IHN Database

All milk is not the same

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA. Cow's milk contains about 34 grams of protein per liter. The protein has two components, whey and casein; there are several types of casein in milk, but the main ones are A1 and A2 beta casein. The two types break down differently when digested with A1 casein producing a bioactive peptide, which is very similar to the digestion product of gluten. Research has uncovered a strong association between the consumption of beta casein A1 and the incidence of childhood (type I) diabetes. More recently, a strong correlation has also been found between the incidence of heart disease and the consumption of beta casein A1. The consumption of A1 in Ireland, for example, is 3.5 times higher than in France and so is the incidence of heart disease. Just recently scientists at the University of Queensland demonstrated (in animal experiments) that beta casein A1 promotes atherosclerosis and high cholesterol levels while beta casein A2 does not.

The ratio of A1 to A2 casein in cow's milk varies from herd to herd. Beta casein from Red Danish cows typically contains 70% A1 whereas beta casein from Guernsey herds contains 70% of the A2 version. A2 Corporation, a New Zealand dairy company, has found that it is possible, by selective breeding, to increase A2 content to 100% and is now marketing A2 milk in NZ. A2 milk is essentially free of the detrimental A1 fraction.
Tailford, Kristy A., et al. A casein variant in cow's milk is atherogenic. Atherosclerosis, Vol. 170, September 2003, pp. 13-19

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