Is A2 milk really better tolerated than ordinary milk for people with lactose intolerance? Here is the fact check.
Milk – or the question of how healthy milk is for the human organism – is one of the most controversial issues in our society. This is partly because milk is considered poorly digestible and more and more people are complaining of lactose intolerance or lactose intolerance.
Where does the designation A2 milk come from?
For years, A2 milk has been touted as a kind of miracle milk. Due to its increased tolerability, even people with lactose intolerance should be able to drink A2 milk without any problems. Ordinary milk, also known as A1 milk, is said to cause digestive problems.
But what do the designations A1 and A2 stand for anyway? In order to understand this, you have to take a closer look at the components of cow’s milk.
In addition to water and fat, milk consists of proteins, i.e. protein. Beta-casein forms the largest proportion of these proteins. A1 and A2 are the two variants of beta-casein most commonly found in cow’s milk.
Whether a cow gives A1 milk, A2 milk, or a mixed form is determined by the animal’s genetic makeup and cannot be influenced from the outside. Researchers suspect that originally all cattle gave A2 milk and that A1 only became established through a mutation in European breeds.
Which cows give A2 milk?
High A2 frequencies can be found in the Guernsey, Jersey, and Brown Swiss cattle breeds, among others.
What is the difference between A1 and A2 milk?
It has been scientifically proven that A1 and A2 milk differ at just one point in their composition. Casein is generally composed of amino acids that form chains. At position 67 of this amino acid, chain is the amino acid proline in A2 milk. The amino acid histidine is located here in A1 milk.
Is A2 milk really healthier?
During the digestion process of A1 milk, beta-casein is broken down and beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7) is produced in the digestive tract. For years, this substance has been associated with diseases such as type 1 diabetes, heart attacks, and autism. Since BCM-7 is not or hardly produced during the digestion of A2 milk, proponents took it for granted that A2 milk is healthier than A1 milk. The fact is, however, that there are no scientific studies that prove a connection between A1 milk and the diseases mentioned.
Does A2 milk even need it?
In recent years, various studies have focused on the question of whether A2 milk is easier to tolerate than A1 milk. The Bavarian State Institute for Agriculture quotes from two smaller studies from Asia, in which the participants with milk intolerance had fewer symptoms with A2 milk than with A1 milk. With a number of test persons of 41 and 45 people, these studies are by no means meaningful.
The conclusion on the LfL homepage is:
“The milk from our cows already contains 65 to 80 percent A2 casein. Serious health impairments from the consumption of milk containing A1 can be ruled out with certainty after careful clarification by renowned European institutions. According to the available results on digestive problems caused by milk containing A1, pure A2 milk could become an interesting product for the Asian market. However, this applies primarily to drinking milk, cheese products and other milk products have not yet been clarified. Whether the results have any relevance for the European market cannot be said at the moment, European studies would be necessary for this.”
The Max Rubner Institute, which has worked intensively on A2 milk, also comes to the conclusion that the hype about the supposedly better digestible milk is not justified. On the homepage it says:
“The statement that can be read occasionally in the media about the better tolerability of A2 milk in the case of lactose intolerance lacks any scientific basis. A2 milk does not differ in any way from A1 milk in terms of lactose content.”