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.
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…”
Read the whole story here on Mercola (may require free signup).
See previous Bovine stories on the A1 A2 question:
Dairy Science as if people mattered
Insights on Pasteurization Effects from “Devil in the Milk”
Dr. Thomas Cowan on the A1 A2 factor
A1 Beta Casein implicated in Autism and Schizophrenia
These are just a few. To see the whole list, enter A1 A2 in the search box toward the top right of this page.
44 responses to “Mercola advocates raw milk, discusses A1 A2 beta casein in connection with autism, diabetes, heart disease, etc.”
I have a small grassfed Jersey Raw milk creamery and am fascinated by the A1 vs A2 theory and am liable to agree that it is correct except that we have living proof that despite a healthy diet full of raw milk from old fashioned Jersey cows, type 1 diabetes and I’m sure other afflictions as well, are still a possibility. Our 4th child out of 5, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 18 months old, even though she has never had pasteurised milk and was born on our organic farm where I have had only raw Jersey milk from 3 years proceeding her birth. We have no family history of type 1 diabetes, it is still a mystery where this came from. She has always been exceptionally healthy both before diagnosis and even now. You would have no idea……. I’d love to have my cows tested when it becomes available again but feel sure they are A2 because I sought all my cows out because of small stature, good foraging, stockier frames, and high butterfat content. I’d love to hear what Dr. Cowan and Mercola think about that. I enjoy your blog and refer my creamery and raw milk customers to it near daily.
The fact that your child got Type 1 diabetes doesn’t necessarily have anything whatsoever to do with milk. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system is extremely complex in and of itself let alone in its interaction with environmental factors. It’s possible your daughter had some kind of mild infection you didn’t even notice but that the immune defense her body launched against the infection cross reacted with antigenic determinants on her insulin-producing cells in the pancreas wiping them out and thus giving her Type 1 diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes the body’s immune system mistakes the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign (non-self) and wipes them out. The etiology of Type 2 diabetes is so different it’s a whole other beast.
The concerns over A1 milk are quite valid. I hope that eventually, sooner rather than later, everyone will know and understand the A1/A2 milk issue. When this happens no one will want to drink A1 milk.
The way Fonterra handled the A1/A2 milk issue is an utter disgrace and scandal. I gather diary farmers here in New Zealand are quietly breeding their cattle to be homozygous for the A2 allele of beta casein. Certainly that is exactly what I would be doing if I were a dairy farmer. Fonterra once claimed it would be difficult to do this. What utter nonsense! All you have to do is test the cattle so you can select against the mutant A1 allele. It’s as simple as that.
(Eugenie L Harris, PhD)
My daughter was breast fed until four years old and then raised on raw milk. She became type-1 diabetic at age of 10. Her Endocrinologist told us raw milk is detramentail to her as her weakened immune system is suseptable to even the slightest bad bacteria in raw milk. With fear of E.coli, we haven’t given her raw milk in 14 months (since diagnosis). What are your thoughts on this issue?
Robin, I don’t feel qualified to advise you on this situation. Not to say that there’s no one who could help, but I can’t recommend anyone just offhand.
Just a thought here. My 17 month old grandson was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and had only been breast fed. My niece’s child had convulsions and was partailly paralyzed for months, and at 1 yr is finally getting some movement in his legs. Cause? New adjuvants in childhood vaccines and/or many more vaccines being administered at one time at a younger age. It took almost losing that baby to convince the pediatrition and cause research to be done.
It most likely is from vaccinations. I have done extensive research on vaccines and the dangers they pose to children, when done according to the current standards. For instance, recently it has come out that vaccinating a new born baby with the Hep B vaccine is linked to SIDS and many other ailments. My own children are fully vaccinated, but I did it very slowly…insisted on “breaking” up the vaccines and started the regimen at 12 months of age. Many vaccines are being linked to type 1 diabetes. I highly doubt it was from milk. That is far less likely.
Also, diabetes can be an adverse reaction to vaccination shots. Just google “diabetes and vaccination” to bring up the many brave doctors who have researched this.
Hi Jessika, I am also from the Channel Islands (Guernsey) and have been trying to find where I can get un-pasteurised milk, as I used to drink this as a child from my Gran’s farm in Guernsey. Do you know any dairy farmers in Guernsey that would sell me some?
As I understand it, Jerseys are not necessarily totally A2, although they may be more A2 than A1 on the whole. Animals need to be tested individually to establish their status vis a vis A1 or A2.
A2 Corporation in New Zealand is, as far as I know, the only source for such testing. And I believe they can test from a tail hair.
After doing a litte research on this whole “A1 vs A2” controvery I came the conclusion that this is most likely is another “Blood Type Diet” scheme. I am skeptical about A2 milk because it has become a commercial venture (“A2 Corporation”) with research paid for by the organization promoting it. Is this a marketing ploy by a large corporation or is A2 milk a genuine disease-preventive beverage? Most of the reported research involves statistical information that has been used to prove the value of A2 milk.
