Milk Proteins and Human Health: A1 versus A2 Beta-casein

Several times a year I present papers on A1 beta-casein and BCM7  to conferences for health professionals, particularly in Australia, where consumers have easy access to the alternative A2 milk. The handout material that I wrote for the Sydney GPs conference on 22 May 2011 is attached to this post as a pdf.  My aim in that paper was to demonstrate the breadth of evidence across a wide range of health conditions, all underpinned by peer reviewed science.  Over the last year of giving this and similar presentations I have noticed how Australian health professionals are becoming much more aware of the A1 versus A2 issue.  milk proteins and human health woodford gpce may2011 final[1]

About Keith Woodford

Keith Woodford is an independent consultant, based in New Zealand, who works internationally on agri-food systems and rural development projects. He holds honorary positions as Professor of Agri-Food Systems at Lincoln University, New Zealand, and as Senior Research Fellow at the Contemporary China Research Centre at Victoria University, Wellington.
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3 Responses to Milk Proteins and Human Health: A1 versus A2 Beta-casein

  1. J M says:

    Hi Keith,

    Thank your for writing “Devil In The Milk.” You had mentioned that BCM-7 is released from both pasteurized and raw milk and that there have been no studies on the effects of BCM-7 from raw milk but it would be interesting to see the results comparing the effects of BCM-7 from high quality raw and fermented raw, grass-fed organic A1 and A2 cows. I wonder if the many nutrients (enzymes, beneficial bacteria, fat-soluble vitamins, CLA, etc.) in grass-fed cow’s milk would mitigate any of the problems associated with BCM-7.

    Also, can you elaborate more on the issue of the B variant found in some Jersey cows that you say leads to a greater release of BCM-7? I have been drinking unpasteurized, un-homogenized grass-fed milk from organic Jersey cows and have been told by the farmer that he is converting his herd to A2 (he also read your book). I initially sought out Jersey milk over a decade ago due to being told that Jerseys are an older breed (and due to my ancestry, would be better able to tolerate) and have a much higher fat content than other American cows. I was alarmed when I read your book and thought that perhaps the milk I had been drinking was not the best though I have not had any issues with the milk other than some mucus formation/post-nasal drip (I assume all milk whether it is A1 or A2, raw or pasteurized, will cause this?). I don’t think I had issues with regular, pasteurized milk in the past however, though, I have been drinking raw milk because of all the health claims raw milk proponents have made.

    Thanks and I look forward to reading more on this issue.


    J M

    • Keith Woodford says:

      I think it unlikely that nutrients in grass-fed cows will mitigate the effects of BCM-7, but in science it never pays to be too dogmatic.
      The B allele seems to be found more in American Jersey cows than in other countries, but it is showing up ocassionally in Jersey and Jersey crossbred bulls in New Zealand. The evidence for a higher release of BCM7 from the B beta-casein comes from only one paper by one of the authors of the EFSA Report, Alfredo de Noni. But the higher release is plausible, relating to the teriary structure affecting the way the protein breaks down.
      BCM7 causes the release of mucins which are the proteins that make mucus sticky. So yes, it is very likely that post-nasal drip is caused by BCM-7.
      Keith W

  2. Pingback: New evidence that A1 relative to A2 beta-casein affects digestive function | Posts from Keith Woodford

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