Closeup of two glasses of milk on the blue surface agaist white wall.Different types of milk
Food News
What Exactly Is A2 Milk?
By Aimee Lamoureux
There are several reasons dairy-free milk alternatives are having a moment in the sun, including the rising popularity of vegan diets and health concerns. Some people find it hard to digest cow's milk, using non-dairy milk as a more tummy-friendly alternative, but another variety of milk, called A2 milk, might make it easier for those with dairy sensitivity to digest cow's milk.
Keith Woodford, an honorary professor at New Zealand's Lincoln University, explained that when you drink regular cow's milk, you consume A1 and A2, both types of beta-casein, "a protein that's found in all mammalian milk." While beta-caseins are common in all milk, gastrointestinal distress can often be caused by the digestion of the A1 type.
Consuming A2, however, did not result in similar gastrointestinal distress. The distinction between A1 and A2 beta-caseins was first discovered by two scientists, Bob Elliott and Corran McLachlan, in 1993, and extrapolating on this discovery, McLachlan partnered with an entrepreneur named Howard Paterson in 2000 to launch a brand-new, stomach-friendly kind of milk company, called The A2 Milk Company.
However, in the early days of agriculture, McLachlan's company would have been entirely unnecessary because all cows naturally produced only A2. In recent years, a genetic anomaly has caused many breeds of cattle to be more likely to produce A1 milk than A2 milk, and only certain breeds, such as Jersey and Guernsey cattle, continue to produce high amounts of A2 milk.
In recent years, companies have capitalized on the increasingly diverse milk market to promote the health benefits of drinking A2 milk. While the jury may still be out on how much more beneficial A2 milk is overall, those who experience stomach sensitivity after drinking cow's milk may want to give this more tummy-friendly version a try.