Milk and dairy health benefits and risks continue to get debated (& that’s not what this post is about). What is important is making sure you’re informed of the differences between A1 and A2 casein and what alternatives to traditional cow’s milk have to offer.
With so many people lactose intolerance, there is good reason paying attention to this swap!
A1 Casein is the largest group of protein in milk and gets its name from A1 beta-casein. Cows originating from Northern Europe produce A1 Casein, making it the most prevalent source in our beloved grocery-store shelves; and it’s in both milk & cheese.
Why is A1 casein so bad for your health?
Some medical experts blame a peptide called beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7). This peptide develops when the A1 protein enters the small intestine. The BCM-7 is then absorbed into the bloodstream. This peptide may cause a range of health problems that aren’t fully understood and could include:
- Blood sugar concerns
- Heart health issues
- Digestive issues
- Intolerance to dairy products *HINT: it may not be the lactose after all, but rather the A1 casein your allergic to!
- Struggles with focusing
Things that make you go hmmmm…..right?!
A2 Casein – a more friendly source
Come to find out there are other breeds of cows that produce a completely different casein, called A2 Casein. Different cows, different casein. Who knew? A2 Casein milk is the healthier choice between the two because it doesn’t usually bring about the same digestive issues and health concerns. And cows are not the only providers of this type of casein – A2 also comes from goats, sheep & water buffalo.
How to Swap
The good news is you can actually buy A2 casein milk from the grocery store – you just have to look for it. There is one major brand hitting shelves (so far!) and I highly suggest you help me keep them in business. Look for “A2 milk” the next time you go grocery shopping.
Second – you can swap in other A2 products or entirely non-dairy options. Here are a few:
- Coconut milk (unsweetened)
- Coconut yogurt (my favorite!)
- Goat or buffalo yogurt
- Goat butter
- Goat Brie
- Goat cheese *pay attention to the labels the next time you’re in the cheese aisle.
- Grass-fed French or Italian butter
- Ghee *another favorite of mine!
- Goat milk
- Sheep cheese
- Buffalo mozzarella
Researchers are still working hard to uncover the mysteries of casein A1 milk. And as always, feel free to ask your doctor about the differences between casein A1 and casein A2 milk. I’m sure he or she will be happy you asked and should know how to help you if you’re trying to better your diet.