Opinions & Experiences

A1 versus A2 Milk

Woman milking a cow, 1921

I spent the weekend with a short lived flu bug as did every member of my family. So my sleep patterns are now completely off. Which means I was awake most of the night. Although I hate how I feel in the morning, this is when I do my best research.  Last night I decided to delve into everything I could find about A2 milk.

There are 2 different kinds of  cow milk, A1 and A2. Some breeds have a higher chance of having one or the other. Some have both. There is no way of knowing for sure without genetic testing.

Here’s the science:

A2 milk is the original protein milk. A1 milk is a mutation. Both carry a protein called Beta Casein. There are 2 different types of Beta Casein and they are identical except for one amino acid. This one amino acid is apparently where all the concern is coming from.

  • A1 milk carries the amino acid histadine. This amino acid allows a peptide called betacasamorphon 7 (BCM7) to enter the milk. It is an opioid and much like morphine.
  • A2 milk’s amino acid proline prevents the BCM7 from ever entering the milk.

According to the research I found, this morphine like peptide in the system has been linked to type 1 diabetes, digestive disorders, heart disease and possibly more. When BCM7 passes into the blood stream and brain it can cause symptoms of schizophrenia, autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

My Concern:

The majority of the research I found was paid for by a company in New Zealand called A2 who has patented the rights to the genetic testing and is selling their milk called A2. When profit is on the line I always question the validity of such research.

I read several stories of people who claim it has made a difference.  Many, many people believe A2 milk helped with symptoms from allergies to autism. Of course belief is a powerful tool and if you tell someone one it helps, it often will. 

My belief:

There isn’t enough independent research for me to feel strongly about it either way. I do believe that most likely A2 milk is just healthier.

What you can do:

Put the odds in your favor by choosing a Guernsey breed. They have the highest chance of having A2 milk. Jerseys are high on the list as well. Next are Brown Swiss, Milking Shorthorn, Ayrshire and sometimes Dexters. Every other breed will most likely be A1.

Drink goat or sheep’s milk. It is always A2.

Get your cow tested. It seems the patent must have ended because there are genetic testing facilities in Michigan and California that will test for the amino acid.



Keep your digestive tract healthy. There is some research that a healthy gut will keep the BCM7 out of your system.

To sum up, if you are drinking fresh milk from a healthy cow, you are still getting something that far exceeds anything you can buy in the stores. Love your cow and pat yourself on the back for giving this gift to you and your family.


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