A1 or A2 Milk – Which Is Right For You?

People choosing to live a healthy life have paved the way for healthier living habits. These habits comprise of adopting healthy lifestyle changes like eating healthier foods and indulging in physical activities to name a few. Organic farming has taken the world by storm and dairy industry isn’t far behind. The arguments about organic milk vs. the industrial milk are rife today. And when there’s a mention of organic milk – you cannot miss mentioning A1 and A2 milk. The arguments are in favour of A2 milk but what is it that makes it a better option than A1 milk?

What is Organic Milk?

Organic milk is obtained from cows that are fed with organic fodder and aren’t given antibiotics and growth hormones. These cows are strictly watched to avoid any stray grazing over inorganic or adulterated pastures. The cows that fall sick and need to be treated with antibiotics are then removed from the organic production utility. Organic milk, thus, is obtained from cows that are bred and raised in 100% natural living conditions without any kind of intervention either through consumption of adulterated fodder or medical treatments.

What is A1 and A2 Milk?

Milk, as known, is a great source of calcium and protein. The easiest and healthiest way to introduce calcium and protein in the regular diet is through consumption of milk. Milk is made up of a variety of proteins and casein is the largest group of proteins present in the milk. Casein makes up to 80% of the total protein content in the milk.

A1 and A2 are the two types of beta-casein that make up the large chunk of casein proteins found in milk. Regular milk contains both A1 and A2 beta-casein. The bifurcation of organic milk into A1 and A2 is done on the basis of the breed of the cow. A1 beta-casein is found in the breeds Holstein, British Shorthorn, Friesian and Ayrshire. Whereas, the A2 beta-casein is found in the breeds Jersey, Limousin, Guernsey, and Charolais. 

Why is A2 milk better than A1 milk?

The entire A1 and A2 debate is based on some studies that show the harmful effects of consuming A1 milk and production of Beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7) is one of the major reasons behind it.

BCM-7 is produced during the digestion process after consumption of A1 milk. Studies by a select group of researchers, across the globe, suggest that production of BCM-7 in the human body can have adverse effects. Though everyone is not affected by consumption of A1 beta-casein but studies show that a growing number of people are falling prey to the harmful effects of secretion of BCM-7.

According to a study published by the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2012, following are some of the harmful effects of consuming A1 milk:

  1. Delayed psychomotor development in infants

The BCM-7 has been found to travel to the brain through the bloodstream in infants which hampers their motor development skills thereby delaying the process.

  1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

The human body is not acquainted with digestion of BCM-7. This can add to weak gut thereby resulting in IBS in some individuals.

  1. Risk of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is often found in kids. Researches show that kids who consume A1 milk while growing up are more likely to be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

  1. Coronary Heart Disease

A1 milk has higher fat content than A2 milk. The accumulation of fat in the human body can lead to risk of developing certain heart diseases.

  1. The occurrence of Autism or Schizophrenia in extreme cases

Studies have shown that higher levels of BCM-7 are associated with the ability to perform and plan. The high levels meddle with the brain thereby causing mental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

  1. Lactose intolerance

Lactose (sugar) intolerance is the inability to digest the sugar consumed by the body completely. Though A1 and A2 milk have the same levels of lactose, studies have found that a number of people find it difficult to digest A1 milk compared to A2 milk. There are numerous researches being conducted on this across the globe. Doctors suggest that A2 milk is the best substitute for lactose intolerant people as A2 beta-casein is easier to digest which makes it a healthier option compared to A1 milk.

It is well established and well-accepted fact that A1 and A2 milk differ in their compositions. However, in India especially, the bigger problem is the way the cows are managed, and the milk is procured – there are a lot of adulterations that happen in the whole process. When the animals are kept in a clean environment, allowed to graze in open farm, soak in the sunlight, and fed only organic fodder, the quality of milk is certainly better.

 

Here Is Why Organic Milk Is Better for You Than Regular Milk

The word organic seems to hold a halo of health around it, and for a good reason. More than just a buzzword, organic certifications require a lot of work, it requires implementation of processes that are in harmony with the governing body, and these standards and processes need to be maintained throughout. The stringent tests and monitoring make organic foods of any kind, safer and healthier for human consumption. So when it comes to milk, why is organic better than natural? Here are a few compelling reasons.

It’s better for your heart

Charles Benbrook is an extremely credible research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University. Researchers and students at WSU tested nearly 400 samples of organic and natural milk for a duration of 18 months. One of the notable results of these findings were that organic milk contained significantly higher levels of heart-healthy fatty acids as compared to normal milk.

Healthy cows = healthy milk

When cows are grass-fed, the milk they produce is all the more healthy. Think of it this way, if two human mothers are both lactating, one eats nutritious meals while the other lives on porridge and nothing else, which mother would have healthier milk? It’s the same with cows. Cows that eat more grass have a better fatty acid profile in their milk. Cows which are fed corn or cheaper grains produce milk that’s higher in omega-6 fatty acids. These are bad fatty acids that have been linked to cancer and autoimmune diseases. Organic cows are always grass-fed, making their milk much healthier.

Sustainable shelf life

Since organic milk is sterilized at extremely high temperatures, up to 280 F, the shelf life is significantly increased over standard, pasteurized milk. This is the result of implementing better production processes which are governed by external bodies. The shelf life of normal milk is barely a few days, which also results in a lot of wastage.

So much more than milk, nutrition-wise

Although exceedingly high temperatures have been proved to have a destructive effect on some of the nutrients found in milk, it’s also important to note that organic milk is fortified with added nutrients and minerals, from calcium to B-12, the nutritional value of organic milk is leagues apart from standard milk. There is a natural presence of omega 3 fatty acids which are the good fatty acids. These powerful nutrients work to reduce cardiovascular diseases, better the neurological development and also strengthen the entire immunity system.

Milk that’s free from evil additives

From harmful growth hormones to antibiotics, cows on normal dairy farms are pumped with chemicals to increase the production of milk. This is extremely harmful for human health. The addition, these chemicals have been linked to osteoporosis in women, menstrual disorders in women, and the premature development of the reproductive system in males and females. Organic milk is only infused with the good stuff, and the milk is only fortified after production. This means that the cows are fed on nothing but grass, as nature intended it to be.

Adulteration – a nightmare for milk consumers

If you’ve been following our blogs, you’ll know that the milk that’s delivered to your doorstep, at much lower rates than that of organic milk, is laden with chemicals. Sting operations have revealed that most of the milk in India is unfit for human consumption. From white paint to lead and even hydrogen peroxide, milk is adulterated with all sorts before it reaches you. What’s more is that most of the adulteration happens when unethical farmers try to water the milk down to increase the quantity. This results in the spread of water-borne diseases since the water used is not always the drinking water.

The fodder itself

On most dairy farms, cheap crops such as corn and soy are grown to feed the livestock. In an attempt to maximize the yield of crops, farmers make liberal use of pesticides and insecticides which enter the system of the cows. All of these ultimately trickle down to us, since these dangerous chemicals get poured into the lactation process for the cow. This is why companies that claim to be organic can only use a fixed set of harmless organic manure which is non-toxic to human health.

Last but not least, we would like to mention the packaging, often you’ll find that doorstep delivered milk comes in flimsy plastic packets that can be easily penetrated. Organic milk comes in tetra packs which use tamper-proof technology which means that adulteration is out of the question! In conclusion, when it comes to milk, the choice between organic and natural is fairly clear. For the health of you and your family, choose organic!