A-2 Milk Really Is a Better Milk

April 08, 2024

A2 Milk is a Better Milk

It all started with an alert pediatrician in New Zealand who wondered why children from Samoa never had insulin-dependent diabetes until they immigrated to New Zealand. One of his partners conjectured, "Well, they've got brown cows and we've got black cows." A quick little study in their practice revealed that observation to be accurate.

It took a couple of years of investigation to find that black cows, Holsteins, have a casein protein sequence with a single amino acid change at position 67 on the protein leading to an indigestible, 7 amino acid fragment that is different from brown cows. It was called A-1 casein. In fact, A-1 protein is present only in black cows. All other cows in Africa, India, and brown cows in Europe have the A-2 gene. Actually, all mammals including humans have the A-2 or other casein subtypes, but not the A-1 gene.

That 7 amino acid fragment is not benign. It has the ability to bind to the morphine receptor in the gut and brain. The morphine receptor is not there for the purpose of making the cow mellow, it is part of the immune system. When you block it, you are activating the immune system. Rat studies show that newborn rats, susceptible to developing diabetes with A-1 milk, will not get diabetes if given naloxone (morphine blocker) prior to A-1 milk, thus blocking the morphine receptor. Rats aren't humans but there is some biological principle here.

It's not just diabetes. There is equal concern around mental health, schizophrenia in particular. It's been noted for decades that folks with schizophrenia do better when on a diary-free diet. There are trials underway trying to parse the issue out, but there is not big money behind it so studies are slow and small. The FDA does not permit A-2 milk to advertise that it might be better for mental health, diabetes, or schizophrenia. The only claim that can be made is for "better digestion". Well, that too is now pretty well proven.

New Zealand has taken that data with serious focus. They have bred the A-1 gene out of their cow herd completely. Australia has followed suit. Keith Wolford, the professor of dairy science and author of the book "The Devil in Milk" details all the nefarious politics around trying to hide the damaging risk of A-1 milk and the desire to maintain New Zealand's "brand" of standing for pure, clean agricultural products. The US has paid virtually no attention to the topic and the American dairy herd, predominantly Holsteins, is heavily A-1. (Not every cow is. It takes genetic testing and then some 10 years to clean a given herd of the gene)

A-2 milk has shown up on the grocery store shelf in Wisconsin in the last five years. But what about yogurt, cheese, butter, cream cheese, ice cream, and any other product with A-1 protein it it. How about milk collection systems? A milk truck picks up milk from several farms and mixes them all together. That's no good. Any given milk truck doesn't know where it is ending up at the end of the day. What cheese maker is calling for product? Hmmm,...Illinois? Collecting A-2 milk has to be clean and separate from A-1. It requires its own collection system and separate cheese-making, yogurt, and ice cream-making. That's tricky.

And that's what has changed in Wisconsin. One brave dairy farmer has stepped out and is now making A-2 cheese and has a herd of A-2 cows. Milkhaus Dairy will ship you A-2 cheese and is thinking about Ice Cream. Woo Hoo!

Where there is smoke, there is usually fire. Enough, serious scientists are on board with this for me to believe there is enough to take seriously. The huge differences in incidence of diabetes in different societies speaks to some sort of environmental influence. Holstein cows are incredible milk machines and have been adopted all over the world. As that has occurred, insulin-dependent diabetes shows up.

www.What will Work for me. I pleaded with my children to raise my grandchildren with A2 milk. That's not hard in Switzerland, where the cows are mostly "Swiss". California is an early adopting state and there are several "Brown Cow" dairys. If I had an autoimmune disease, I would avoid A1 milk. Goat milk, sheep milk, buffalo milk, donkey milk, and camel milk are all fine. It's just those pesky, efficient black cows. I did order some cheese from Milkhaus Dairy. There is no doubt that human infants benefit by good, healthy, protein. Older adults do too. Just don't mess with my immune system.

References: Frontiers Nutrition, The Devil in Milk, Nutrition Diabetes, Indian Jr Endo, Nutrients, Trials, Milkhaus Dairy, Nutrients,

Pop Quiz


1. What is A-1 milk?                             Answer: A genetic variation of the beta-casein protein at position 67 where there is a proline for histidine (two amino acids that are in all proteins and share two of the three codons. A single mutation allows the switch. The result is a 7 amino acid fragment that is indigestible and which proceeds to activate the morphine receptor. The fragment is called BCM-7 for Black Cow Milk-7. You don't want A-1 milk.

2. What kind of cows have A-1 milk?                      Answer: All black cows come from a common ancestor. The mutation is thought to have arisen some 10,000 years ago. The resultant cows may have been more mellow and easier to handle.  The penetration is only 80-90%.  Not all black cows have it.

3. How much A-1 milk is there in India or Africa?                     Answer: None. They have brown cows (A-2), buffalo (A-2) and goat milk (A-2). Recently they have been importing Holsteins, and getting diabetes to show for it.


4. Is all this science conjecture or is it proven with hard fact?                      Answer: It's a bit of fact, and a bit of pattern recognition. Hard, irrefutable facts take a lot of money and there is precious little to support this type of research.

5. If you measure the urine of autistic children, do you find more or less BCM-7 in their urine?              Answer. No fair. Not covered. But google it. Guess what you find? Yup, more BCM-7 than in normal kids.