Please see Lara's latest blog post about A1 and A2 milk: "The Inflammation from A1 Milk is Mind-Boggling"
Were you allergic to milk as a kid, but believe that you grew out of it? (You did not grow out of it. The symptoms just changed.)
Does every Naturopath advise you to avoid milk? (There's a reason.)
Do you suffer from acne, obesity, endometriosis, eczema, asthma, or recurring chest infections? (There may be a solution.)
What IS the problem with milk? (It's not the lactose.)
It's NOT the lactose.
It's NOT the fat. In fact, full-fat milk may be better for weight loss than low-fat (1). Dairy fat in beneficial for female hormones, and improves fertility (2).
It's the CASEIN. The protein A1 casein from cow's milk promotes inflammation and mucus congestion.(3) It causes the release of histamines and a potent neuropeptide called casomorphin. Histamine causes digestive cramps, migraines and other painful symptoms. Casomorphin has a negative impact on the brain and nervous system. It causes fatigue, depression and food bingeing.
A1 casein has also been shown to play a role in Type 1 diabetes, heart disease, autism, and autoimmune conditions such as endometriosis. (4) A1 casein promotes acne. This is why the Harvard Nurses Study, which followed 47,000 women, found that women who drink milk are more likely to have acne. Women who drink low-fat milk are even MORE likely to have acne. (Again, the problem with dairy is NOT the fat.)
A1 casein's mucus-forming characteristics make it very bad for asthma and other congestive conditions.
Who is susceptible?
Not every person has a problem with milk and A1 casein. Unfortunately, there is no definitive way to know who does have a problem. Allergy tests don't help, because it is not an allergy.
One way of knowing is medical history. Anyone with a history of recurring childhood throat, ear or chest infections is VERY likely to have had - and still have - a problem with A1 casein.
Choose a different animal
A1 casein is highest in the milk from modern breeds of cattle such as Holstein or Friesian. The casein from goat and sheep milk products is fine. So is the casein from Jersey cows. Jersey cow milk - also called A2 milk - is widely available in supermarkets. Jersey cow milk is creamy and a popular food for it's taste alone. Normal butter is fine because it contains only trace amounts of protein.
Organic or raw milk does not solve the problem.
If it's milk from a Holstein or Friesian cow, then it has A1 casein.
What about calcium?
The inflammation and histamines generated by casein impair digestion to such a degree that they effectively prevent much absorption of calcium anyway. (It's not enough for a food to CONTAIN nutrients. Those nutrients must be absorbed and assimilated.)
One could argue that for many people, the removal of cow's milk, and therefore the improvement of digestion, will result in a net GAIN of calcium absorption. Certainly, many non-milk-drinking nations have very low occurence of osteoporosis. (Osteoporosis is about much more than calcium anyway.)
Other good food sources of calcium include sheep, goat and A2 milk products. Also dark green leafy vegetables (lightly cooked), almonds, almond butter, tahini, calcium-fortified rice milk, dried figs, tinned salmon with bones. If you're really worried, take a calcium/magnesium supplement. Calcium is NOT a reason for your body to suffer the misery of milk.
Read more about the Perils of A1 milk on Lara's Blog.
Written by Lara Briden
For professional advice regarding food sensitivities and hormonal health, please make an appointment with one of our naturopaths.
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Berkey, CS et al. Milk, Dairy Fat, Dietary Calcium, and Weight Gain: A Longitudinal Study of Adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159:543-550
Chavarro JE, Rich-Edwards JW, Rosner B, Willett WC (May 2007). "A prospective study of dairy foods intake and anovulatory infertility". Human Reproduction 22 (5): 1340-7.
Bartley J. Does milk increase mucus production? Med Hypotheses.2010 Apr;74(4):732-4. Epub 2009 Nov 25.
Kamiński S. Polymorphism of bovine beta-casein and its potential effect on human health. J Appl Genet. 2007;48(3):189-98.