What Is A2 Milk?

What is A2 milk? Is it dairy based? Lactose-free? Similar to Fairlife? Or is it just normal milk that is slightly smaller than 8.5 x 11 inches? ( That was an A4 paper joke…I know, deep cut…deep paper cut…okay I’ll stop.) It turns out it is none of those things. A2 milk is defined by the proteins that are in the milk.

What is A2 Milk?

A2 Milk is essentially just milk. The key difference is that while most standard cow’s milk contains two different kinds of beta-casein proteins (A1 and A2), A2 milk only contains A2 and not A1. As for how dairy farmers achieve that, you might think it involves protein denaturing or extracting, or some other scientific alakazamming, but it turns out some cows just happen to produce A2 milk naturally. Because of that, companies that produce this kind of milk (such as The a2 Milk Company) actively seek out those cows, and can double-check if they are the right kind of cows using genetic testing. 

Is A1 bad for you and A2 good for you?

Well, I looked into it, and it all seems a little nebulous. Some people think that A2 milk is easier on the stomach, as A1 can cause stomach inflammation (this is unrelated to lactose intolerance, as A2 milks also contain lactose). According to MedicineNet, people have also claimed that A2 milk can potentially improve brain function and may be a better, less irritating option for people with IBS. Studies have shown that A2 milk causes less inflammation and better poops when consumed in place of milk that contains A1. Per MedicineNet, this could be due to the fact that when milk that contains A1 is digested, “it produces a peptide called beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7).” Doctors have connected BCM-7 to “lactose intolerance-like” symptoms in people who are not actually lactose intolerant. Keep in mind though, most of the studies out there on A2 milk right now are paid for by A2 milk companies, so take all of these results with a big ol’ grain of salt. Or three. Three big ol’ grains of salt.

Where are all these A2 cows coming from? 

Are they genetically modified (moo-dified) super cows coming to take over the world with their A2 Beta-casein moo-perpowers? It turns out most cows used to be A2-only cows. Then A1 cows happened somewhere along the way evolutionarily and now the A1/A2 combo cows are just the way it is for the most part (according to The A2 Milk Company). So. With all that in mind, will you be trying A2 milk? I might give it a chance at some point. It seems like, if nothing else, it will just taste like milk. And if it can actually improve my morning “business,” well, that’s just an added bonus.

About the Author

Jessica Block

Jessica Block is a freelance contributor to Sporked, a comedian, a baker, a food writer, and a firm believer that Trader Joe's may just be the happiest place on earth. She loves spicy snacks, Oreos, baking bread, teeny tiny avocados, and trying new foods whenever she can. Also, if you give her a bag of Takis she will be your best friend.

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  • I learned about this years ago from an article by an Indian-American that explained that his parents came from India and hadn’t had any problems consuming milk there but after emigrating to the USA they had started having trouble. It was quite a long time ago but I believe he was stating that A2 milk is common outside the USA but the A1 cows are more common here because those breeds tend to have higher production. He also characterized things as all cows having a ratio of A1 to A2, instead of only A2, which is what varies between breeds. This was many years ago and I assume the author was just a journalist.

  • Nice blog and very easy to understand your blog keep sharing these type of blog.