Shoppers in the United States are about to encounter something new in the dairy aisle. A2 milk, a substitute for conventional milk successfully launched in New Zealand two decades ago, is hoping the win over American consumers with an expansive pitch of health claims.
Advocates of A2 mild don’t just see it as the next almond or soy milk. Instead, they’re positioning it as an alternative to one of Western society’s foundational food sources, which they believe has had an outsized role in causing maladies ranging from simple indigestion to cardiovascular disease, autism, and schizophrenia.
These claims have been met in equal measure by critics who have identified A2 milk as something more conventional – a hype-driven product building a profitable foundation on limited science.
Beta-casein is the major source of protein in mild. Around 8000 year ago however, the characteristics of beta-casein began to change, with a lone mutation occurring at one of the 209 amino acids in its genetic profile. Breeding practices and random acts of history made A1-production cows the norm in Europe and, subsequently, the majority of the Western world.
The difference is potentially important because digesting A1, but not A2, beta-casein can cause the release of the opioid beta-casomorphin (BCM-7) in the small intestine. BCM-7 has been linked to impaired gastrointestinal function, such as decreased intestinal contractions and suppressed lymphocyte proliferation.
Many studies on the risks of A1 milk are from animal study data and causal associations showing higher rates of chronic disease in countries primarily reliant on A1 milk. Researchers have used both to establish a link between A1 milk consumption and an elevated risk for gastrointestinal impairment, type 1 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and perhaps further afield, autism and schizophrenia.
Many of these studies have been knocked for being funded by the A2 Milk Company, the main producer of this product. In a turnaround befitting the tit-for-tat nature of this debate, the author of a 2006 critical review that found “no convincing or even probable evidence” of A1’s harmful effects in humans was later found to have been a consultant for a New Zealand dairy company producing A1 milk.
More and more consumers now espouse seemingly complete faith in products that promise to alleviate all the great health crises of our day and age by unlocking one key contributor. Meanwhile, the integrity of researchers is reduced to the single question of where they derived their funding, or to whether they are seeking to make a profit from their product.
We simply do not have the data right now to determine A2 milk’s benefits, or whether they even exist. Regardless, curious US consumers undaunted by the unsettled nature of the debate surrounding A2 milk will soon be able to test it themselves.
Please reread the last two paragraphs carefully. That is my take as well. I would only add that it is the design of research that creates this issue, not the consumers. Science is always looking for that one chemical in nature that will alleviate some health care issue rather than accept that it is the symbiotic nature of the plant. Of course, there is no money in plants. The money is in mimicking the chemistry of plants but altering it enough to obtain a patent.
Don’t drink milk - A1, A2, acidophilus milk, low fat, vitamin D milk, skim milk. Just don’t drink it. Milk is the second most common food allergy on the planet and most sources are contaminated with hormones, antibiotics and toxic chemicals like Round Up.
Source: August 10, 2018 National Institutes of Health