NB: As many of my readers suffer with Cows’ Milk Protein Allergy, I want to make clear that a2Milk™ is not suitable for those with Cows’ Milk Protein Allergy.
In a recent poll I conducted about why members of my facebook group are dairy free, the majority of those who answered said it was because they or their children have cow’s milk protein allergy, but there was also a sizeable portion who answered ‘lactose intolerance‘, ‘other‘ or ‘by choice‘. With figures expected to be in the region of 1 in 5 people in the UK who are lactose intolerant, that is a large percentage of the population. A brand new study has taken place which indicates that some people who think they have lactose intolerance may in fact have an issue with he A1 proteins in the milk they are drinking. I have written about this before, but this new study with results released today is the largest independent study of its kind ever and goes much further towards supporting this claim. This could be very exciting news for many who believe they are lactose intolerant.
The trial included 200 healthy people from each of the cities Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou in China (600 people in total). The participants each had self-diagnosed lactose intolerance. For 4 weeks the participants consumed no dairy products whatsover. They were then randomly selected to consume 300ml of milk containing both A1 and A2 proteins, or 300ml of milk containing A2 protein alone. After 7 days without dairy they were given 300ml of the the opposite product. Their gastrointestinal symptoms were monitored for 12 hours after consumption. It was found that the people who drank the A2 only milk were fine after 12 hours, but those with the milk contianing both A1 and A2 proteins experienced gut issues similar to those found with lactose intolerance. You can read the full results of the study in the UK Nutrition Journal.
Independent spokesperson Dr Anthony Hobson, Clinical Director of the renowned Functional Gut Clinic sees many patients who struggle with digestive issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Dr Hobson commented on the findings:
“This exciting new research on such a large sample is significant in that it suggests that many patients’ issues with dairy may in fact be specific to the A1 milk protein that is found in regular cows’ milk. A simple switch to milk containing only the A2 protein could be an important part of symptom management for those suffering from milk intolerance or IBS.”
What this Means
While people in Australia, the US and China have known about the existence of the A1 milk protein intolerance for quite a while, we are just beginning to learn about it here in the UK and Ireland. In an area where there is already much confusion between milk allergies and lactose intolerance, this brings yet another component of milk that can cause people issues. It is important to distinguish and know the differences.
Cow’s Milk protein allergy – an immune response to the protein found in milk. The response is usually an inflammation of the airways, skin, intestines or sinuses.
Lactose intolerance – an inability to digest the sugars in milk without suffering adverse effects.
A1 Protein intolerance – an inability to digest the A1 beta casein protein in milk without suffering adverse effects.
Symptoms of A1 protein intolerance include Bloating, Cramping, Skin problems, Trouble digesting and Discomfort. Similar symptoms are associated with lactose intolerance, hence the possibility for confusion.
What this study really highlights is that people who may have self diagnosed lactose intolerant actually may be A1 protein intolerant.
Milk Containing A2 Protein Only
Milk with A2 protein only is cows’ milk that comes from selected cows that produce milk containing only the A2 beta casein protein, and is naturally free from the A1 protein. Originally all cow’s milk contained only the A2 proten, but there was a genetic mutation in European herds thousands of years ago. This resulted in milk produced by European cows containing solely A1 protein. Most of the milk we consume here in Europe is milk which contains the A1 protein. Milk containing only the A2 protein is produced by special herds of cows which produce milk naturally free from the A1 protein. The company a2 Milk™ produce milk with A2 protein only and this has been growing in popularity over the last few years in the UK. a2 Milk™ is available in most supermarkets in the UK – all other regular cows’ milk found in supermarkets is likely to contain the A1 protein.
Should I try Milk containing A2 Protein Only?
If you have Cows Milk Protein Allergy, then a2 Milk™ is not suitable. We have not tried the a2 Milk™ ourselves for this reason. One of my friends is unable to drink milk with A1 protein due to her irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) but has discovered she can drink milk containing only the A2 protein. She is delighted to be able to drink dairy milk again. This new research may allow some people to drink cows’ milk again. The a2 Milk™ tastes the same as regular milk. It is currently available widely in the UK. It is not available in Ireland at the moment but you can order the long life semi skimmed from Amazon.co.uk. Read more about a2 Milk™ on their website.
Are you self-diagnosed with lactose intolerance and thinking of giving this milk a try? Have you tried it already? How did you get on?
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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with a2 Milk™. The research quoted can be read in full here – Nutrition Journal. All opinions are my own.