Health Benefits of A2 Milk

Milk is milk, right? Not quite. Not all animals produce milk with the same kinds of nutrients. In fact, certain important nutrients in A2 milk are different on a fundamental, structural level.

The primary protein in milk is known as β-casein. This protein comes in two forms: A1 and A2, each of which includes a different amino acid in its structure. Traditional dairy cows produce milk that contains both A1 and A2 casein. Recently, though, specially bred cows that only produce A2 casein have hit the mainstream.

This protein difference may have serious effects on digestive health. Many people have lactose intolerance, a condition where the body does not produce lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose. However, recent studies have shown that other components in milk may cause digestive discomfort.

Nutrition Information

A one-cup serving of A2 2% milk contains:

A2 milk is rich in protein, which is an important building block in everything from muscle tissue to skin and blood

A2 milk is also a great source of:

It contains a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids, too. These are polyunsaturated fats that your body needs in order to function well. The consumption of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to lower triglyceride levels, reducing the risk of heart disease or stroke.

Potential Health Benefits of A2 Milk

Milk is best known for its abundance of calcium, which helps the body grow and repair bones. It also helps prevent and treat osteoporosis, or the weakening of bones. You can find calcium in many effective treatments for acid reflux, too.

Here are some additional health benefits of A2 milk:

It could help keep your blood pressure healthy. High blood pressure is often caused by elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels. By consuming more omega-3 fatty acids like the ones in A2 milk, you can potentially lower your cholesterol levels. The potassium present in A2 milk benefits your blood pressure, as well.

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It could help your mood. Vitamin D plays a key role in mood disorders like seasonal affective disorder (SAD). By consuming foods rich in vitamin D — like A2 milk— people living with SAD may see a reduction in symptoms.

It could strengthen your immune system. Vitamin A is important to keep your defenses strong and it's found most frequently in animal products like A2 milk. Consuming more vitamin A improves the response and regulation of immune system cells.

It could help your eyes stay healthy. Vitamin A helps maintain your retinas and your corneas. The vitamin A in A2 milk may help keep your eyes working well. Drinking milk regularly as part of a balanced diet may help your body prevent cataracts and keep your vision sharp.

Potential Risks of A2 Milk

If you have a diagnosed milk allergy, A2 milk is not an healthy alternative, and you should avoid it. In fact, if you have it, you could have the same symptoms -- including the potential for life-threatening anaphylaxis -- that you would if you were to drink "regular" milk.
 
If a doctor has told you that you are lactose intolerant, it's unlikely that you'll feel any better after drinking A2 milk. That's because it contains just as much lactose as milk that has both the A1 and A2 proteins. 
 
If you're not sure if you're lactose intolerant, but you don't feel well after having milk, trying A2 milk may help. If you can tolerate it, it's possible that you have sensitivity or intolerance to the A1 casein protein.

Healthier Alternatives

If you're lactose intolerant, lactose-free milk may be a better choice for you than A2 milk. Like "regular" milk and A2 milk, lactose-free milk has all the nutritional benefits of "regular milk," just without the lactose.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 09, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American Heart Association: “Polyunsaturated Fat.”

California Dairy Research Foundation: “A2 Milk Facts.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

Journal of Clinical Medicine: “Role of Vitamin A in the Immune System.”

Meharry Medical College: “Correlation of Lactose Maldigestion, Lactose Intolerance, and Milk Intolerance.”

Nutrition Journal: “Effects of Milk Containing Only A2 Beta Casein versus Milk Containing Both A1 and A2 Beta Casein Proteins on Gastrointestinal Physiology, Symptoms of Discomfort, and Cognitive Behavior of People With Self-Reported Intolerance to Traditional Cows' Milk.”

Mayo Clinic: "Milk Allergy"

University of Texas-San Antonio: "Difficulties with Dairy – Is A2 Milk the Answer?"

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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