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A2 Milk: The Milk-Lover's Solution to Protein Intolerance

Marlene avoided dairy products for years before discovering A2 milk, a milk alternative for those with protein intolerance.

Drinking A2 milk may allow you to enjoy milk again.

Drinking A2 milk may allow you to enjoy milk again.

For many years, I thought I was lactose intolerant. Then, I started drinking A2 milk and discovered my intolerance is more likely intolerance to A1 protein.

Yes, whenever I drank milk or consumed dairy products, I experienced stomachaches, gas, bloating, and all the symptoms associated with what people call lactose intolerance. I took lactose enzymes before consuming dairy products, and most of the time, they worked. But, sometimes they didn’t work, and I suffered the consequence of consuming dairy products that my body could not readily process.

If you avoid milk and dairy products because they cause discomfort, discover the value of A2 milk and how A2 milk may allow you to enjoy the satisfying flavor of milk again with no adverse side effects.

A1 vs. A2 Study

Studies show that humans digest A2 milk better than they digest A1 milk.

A seven-day blind study designed to test whether or not people were affected by the protein components of A1 and A2 proteins showed that negative digestive symptoms were markedly reduced after consuming A2 milk versus regular milk, which contains A1 and A2 proteins.

There was a time that all cows only produced A2 milk, now the Guernsey cow is the predominant cow that produces A2 milk.

There was a time that all cows only produced A2 milk, now the Guernsey cow is the predominant cow that produces A2 milk.

The A1 and A2 Story

There was a time, more than 10,000 years ago, that cows only produced the A2 protein. But, some kind of mutation occurred in Holstein cows, and then they began producing the A1 and A2 proteins. In many of the Asian, African, and some Southern European areas, cows continue to produce only A2 milk. It is in the Western world where cows produce predominantly A1 milk.

When referring to A1 and A2 milk, scientists are referring only to the beta-casein protein contained in milk. Various animals, such as cows, sheep, goats, produce various levels of A1 and A2 protein.

Some humans have more trouble digesting A1 protein and less trouble digesting A2 protein. A human mother’s breast milk is A2 milk; thus, babies tend not to have digestive problems consuming breast milk from their mothers. It is with this knowledge in mind that companies were wanting to gain a more significant share of milk-drinking consumers; companies began raising and marketing cows that produce only the A2 milk.

Which Animals Produce A2 Milk?

Mainly, the animals known to be reliable in producing A2 milk are:

  • Asian herds,
  • buffaloes,
  • camels,
  • donkeys,
  • goats,
  • Guernsey cows,
  • humans,
  • Jersey cows,
  • sheep,
  • and yaks.

On the other hand, the Holstein cow breed, which is predominant in Australia, Northern Europe, and the United States, produces both the A1 and A2 milk.

Farmers can breed animals which produce only A2 milk, and it is a process that can take several generations of breeding. First, a bull must possess two copies of the A2 gene in their DNA (A2/A2). And, that bull must mate with a cow with two copies of the A2 gene in their DNA. This combination of mating will assure that the offspring will produce A2 milk.

Are You Lactose Intolerant or Protein Intolerant?

The symptoms of lactose intolerance and protein intolerance are similar. So, for health reasons and for more suitable choices, it is wise to determine which intolerance category applies to you.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose is a carbohydrate. If you are lactose intolerant, it means your body does not produce enough lactase, an enzyme made in the small intestine that breaks down lactose. Your body cannot digest lactose, which is the sugar in milk or dairy products. So, when you consume dairy products, you become bloated; you get cramps, nausea, gas; and diarrhea sets in almost immediately.

In order to enjoy a milk beverage or any dairy product, you might drink lactose-free milk or take lactose pills. If the pills alleviate your discomfort, then you can safely assess that you might be lactose intolerant.

Protein Intolerance

A1 and A2 are called beta-casein proteins. They are identical forms of beta-casein except for one single amino acid. Of the 209 amino acids that make up a protein, it is the amino acid in the 67th position of the amino acid chain that determines whether the protein will be an A1 or A2 protein. If the amino acid in the 67th position is a histidine, then the protein will be an A1 protein. If the amino acid in the 67th position is a proline, then the protein will be an A2 protein.

Oftentimes, it is histidine that causes trouble for people who suffer from conditions such as diabetes and heart conditions, which is why doctors sometimes recommend people with certain health conditions stop consuming milk products.

Milk also contains whey and beta-casein, which are other protein components found in milk. The body uses a protease enzyme to break down protein for digestion and absorption. If you do not have enough protease enzyme in your body, your body will overreact to the protein, producing the same type of symptoms found in people who complain about being lactose intolerant.

Many people in Western cultures complain about being lactose intolerant when in fact, they might actually be protein intolerant.

Cost Comparison of Regular, Lactose-Free, and A2 Milk

The cost of regular milk, lactose-free milk, and A2 milk are fairly comparable.

I found A2 milk at regular grocery store outlets such as Ralphs, Whole Foods, Safeway, Walmart, and Albertsons. I even found A2 milk at the Costco membership store.

