A1A1, A1A2 or A2A2 for beta casein. In the United States nearly 100 percent of the milk contains a combination of both A1 and A2 beta casein.” - Progressive Dairyman
Ok, that may be hard to process and understand, so let me simplify and explain what this means in layman’s terms.
A2 gene good, A1 gene not so good.
The A2 gene was originally in nearly all cattle in the world, but through years of cross-breeding of species and natural genetic mutations within the cows, the A2 gene has disappeared from many cattle.
The exact science behind the difference in A1 versus A2 milk is complicated, but research has shown that digestive enzymes interact with A1 and A2 beta-casein proteins in different ways. Because of that, A1 and A2 milk are processed differently within the body.
Breed It in
More research is still needed to prove the theories on A2 vs A1 milk, but it seems as if the data, being as clear and believable as it is, the shift to breeding for A2A2 animals is on the rise. And fast.
The purchasing of A2A2 bull semen by farmers, has grown incredibly fast as the consumer market seems to be readying itself for a shift to this “new milk”.
Soon enough there will be full A2A2 herds everywhere, and many people think we will be better for it.
The Answer for Lactose Intolerant Dairy Lovers!?
Some people have stated that A2 milk is the answer for milk lovers who are lactose intolerant! This is not necessarily true.
Most cases of lactose intolerance are self-diagnosed. This being said, there is some research that shows they may be able to drink A2 milk with little to no reactions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has become the answer for lactose intolerance everywhere.
Many doctors believe that these self-diagnosed cases who have reactions to dairy consumption, may actually be a reaction to the A1 gene and not the lactose. Since the body synthesizes this A2 gene differently the reactions may be less and may allow them to return to their dairy-loving selves (IN MODERATION!)
So why A2 over all of the other options out there? Is this really the best option? Is it going to change the way the world looks at dairy products? The truth is we can't know for sure but there are some interesting points out there to make us think it is possible.
Being that an A2A2 cow seems as though it is the closest thing that we have to the genetics of the "cows of old"; it is possible that their milk would be the closest to the way it was always meant to be consumed. (my opinions, not facts)
I’m not here to tell you to go out there and only buy A2 milk! It’s gonna be pricey, especially at first, and it’s not for everyone. Just as organic grass-fed non-GNO skim milk is not for everyone. But… it has potential to be a great option, especially for you all who “can’t drink milk”!