Are you concerned about the milk you drink? Well, you should be; given it’s a part of your everyday breakfast. And if you’re a vegetarian, then it’s probably a major source of protein in your diet. You buy this milk from the brands you trust. But what if this industrially packaged milk causes more harm than it does good? Organic milk would be definitely healthier but does your concern stop at what your cows are fed? Or maybe you should be more bothered about the breed of the cows your milk comes from? Could there be a better option? Well, there is! Ever heard of A2 milk?
What is A1 and A2 milk?
In the proteins found in milk, a protein called beta-casein makes up 30%. Beta-casein is of two kinds:
A1 Beta-casein: From breeds of cows that originated in northern Europe such as Holstein, Friesian, Ayrshire, British Shorthorn.
A2 Beta-casein: From breeds of cows that originated in Channel Islands and Southern France such as Guernsey, Jersey, Charolais, Limousin.
When A1 milk is consumed, BCM-7 is produced. BCM-7 can cause intolerance symptoms and indigestion.
Whereas the structure of A2 is closer to the human milk beta-casein chain, it doesn’t produce BCM-7. This is why milk containing only A2 naturally supports digestive well-being.
The milk you drink
It’s most likely a mix of A1 and A2. Back in 1970, during White Revolution, desi Indian cows were cross-bred with the European cows. The hybrid cows could produce 15-20 litres of milk in a day whereas the Indian cows gave only 8 litres of milk. Today, desi Indian breeds such as Gir are dying. To feed the growing population, we gave up on our native breeds whose milk was of A2 quality and had medicinal properties.
Today, milk is paid as per the fat content. So, people have resorted to adulteration or supplying buffalo milk which has higher fat content. There are even cases where cheap fat content is added separately by introducing urea, pork meat or vegetable oils. It is very important to know the source of the milk you drink.
Research: Disadvantages of A1
Since BCM-7 is not absorbed in our body, it triggers several adverse health effects. Studies show that lower consumption of A1 beta-casein protein is associated with lower incidence of Type-1 diabetes. This is more likely in childhood.
Observational studies link consumption of A1 milk with higher risk of coronary heart diseases. Animal experiments support the same. A human trial conducted at Curtlin University in Australia proved that there were significant differences in digestive symptoms between milks containing A1 and A2-beta casein. Irritable bowel syndrome or a weak gut can be caused by unwanted proteins in the human body. Additionally, studies in rodents indicate that A1 beta-casein induces inflammatory response in gut and hence cause digestion problems.
A2 is worth it
A2 milk has shown to have medicinal benefits. It is particularly essential during pregnancy and childhood. A2 milk contains more Omega-3 fatty acids which is beneficial for health. It’s not just about A2 either. The regular milk is industrially produced. The big brands hardly ever own their dairy farms. If a cow is drinking sewage water, how could you expect the milk to be holy and pure? And to think that almost 87% of milk is just water! The desi Indian cows need to be conserved. These cows have long horns and humps on their backs. Rays of the Sun enter via the hump and make the urine, dung and milk of these cows medicinal. If these cows aren’t exposed to enough sunlight, they won’t be able to produce the required amount of calcium. This alone should help us realize the importance of dairy farms.
People have started realizing the importance of the milk from the native breeds. And breeds like Sahiwal from Punjab, Gir from Gujarat, and Tharparkar from Rajasthan are being revived. It’s tragic that Vechur from Kerala is already on the brink of extinction. It is only understood that this shift can’t be brought altogether. But we have to start somewhere. We can’t keep letting ourselves become the victims of commercialization.
Switch to a healthier lifestyle. Switch to A2.