All prices are for a gallon container of 2% milk.

Regular Milk

Lactose-Free Milk

A2 Milk

$3.21

$3.89

$3.30

Nutrition Facts for A2 Milk

* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs.

Nutrition Facts 

Serving Size 1 cup (240 mL)

 

Calories

120

Calories from Fat

45

 

% Daily Value*

Fat 5 g

8%

Saturated fat 3 g

15%

Unsaturated fat 0g

 

Carbohydrates 12g

4%

Sugar 12g

 

Fiber 0g

 

Protein 8g

16%

Cholesterol 20mg

7%

Sodium 115mg

5%

Try A2 Milk and Discover the Joy of Drinking Milk Again

I used to avoid drinking milk. On rare occasions, if I did drink milk, I would either drink lactose-free milk or take a lactose pill. It did not always alleviate the bloating and uneasy feeling associated with being lactose intolerant, but I did this because I thought I was lactose intolerant. Now, after trying A2 milk, I believe my intolerance to milk is actually intolerance to the A1 protein found in milk.

Now, I drink A2 milk without taking a lactose pill, and I have zero adverse effects. I no longer experience bloating, diarrhea, or upset stomach.

A2 milk is real milk and tastes like the milk we remember when we were kids. The cost to buy A2 milk is not much different than buying regular milk and is well worth trying.

Got milk?

Resources

Effects Comparison of A1 and A2 Milk on Gastrointestinal Physiology, Symptoms and Behavior via U.S. National Library of Medicine

Science for a Sustainable Future, A2 Milk Facts via California Dairy Research Foundation

A1/A2 Milk and beta-Casomorphins: The Resurgence of Controversy via Institute of Food Technologists

Effects of cow’s milk beta-casein variants on symptoms of milk intolerance in Chinese adults via Nutrition Journal

Effects of milk containing only A2 beta casein versus milk containing both A1 and A2 beta casein proteins via US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Increased gene dosage for β- and κ-casein in transgenic cattle improves milk composition through complex effects via US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health

Genetics and A2 Milk: What You Need to Know via Dairy Basics

Is Breeding for A2 Milk for You? via University of Minnesota Extension

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Marlene Bertrand

What are your thoughts about A2 milk?

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 05, 2020:

This is news to me, I never knew that milk with A2 protein only can be digested easily by people with lactose intolerance. Thank you for sharing this article, will pass on the information.

I am not able to comment on your latest salsa article because the comment section is disabled, it may be a glitch.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 29, 2020:

Hello Mona Sabalones Gonzalez. That movie, "French Kiss" is one of my favorite movies. I have seen it a number of times and the scene you describe is one I can relate to on a very deep level. Thankfully, I discovered A2 Milk. It is so enjoyable to be able to drink milk again and not have to suffer all the side effects of not being able to tolerate milk for whatever the reason.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on July 19, 2020:

This is a very interesting article. I first heard about lactose intolerance from the movie "French Kiss". It occurred when the lead character played by Meg Ryan kept on eating cheese on a train in France. Then she ended up with horrible lactose intolerant pains. It was very funny, but from your article, it looks like it's serious business. It is also interesting to learn that A2 milk is made by certain animals and some types of cows.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on May 17, 2020:

Yes, Rajan. It is quite interesting that some animals are born and raised to naturally produce A-2 milk.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 17, 2020:

Great information. Interestingly, all Indian cow and buffalo breeds give A2 milk by default.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on November 25, 2019:

Hi Devika, I must say, I have never entertained the thought of drinking camel's milk, or even donkey's milk. But I guess milk is milk. Thank you sharing about your culture in Croatia.

Devika Primic on November 24, 2019:

I drink milk and couldn't go without it. In Croatia milk from donkey, goat and cow is the best milk. I did not have the goat and donkey's milk. It is interesting to know of these facts. Camel's milk sounds good and is one of the most expensive milk on the shelf. Thank you for this helpful hub.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on November 21, 2019:

Hello Luis. Now that I know the difference, I look for A2 milk when I buy milk. It really has made a difference in my enjoyment of milk.

Luis G Asuncion from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 21, 2019:

Actually, I have no idea, what is A1 not A2 protein. As long as I drink milk. Now, I already knew it. Thanks for sharing.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 29, 2019:

Mark, A2 Milk is a milk-lover's dream. I was skeptical at first, but I tried it and now I am glad I did. I can enjoy the delicious flavor of ice cold milk again. And if you are a chocolate lover, add chocolate milk powder for a crazy-delicious treat.

Mark Tulin from Ventura, California on October 29, 2019:

Very informative piece on milk protein, Marlene. It’s helpful to me since I’m lactose intolerant and love the taste of milk. Will check this milk out and give it a try.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on August 02, 2019:

Thank you Devika. I hope it helps people determine whether or not they are lactose intolerant or protein intolerant.

Devika Primic on August 02, 2019:

Informative and important to those affected by it. Thank you for a useful hub.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on July 28, 2019:

Hello Patricia, I will be 65 years old in November. All these years, I thought I was lactose intolerant. I'm self-diagnosing, but after drinking A2 milk one time without any adverse symptoms, I recognized that I must actually be protein intolerant and not lactose intolerant. It is certainly worth trying A2 milk to see if it makes a difference. Many blessings to you.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 27, 2019:

This is very interesting. My eldest grandson has been told he is lactose intolerant all of his life. We will have to check out the information you provided and see if it helps him thank you for sharing Angels are on the way this evening ps

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 23, 2019:

Thank you Chitrangada Sharan. I was excited to discover the A2 alternative. I hope it is a great discovery for the people you know, as well.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 23, 2019:

A well written and very informative article.

So far, I don’t have lactose intolerance but I have heard it from many people around me. Sadly, they have a list of foods, especially milk and milk products, which they can’t take. Thankfully, there are other options, according to your well researched article. I will forward this information to them.

Thanks for sharing this excellent article.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 22, 2019:

Oh, Eric, I was typing so fast... I didn't mean to insinuate that histidine and proline were amino acids. They are merely more components that make up the A1 and A2 proteins. And, by all means, getting an MD's take on all of this would be excellent. I am not a medical person in any way. This article is strictly based on information I found in medical journals and government publications. They could be wrong, or I could have interpreted them wrong. I enjoy researching things and this is one of those subjects that intrigues me to no end.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 22, 2019:

Thank you Mary, for sharing this article. I do hope it is able to help your daughter.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 22, 2019:

From that past I think Histidine is positive and Proline is akin to Vitamin D which is not a vitamin at all. If I recall Proline is not an amino acid.

So in this I will do some research as best in their class of tolerable substitutes.

I am going to switch from "fat free" to watered down less processed. In dairy. Why pay to dilute? Drink more and get more hydration. Just a thought.

Marlene I will get an MD's impression here and float it by my nutritionist (we get them free in onoclogy)

I case you cannot tell I love this stuff. And thanks again for such intrigue.

Mary Wickison from Brazil on June 22, 2019:

This is fascinating and new to me. I drink quite a bit of milk and have never had a problem with it. My daughter however, does. I will be passing this on to her.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 22, 2019:

Oh, Eric, I know what you mean. My head is excitedly going around and around with the discovery of A1 and A2 milk. Did you know there is also a B milk protein? Yes, and did you know that A1 and A2 are identical forms of beta casein except for one single amino acid? Yes, the 67th amino acid is what makes them A1 or A2. Listen to this, A1 has a histidine in its position and A2 has a proline. In some humans, histidine poses a problem with how the body processes anything histidine-natured. I'm telling you, Eric, the research on this subject has overrun my normal curiosity level.

Oh, GMO or Non GMO... now we're getting into the subject of mitochondria DNA, nuclear DNA, endosymbiotic relationships, and genetic codes. It goes on and on...

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 22, 2019:

Marlene my brain flew off on this one. Horses? Rodeo bulls and so many others to wonder about. Is it considered a GMO when we take generations to alter without chemical involvement? Do I need both 1 & 2, does my son?

Oh well -- I wonder if my brain has too much of either or both ;-)

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 22, 2019:

Hello Bill, until recently I never even heard of A1 or A2 anything. But, after drinking one glass of the A2 milk I was so amazed at being able to drink milk again that I could hardly contain myself. I did some research and discovered so much that I had to turn my research into an article. I hope others will learn, as I did, that they now have an alternative milk solution. Have a fabulous weekend my good friend.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 22, 2019:

Hello Lorna, for many years I simply did not drink milk. It caused very uncomfortable symptoms. I learned to take lactose pills to enjoy a bowl of ice cream or cheese every now and then, but even so, it did not give 100% relief. What I discovered with the A2 milk is that I am more likely A1 protein intolerant instead of lactose intolerant.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 22, 2019:

Hi Pamela, I am so sorry milk affects your system so adversely. In my studies, I read a little about how milk is not good for people with heart issues. No milk for you! Well, thank you for your great feedback and please continue to take good care of yourself.

Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on June 22, 2019:

Hi Eric. I had never heard of it until recently. I read the label that indicated it was easy to digest. I tried it and to my amazement, after drinking a full glass of it, I was happy to discover that I could now drink milk again without any discomfort.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 22, 2019:

Oddly I have never heard it called A2. I was aware of it because my stepson has a goat farm and I know that milk is fine for those who are lactose intolerant...just didn't know it was called A2.

It's been a valuable day thanks to you. I learned something new.

Have a great weekend, my friend.

Lorna Lamon on June 22, 2019:

This is an excellent informative article. I drink very little milk, however, I still have milk in coffee and breakfast cereal. It's good to know about the alternatives particularly if you are Lactose Intolerant, as many of my friends are. Thank you for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 22, 2019:

This is such interesting information that I did not know. I actually don't drink milk, but we have it in our home for everyone else. I do not have lactose intolerance, but I have lung disease. Milk products add to the congestion and I don't even eat ice cream, which is sad. Thanks for such an informative article Marlene.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 22, 2019:

Very interesting stuff, I have never heard of this before. I will definitely get some and try it. Well done friend.