Ever heard of A2 milk? Those of you in the allergy and dairy intolerant community may well have come across it. It is a new type of milk created in New Zealand where the A1 milk protein has been bred out of the milk to make it safer for some people to drink and easier to digest.
That’s the general gist. There is a whole lot of science behind this milk; why, how and what it is. I’m still slightly baffled but then that’s nothing new hey? Visit the a2 milk website to find out more.
I have been approached by a2 milk to blog about the product and interview their scientists but since I have a dairy allergy which causes me anaphylaxis this product isn’t suitable for me. I would rather only feature products on here that will help you guys and this a2 milk is probably not one of them.
Here is a picture from an invitation to their latest PR event where someone famous would be there and some scientists to explain the science behind this amazing new innovative milk.
So why am I blogging about this milk?
I think it’s the confusing messaging that worries me.
What if someone who hasn’t yet managed to get allergy tests done and suspects they have a dairy allergy tries this milk?
If I’m slightly nonplussed I’m sure others who have not yet delved into the world of dairy allergy and the milk ladder will also find it somewhat bemusing.
This is what some of their blurb says:
a2 Milk™ is a cows’ milk for people with an intolerance to a protein called A1 beta casein, which is in regular cows’ milk. a2 Milk™ doesn’t contain A1 beta casein. Some people believe themselves to be lactose intolerant when it’s actually A1 beta casein that they are reacting to. Scroll down to see our flowchart which is designed to help you distinguish between the conditions.
OK so where do I start…
- a2 milk is cows milk for people with an intolerance to a protein… – First of all, it was always my understanding that an allergic reaction occurred when the body identified protein in a food as a danger and that an intolerance was when sugars in a certain food couldn’t be digested properly. So is this milk suitable for those with a lactose intolerance if it’s just the protein that’s been removed and not the sugars? If you have a lactose intolerance you lack the enzyme lactase which is needed to digest lactose. How on earth does anyone know which bit of the milk they react to? Do a2 offer a test? Do the people who buy this milk get tested before buying it? If you’re crazy enough to experiment be very careful. I wouldn’t recommend it.
- What is A1 beta casein? – apparently it’s a new mutated type of protein in cow’s milk which some people may or may not be reacting to. Sounds too vague for me and just such a confusing concept. People may be reacting to any of the many proteins in cow’s milk, of which are are more than juts 2. Whilst A1 may be the most common one to cause an allergy it’s not the only one.
- People who ‘believe’ themselves to lactose intolerant – Believe themselves to be? Lots of people really are, the don’t just believe they are. Then there are loads more people who have not done an elimination diet to ascertain whether they are truly intolerant. Perhaps they ‘believe’ themselves to be intolerant? The wording just gets me a little on edge. But we’ll move on. If this products is marketed to lactose intolerant people it would have little or no beneficial effect and would possibly make them ill in the trying. Is this wise? If however you suspect lactose intolerance but in fact have a problem with the a1 protein then you’ll be fine! How would you you know without trying it?
- What is in the milk? – it’s still just milk with one type of protein removed.
The only real way to diagnose a lactose intolerance is to do an elimination diet. Speak to your doctor to find out how to go about this, there is a science behind what to cut out, how to do it and which kinds of dairy to reintroduce and in which order.
I cannot fathom what the benefits of this milk are.
It’s not suitable for those with a cow’s milk allergy
It’s probably not suitable for people who are lactose intolerant as it still contains lactose
But if you just ‘believe’ you’re lactose intolerant then this might be for you? I’d still be wary.
But seriously fit hunky men pour it down themselves and Dannii Minogue loves it so who am I argue?
Be warned though, this is just milk. It contains milk protein and lactose so could very well make those with a milk allergy and lactose intolerance ill. Treat it like you would any other milk and stick to the completely safe and not baffling rice, oat, coconut, hemp, flax and other plant milks.
If you can drink normal milk then you might love it. You might feel much healthier and have less tummy trouble. Who knows. It costs about £1 in Waitrose if you fancy a punt.
I’m not the only one who is concerned. Here are some blogs from others:
For more on the science behind why it may or may not work, read “a2 milk, what’s all the fuss about?“
Dairy free Baby and me blogged about this, “Is A2 milk suitable for someone with a milk allergy or milk intolerance?”
On the plus side – people who find a2 milk beneficial
There are those who are strong advocates of a2 milk, including a blogger friend who is drinking it for 4 weeks to see if it eases her IBS symptoms. Read “My 4 week a2 challenge” here and you’ll hear how quickly Nathalie’s irritable bowel improved in just one week of substituting normal dairy milk for a2 milk.
Drink a2 milk to ease irritable bowels?
Would slightly more helpful marketing for this product be to talk about digestion, irritable bowel etc. rather than allergies and intolerance? This does make sense to me and it’s clear it is already helping some people who drink it. It’s just the fear of allergic reactions that worries me if mistakes are made with this product. The makers of a2 milk make it clear it’s not suitable for anyone with a cow’s milk protein allergy but is the branding clear enough? I’m being picky here but is an intolerance caused by sugars or protein or both?
Do you drink it? Does it work for you? I’d love to hear from anyone who has tried it. Have you had an allergic reaction to it?
So why does a2 milk give me nightmares? Because one day someone may unwittingly serve this to a person with a dairy allergy and it might just be me. It might be you. It might be your mum, or nan, or friend who sees the marketing and thinks, hey my friend is lactose intolerant, she can drink this.
It looks just like any other milk… so please be careful and err on the side of extreme caution if you’re thinking of trying it.