“Correlation does not imply causation” is a phrase used in science and statistics to emphasize that correlation between two variables does not automatically imply that one causes the other (though it does not remove the fact that correlation can still be a hint, whether powerful or otherwise.
A2 Corporation is a for-profit corporation selling proprietary testing for cows & a trademarked brand of milk. This should send up a red flag.
Directly from the A2 Corporation website: “The potential advantages of a2 milk™ were first identified through epidemiological studies which showed that in countries where the dairy herds produced a higher proportion of the A2 protein in their milk, there was a significantly lower incidence of childhood diabetes and coronary heart disease. It was recognized that this statistical correlation was not, in itself, proof of a beneficial effect of the A2 beta casein in relation to disease, but the link appeared so strong that the findings have triggered further study and review.”
Although still in its developmental phase, A2 Corporation is sustained by the results of ongoing research by scientific teams worldwide, as well as by remarkable anecdotal reports from consumers
that support the beliefs from which a2 Milk™ arose.
Listed on the alternative market (NZAX) of the New Zealand Exchange, the company owns and licenses a suite of intellectual property that relates to the identification of cattle and the production and subsequent marketing of a2 Milk™ and related products. The company has entered into business and licensing partnerships to bring a2 Milk™ to the market in New Zealand, Australia, Korea and the United States, and is negotiating arrangements in other markets.
Is A2 superior to A1 milk?. Are Holstein (a.k.a. Friesian) cows inferior to Guernsey cows?
Further studies are a problem because the industry is the main funding source for those sorts of things, and since the dairy industry is overwhelmingly dominated by the Holstein cow, which supposedly makes mostly A1 milk, there would be no industry interest in funding such research. No one else with interest in it has the money to do much research.
I have heard that many American breeders of Guernsey cows, which the A2 people say make mostly A2 milk, are routinely testing their herds for this and favoring it in breeding decisions, but they aren’t making public noise about it yet (perhaps to avoid angering the industry at large).
Here is some research found (One showing correlation, two showing NO correlation, and two uncertain):
THIS STUDY SUGGESTS THERE’S A CORRELATION…
A casein variant in cow’s milk is atherogenic.
THESE STUDIES SUGGEST THERE IS NOT…
A comparison of the effects of A1 and A2 beta-casein protein variants on blood cholesterol concentrations in New Zealand adults.
The A2 milk case: a critical review.
THESE STUDIES SUGGEST THE JURY IS STILL OUT…
Health implications of milk containing beta-casein with the A2 genetic variant.
Beta-casein variants and atherosclerosis-claims are premature.
I’m no fan of bureaucratic organizations whose decisions are based on corporate greed rather than public need, but the recent FSA review of the research is interesting: http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/a2-milk-backers-unfazed-government-announcement-104456
Switch to A2 milk on hold:
Joe, I suggest you have a look at the research quoted in the “Devil in the Milk” book.
Sure there’s an A2 corporation, but my impression is not that they’re engineering the study results.
Gordon Watson’s recent correspondence with the A2 Corporation:
“attached is a message I got not long ago, from the A2 Corporation in New Zealand
also : I have a couple of Guernseys which are the start of my all-Guernsey herd.
I have been in communication with Guernsey Canada. Even though they don’t come on strong about A1 versus A2 milk, their policy is that all pedigreed Guernsey bulls now being used for Artificial Insemination in Canada, have been selected to sire progeny with A2 genetics
Gordon S Watson
Please advise me where we can get our cattle tested to determine their genetics for the A1 and A2 traits
I have heard a rumour that Texas A & M University offers this test … is that so?
Gordon S Watson
Burnaby British Columbia Canada
Dear Mr Watson,
Texas A&M have no agreement to with A2 Corporation to provide any services relating to A2 technology.
Currently there are no certified/licensed A2 testers in North America, but we are working to put one in place shortly.
Please provide me with further details relating to your testing and/or provide me with a contact number to get hold of you.
Andrew J Clarke
A2 Corporation Ltd.
Level 5, 235 Broadway
Newmarket, Auckland 1023
Telephone +64 9 5233129
DDI +64 9 5234793
Cell +64 21 672 521
Here’s the same story on Dr. Mercola’s blog (may not require registration and sign-in like his main site does):
Judging by this comment on the Complete Patient blog it looks like Mark McAfee hasn’t been able to get his milk tested by the A2 corporation:
“A-1 vs. A-2 Milk and the Book..”The Devil in the Milk”.
The Book should have been called ” The Devil in the Dead Milk”. It is very unfortunate that the author did not research the A-2 Corporation more carefully before dumping this concept on the World Stage.
Dr. Tom Cowan and I had a long talk about A-2 milk earlier this year. He was concerned that his discussion of A-2 milk would become an issue at OPDC.
Well it has.
At OPDC we have tried for three years to get the A-2 Corporation to test our milk. They were not interested three years ago or last year. Now they are out of business and will not permit access to their patented A-2 Test.
So we are screwed!! You can not test for A-2 genetics with the patented test locked up and now everyone is reading a book about how critical it is….
