A1 and A2 Beta-Casein Proteins - Which Is Healthier [Full Analysis] Shahji Ghee

A1 and A2 Beta-Casein Proteins - Which Is Healthier [Full Analysis]

People always need clarification on the terms A1 and A2 beta-casein protein of milk. So, they always ask what is A1, and A2 protein. In this article, we will discuss the question of what is A1 and A2 protein in milk, its difference, benefits, and will discuss some potentially harmful side effects of A1 and A2 protein.

So, let’s get started. 

Protein In Milk

Milk is a wholesome food. It is a good source of protein. It contains 8 (g) of protein per 8 ounces (oz) of milk. Milk mostly includes two significant types of protein i.e. casein and whey. Casein makes up 80% of the milk protein. There are different types of casein the most common casein protein is beta-casein protein. 

Milk is a valuable protein source, with 8 grams of protein in an 8-ounce glass. The main proteins in milk are casein and whey. Casein makes up approximately 80% of the milk's protein content. There are different types of casein, including beta-casein.

In cow milk, approximately 30% of the protein is made up of beta-casein. There are two types of beta-casein proteins one is A1 beta-casein and the second is A2 beta-casein protein. In the early times, cows only produced milk that contained the A2 variant of beta-casein, but in recent times, the majority of milk found at the dairy points are A1 variant of beta-casein.

Origin Of A1 And A2 Protein 

Cow milk has a protein called beta-casein that comes in two variants: A1 and A2. These variants differ by only one amino acid at position 67 of the protein chain. Specifically, A1 beta-casein has histidine in that position, while A2 beta-casein has proline.

This small difference in amino acids leads to different protein breakdowns during digestion. A1 beta-casein can break down into a peptide known as beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7), which has been linked to opioid-like effects and certain health issues.

On the other hand, A2 beta-casein doesn't degrade into BCM-7 and is believed to be easier to digest and less likely to cause problems.

Difference Between A1 And A2 Protein

A1 and A2 differ by the placement of an amino acid at the 67th position of the protein chain. If histidine is placed at the 67th position of the protein chain then this beta-casein is said to be A1 beta-casein protein and if proline is attached to the 67th position of the protein chain then this beta-casein is said to be A2 beta-casein protein.  Here is the basic difference between A1 and A2. 

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A1 protein 

A2 protein

Histidine is attached at the 67th position of the protein chain

Proline is attached at the 67th position of the protein chain

Digestion forms a peptide called Casomorphin-7 (BCM-7)

Digestion does not form BCM-7

Release of BCM-7 causes the morphine-like effects that make milk addiction

Consumption does not cause morphine-like effects  

Long-term consumption can lead to various health issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhoea, type-1 diabetes, and arteriosclerosis

No major health issues observed 

 

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Harmful Effects Of Consuming A1 Protein Milk

Due to the production of BCM-7 after the breakdown of A1 beta-casein protein. It creates some health issues. Here are some harmful effects of consuming A1 protein-containing milk.

1. Milk addiction

Milk addiction is one of the major effects seen in individuals who often consume A1 milk. The digestion of A1 protein leads to the production of BCM-7. This BCM-7 leads to morphine-like effects on the central nervous system. Due to this morphine, individuals become addicted to milk and hence prefer to consume milk all day.

2. Cognitive disorders

The person who consumes A1 milk on a regular basis, it is seen that they lack mental focus, clarity, thinking ability, and information processing. It is seen that a person is having difficulty learning new things due to the presence of the morphine-like effect.

3. Allergic reactions

Histidine at 67th position which is released to form histamine. This histamine can lead to allergic reactions. As a result, a person tends to develop allergic dermatitis (allergy to the skin), allergic rhinitis (running nose) allergic cough, and asthma.

4. Risk of obesity and diabetes

Lactose intolerance is high and lipid and carbohydrate metabolism can be affected in children consuming A1 milk, leading to increased long-term risks of obesity and diabetes.

5. Low Immunity

Fat and carbohydrates present in A1 milk promote the growth of harmful bacteria in the human gut, which can lead to weakened immune systems.

6. Cardiovascular diseases

Studies have shown that consuming A1 protein-rich milk can lead to a rise in bad cholesterol and can cause various heart-related issues.

7. Sudden infant death syndrome

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the common cause of death in many infants under the age of 12 months old. It is a sudden and unexpected death, and the cause is often unknown. Recent studies have suggested that BCM-7, a protein found in cow's milk, maybe a contributing factor in some cases of SIDS. Infants who experience sleep apnea, a temporary cessation of breathing during sleep, have been found to have high levels of BCM-7 in their blood.

As sleep apnea is associated with a higher risk of SIDS, it is possible that some infants may be sensitive to A1 beta-casein, which is found in cow's milk. However, further research is needed before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.

    Benefits Of Consuming A2 Protein Milk 

    Here are some important benefits of consuming A2 protein milk. 

    1. Easy to digest

    Digestion of A2 milk does not form any peptide such as BCM-7. The presence of BCM-7 can give you unpleasant symptoms such as stomach upset, diarrhoea, constipation, etc. The absence of BCM-7 peptide in the breakdown of A2 milk keeps your stomach comfortable and does not cause any digestion issues.

    2. Similar to human mother milk

    A2 milk is rich in nutrients and colostrum, containing about 90 active components that provide the same nourishment as mother's milk necessary for child growth. So, you can give A2 milk to children from 1 year or later. 

    3. Enhance brain power

    A2 milk cerebrosides, help to enhance mental clarity, focus, thinking ability, and cognitive actions, increase your memory retention, and overall enhance your brain power.

    4. Prevent chronic diseases

    A2 milk is rich in nutrients and can help prevent various diseases like migraines, asthma, joint pain, thyroid issues, acidity, and cancer by fulfilling nutrient deficiencies in the body.  

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      Risk of consuming A2 milk

      Although A2 milk has numerous health benefits over A1 milk, it still contains lactose and milk protein which can be problematic for individuals with lactose intolerance, galactosemia, or milk allergies.

      Those who follow a vegan or Paleo diet, or seek to improve skin conditions by avoiding milk, should also avoid A2 milk. It is important to note that A2 milk should be treated like any other regular milk in these cases.

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      Conclusion

      Milk is a very important daily food. Approximately, 80% of the milk protein is made up of casein. There are different types of casein found in milk, one of the most abundant casein found in milk is beta-casein protein. It makes almost 30% of the milk protein. There are two types of beta-casein viz. A1 beta-casein protein and A2 beta-casein protein. 

      A1 beta-casein (Due to histidine at the 67th position of the protein chain) is associated with many health issues and A2 beta-casein protein (Due to proline at the 67th position of the protein chain) is considered safe for consumption. Before incorporating any milk into your diet, seek advice from a healthcare professional.

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      References: 

      https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318577#Milk-alternatives

      https://www.deccanherald.com/lifestyle/which-milk-is-better-a1-or-a2-744030.html

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3475924/

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