You’ve likely heard the term A2 milk by now. If you’re a regular consumer of Jersey Girl Organics then you know that we produce incredible organic, Jersey A2 milk.
But just what is A2 milk. How does it differ from A1 milk, and does it really matter? Let’s explore this in more detail.
What is A2 Milk?
Around 3-4% of milk is made up of protein, and approximately 80% of that protein is made of casein, a slow-digesting dairy protein that is common as a health supplement. It’s especially popular in the health space as a nighttime protein shake as its slow-releasing nature can help you feel fuller, for longer.
Of this casein, there are a number of different forms, but the two most common are:
At a molecular level, these two forms are almost identical. The main difference between the two forms comes down to a single amino acid - yet this difference leads to big changes.
A1 beta-casein, it has a histidine amino acid, and A2 beta-casein has a proline amino acid.
For most of us, this means nothing. But what this change in amino acids does is affect how the two proteins are broken down, and what happens to our bodies as we break it down.
Most milk you find in the supermarket contains both the A1 and A2 proteins. A2 milk exclusively contains the A2 protein and comes from breeds of cows that have been bred to produce this type of milk, such as our beloved Jersey herd.
So, when you hear the term A2 milk, now you know that it refers to the type of the proteins found in the milk.
What's the Difference Between Regular and A2 Milk?
In reality, the only difference between A1 and A2 is how our bodies break down the amino acids histidine and proline differently, and how this can have negative effects on our stomach and digestive system.
When we break down A1 protein, the histidine amino acid, our bodies create a peptide called BCM-7 as a result. This peptide has been shown to affect gut movements and inflammation in animals, but so far no study has conclusively found these results to be replicated in humans.
What’s the Benefit of Drinking A2 Milk?
The benefit, therefore, is that A2 milk can be easier to digest, particularly for people with existing digestive issues or mild lactose intolerance.
There are also a number of other reasons why you should consider switching over to A2 milk, which we cover in detail in another blog, Uncovering the Health Benefits of A2 Milk.
Can You Drink A2 Milk if You're Lactose Intolerant?
Short answer: it depends.
Depending on the severity of your intolerance, A2 milk may be suitable for you. A lot of the above information and research points to A2 milk being easier to digest, but this doesn't mean it is entirely safe for consumption if you have severe intolerance.
Your best bet is to pop down and see us on the weekend at one of our market stalls (find your nearest one here) and try a sample. Wander around and visit the other stalls and see how you feel. If everything seems to be fine, come back and take a bottle home. If everything goes well for the week, you'll know that A2 milk is fine for you to drink.
The Bottom Line
The differences between A1 and A2 milk are still debated. There is still research to be done to lead to conclusive results of both the negative and positive effects of both types.
Our recommendation? If you struggle with digesting milk, give A2 a shot and see if it clears things up (if you’re looking for your nearest stockist, check out our interactive map).