Mercola advocates raw milk, discusses A1 A2 beta casein in connection with autism, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
Readers have drawn my attention to the fact that Mercola is quoting the Bovine as a source for his recent story on A1 and A2 milk. Mercola gets most of the idea about how A1 milk is implicated in increased incidence of diseases such as diabetes and autism, and A2 is not. A2 is typically associated with older breeds such as the Guernsey, Asian and African breeds, as well as goats and sheep. Most Holsteins are primarily A1. And of course, the Holstein is by far the most popular breed in North America.
How now, brown cow? Holstein (left) is typically A1, while Guernsey (right) is typically A2. Seemingly minor mutations of the beta-casein molecule translate into significant effects on human health.
However Mercola does miss one key point, which is that even Holsteins can be bred to be A2, although it typically takes 10 years of concerted effort to convert a herd to A2 by selective breeding. And of course that’s possible only if you know the A1 A2 status of the bulls you’re breeding with — information that’s commonly made available in New Zealand but, to my knowledge, not in many other places.
Still, it’s important that Mercola is taking an interest in the A1 A2 issue and drawing people’s attention to Keith Woodford’s book “Devil in the Milk”. Here’s a bit of what he says in his report:
“As many of you know, I do not recommend drinking pasteurized milk of any kind because the pasteurization process, which entails heating the milk to a temperature of 145 degrees to 150 degrees F and keeping it there for at least half an hour, completely changes the structure of the milk proteins into something far less than healthy.
Pasteurized cow’s milk is the number one allergic food in the United States. It has been associated with a number of symptoms and illnesses including:
§ Diarrhea, cramps, bloating and gas
§ Heart disease
§ Recurrent ear infections and colic in infants and children
§ Type 1 diabetes
§ Rheumatoid arthritis
The healthy alternative to pasteurized milk is raw milk, which is an outstanding source of nutrients including beneficial bacteria such as lactobacillus acidolphilus, vitamins and enzymes, and it is, in my estimation, one of the finest sources of calcium available.
Raw milk is generally not associated with any of the above health problems, and even people who have been allergic to pasteurized milk for many years can typically tolerate and even thrive on raw milk.
Yet, there are those people who still have trouble drinking raw milk, and like Dr. Thomas Cowan, I have wondered if there could be a missing piece to the puzzle.
That piece, it turns out, may very well be related to the type of cow your milk comes from.
A1 Vs. A2 Cows: What’s the Difference?
The type of proteins in milk, and the proportion of various proteins, varies depending on the breed of cow and the type of animal (sheep, goat, cow, etc.).
One of the major proteins in cow’s milk is casein, the predominant variety of which is called beta-casein. In older breeds of cows, such as Jersey, Asian and African cows (called A2 cows), the beta-casein contains an amino acid called proline.
In newer breeds of cows like Holstein (A1 cows), however, the proline has mutated into an amino acid called histidine.
This is important because beta-casein also contains an amino acid called BCM-7, which is a powerful opiate linked to negative health effects. Well, the proline that exists in A2 cows has a strong bond to BCM-7, which helps keep it out of the cows’ milk. The histidine in the newer A1 cows, however, has a weak hold on BCM-7, which allows it to get into the milk, and also into the people who drink the milk.
So the theory goes that by drinking milk from A1 cows, which are the predominant cows used for dairy products in the United States, you’re exposed to BCM-7, which has been linked to:
§ Neurological impairment, including autistic and schizophrenic changes
§ Type 1 diabetes
§ An impaired immune response
§ Autoimmune disease
§ Heart disease…”
See previous Bovine stories on the A1 A2 question: