A1 vs A2 Milk: What's The Difference? | NFI

A1 vs A2 Milk: What’s the difference?

What the different labels mean for your dairy consumption

Today you’ll find many milk options available in your local supermarket’s dairy section. Low fat, full cream, skim, and the list goes on. It can be hard to understand the differences between them. What’s even harder is deciding on which one is best for your personal needs. When you’re trying to compare these milk options it’s best to go to the source. Discover how they’re made. In most cases, that’s where the biggest difference will be.

To help you understand the difference between A1 and A2 we’re breaking down all the unique aspects of these milk types. We’ll include production methods and the health benefits that major producers associate with their products. After reading this article you’ll have a clearer idea about which milk options may be right for you. So read on if you want to learn more about the dairy milk options available at your local supermarket.

A different source

One of the main differences between both milk types is their origin. A1 milk comes mainly from cow breeds originating from Northern Europe. These cow breeds include Ayrshire, British Shorthorn, Holstein, and Fresian. What they all have in common is their milk which contains the A1 beta-casein protein.

A2 milk comes mainly from Charolais, Guernsey, Jersey, and Limousin cow breeds. These cows originate from the Channel Islands and Southern France. Their milk contains higher amounts of the A2 beta-casein protein. This A2 protein has been part of cow milk for thousands of years. However, it’s only due to a recent mutation that most kinds of dairy milk also contain the A1 protein.

After centuries of dairy farming, the A1 protein began to appear in cow milk. The appearance of this protein was thanks to a naturally occurring genetic mutation present in certain breeds of cows. With the exception of A2 milk, all other cow milk varieties currently have the A1 protein.

To ensure consistent A2 milk production , dairy farmers test cows for the A2 producing gene and keep them in the same herd as other cows with the same characteristics. Cows with the A1 gene are separated from this herd. Milk from the A2 cows is kept separate from the milk collected from the A1 cows and processed separately to ensure that milk branded as A2 contains no A1 milk.

Effects on health

The health benefits of both milk types have been hotly debated over the last decade. There are many areas of health where producers claim that A2 milk is the better option for you. Digestive health and quite specifically lactose intolerance, has been the main focus for A2 milk producers.

A2 milk is promoted as a dairy option that’s gentler on your gut. It is believed that A1 milk cannot be digested well by some people and that A2 is a better alternative for them. This is because the A2 amino acid strand has a different structure compared to A1. This difference in structure helps the A2 protein break down easier in the human gut.

When the amino acid chain of A1 milk breaks down in your body it produces a peptide called BCM-7 (beta-casein morphin). Through research, this peptide has been shown to slow down food digestion throughout the body. This slowing down of digestion has been linked to changes in bowel function, gut bacteria, and inflammation in the gut. It’s these side effects that have led experts to believe that some people can’t tolerate A1 milk as well as others.

A few research groups have also linked A1 milk’s BCM-7 to autism, type 1 diabetes, and heart disease. Other studies have not found BCM-7 in the blood of healthy adults who drink cow’s milk. Instead, it has been found to be present in infants. With so many different studies, results, and conflicting opinions, there is still no clear jury out when it comes to choosing between A1 and A2 milk for health reasons.

Which milk type is right for me?

Today health experts are still debating over the benefits of choosing A2 milk over A1 milk. The Issue of digestive health is the strongest point that gets brought up. A2 milk producers around the world focus their marketing and messaging around the fact that their milk is easier on your digestive system.

Other health experts claim there is simply not enough strong evidence to back up the health claims of A2 milk producers. One of the best things you can do is try the milk for yourself. See if you personally feel a difference when you make the switch. Everyone may have their own levels of tolerance when it comes to milk digestion.

At the end of the day, the milk you choose to drink is your choice. You may feel better drinking one milk type over the other. It comes down to your personal preferences. Discover which option is right for your lifestyle and wellbeing. Take the test today and see if your body notices a difference between the two types of milk.

Learn more about milk production from NFI

Has this article made you more curious about milk production? Here at National Food Institute, we specialise in providing workplace based training for some of Australia’s largest food processing sectors. For years we have closely monitored the dairy industry and provided training courses that are specifically designed for milk manufacturers.

Our workplace training helps to turn dairy staff into effective risk managers in their workplace. When they see something that could jeopardise their workplace, they have the right training and knowledge to quickly act on it and make their workplace safer.

Our students in dairy factories have the most up-to-date knowledge of milk production procedures. It’s because their courses and training are provided by trainers with valid experience in the industry. Our trainers have a unique and unmatched insight into the dairy industry.

So if you’re a dairy producer looking to improve the safety and operating standards of your workplace, contact us today . We provide nationally recognised training that your employees can take with them anywhere around Australia. It’s our mission to develop training partnerships that help improve the standards of food processing around the country.