Expert Opinion

Nature One Dairy x Our Nourishing Table

  1. What is A2 Protein?

Beta-casein is a protein in cow’s milk that can come in two different variants, A1 and A2. The types of beta-casein that a cow produces is dependent on their genetics. Many cows will produce both A1 and A2 protein, however, some will produce just A2 protein. Unless it is specifically labeled on the bottle as being A2 protein, you can safely assume that the milk you are buying contains A1 protein.

  1. What is the difference between A1 and A2 Protein?

Protein is made up of amino acids, called a peptide chain. A1 and A2 proteins are almost identical, except for one amino acid in their peptide chains. A1 contains the amino acid, histidine, at the 67th position while A2 contains the amino acid, proline. While this may seem like a minor difference, it actually changes the way that your body digests the protein.

  1. My child’s is sensitive to lactose. Can they have products with A2 Protein instead? 

In some studies, it has been shown that A2 milk can be more easily digested by those with a Lactose Intolerance. This means that drinking A2 milk if lactose intolerant, can reduce the amount of gastrointestinal symptoms (like bloating, distension and cramping) than A1 milk. Given that cow’s milk is such an abundant source of protein, it is worthwhile testing A2 milk out in your lactose-intolerant child to see if they can digest it more easily. I do not recommend this, however, if your child has a cow’s milk allergy, which is different to an intolerance. If you’re concerned about trying A2 milk out in your child then I would recommend doing so under the advice of your health professional.

  1. Is one healthier than the other?

As I mentioned, some studies have shown that A2 milk leads to fewer gastrointestinal symptoms in those with lactose intolerance. When the A1 protein is digested, a compound called beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7) is produced. This compound has been shown to be pro-inflammatory and can down-regulate glutathione levels in the body. Glutathione is an antioxidant in the body that reduces oxidative stress and therefore inflammation. The presence of BCM-7 in the body reduces the body’s ability to mediate inflammation. All of this to say that there are reported health benefits to choosing A2 milk over A1 milk.


About the author

Sarah Bell is a Nutritionist and healthy recipe developer. Being a mother of 3, Sarah is passionate about pediatric nutrition and turning fussy eaters into well-rounded eaters. She loves creating family-friendly recipes that are easy to make and taste delicious.
As a Nutritionist, Sarah knows the importance of gut health to our overall health and wellbeing. Because of this, she loves creating recipes using wholefood ingredients that promote good gut health and that are free from refined sugars.