I have been working with a Lab in EU that says that they can do a test to verify A-2 genetics but this is very expensive and the lab is very new to this test. We will see how this goes…but for now A-2 testing is a wishful thought that literally can not be done.
One more thing…A-2 company was all about pastuerized A-2 milk. Not sure how vital and alive that product was or is. A-2 or A-1… I will take my grass fed organic milk raw….thank you very much.
Dead milk whether it is A-2 or A-1 is still dead milk. As for A-2 raw milk that is a pioneering proposition and OPDC is working hard to get this done.
CP…I am still waiting for your thoughts on your ( now my ) proposed Kefir, Raw Milk and Pastuerized milk pathogen recovery test. Are you interested in participating?
Please let me know your ideas….I am still waiting. I really want this test to a cooperative effort. You made the suggestiong and I followed up.Yet you do not respond.
from this Complete Patient post:
Further findings on the status of A2 Corporation:
My email to Andrew Clarke:
Sent: Tuesday, 14 July 2009 1:55 a.m.
To: Andrew Clarke
Subject: A2 Corp out of business?
I’m reading comments from Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy in
California saying that the A2 Corporation is out of business and won’t
permit access to their patented A2 test.
Yet, it sounds like Gordon Watson of British Columbia was recently in
correspondence with you and you told him that A2 corporation was going
to authorize someone to do tests in North America. Is the A2
corporation still in business? And I see the website of the A2
corporation is still up.
As editor of the Bovine blog, I’ve published a number of stories on A2
milk and I’d appreciate it if you could clarify for me the status of
the A2 corporation and tell me how people in North America could get
their milk or animals tested, so I could publish that information.
We’re in the process of talking to a few groups in the US to license a
certified A2 tester.
Owing to the Company’s recent restructure we [don’t] expect to finalise this
until the Chief Executive comes aboard at the end of next month. Please
follow these links for the last two press releases relating to A2C to
get a background on this.
Until then people can lodge their request/interest with us
firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get in touch to make appropriate
A further response from Andrew:
Apologies, I was working through my emails and sent through my reply
before reading this.
As you’ll see from my previous email Mr McAfee’s assertions aren’t
accurate and we are still very much in business!
I’m now looking through the book “Devil in the Milk” (my local library had a copy) and I must say I’m not convinced because not one of the studies cited has been conclusive or peer reviewed. Excuses are made for this (reasonably goods ones at times I have to agree), however, in the end “so-far” I’m left with more questions than answers.
Am I concerned they could be right? Heck yes! Concerned enough to quit my current herd-share Amish milk in favor of another Amish farmer that provides raw goats milk? Possibly.
There’s just so much controversy involving the motives of both “powers that be”. On the one hand you have the vested interested of the “A2 shareholders” and the other the interests of the “established A1 parties”.
I watched this news report today called “White Mischief”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhKjzWKZiWQ&feature=related
Here’s a report from “The Medical Journal of Australia” citing A2 milk is allergenic: http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/181_10_151104/letters_151104-1.html
And another from PubMed called “The A2 milk case: a critical review.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15867940?dopt=Abstract
Raw cows milk has made me healthier since I started drinking it many years ago. My concern is are my “feelings of health and wellbeing” masking a potential problem developing in my body?
Maybe switching over to goats milk is the safest bet. I just don’t know and may never know. This whole thing may be the result of some other protein or after all the A1 cows are breeded out someone finds a problem with the A2 cows that might explain problems our ancestors had to deal with thousands of years ago…or determines the whole “A1/A2” controversy was a waste of time.
I have sent off an Email to Andrew at the A-2 Corp. I am hoping that he responds and can give me an idea of where A-2 Corp can get our testing performed.
I have been missquoted. When I was contacted by the North American A-2 rep earlier this year….he said the that the North American A-2 company was out of business. I never said that the NZ A-2 was out of business. Either way…testing is not available in North America.
I am still very reluctant to place my bets on anything that has been pastuerized. All A-2 milk that has been commercially sold has been a pastuerized product. Proteins look like a car wreck after being heated to high temp. That effect could be as damaging or more so than any A-2 effect.
We are way early in any dicussion of a conclusive A-2 finding of a connection to disease. We are much much closer to a finding that grain fed pastuerized CAFO milk is dangerous. Raw milk from grass fed cows has been found to be healing and curative across the board.
I still would like to get our cows tested and I am looking forward to an email response from NZ A-2 and we will see what we can do then.
Thanks for straightening out that misquote, Mark!
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Can anyone tell me where I can purchase A-2 milk?
A2 milk, labeled as such, may only be available in New Zealand, as of yet. Maybe also Australia.
Does anyone know of other places where it is available?
Otherwise the only indicator we might have is the breed of cows.
Holsteins (black and white) are typically A1
Guernseys (light brown and white) are typically A2
There is another company doing A2 testing, but it might be a nuisance to get the forms required for shipping animal bits overseas. http://www.genomnz.co.nz/ I understand it’s $15 per cow. However, you can do it locally via EAV devices such as the Biomeridian or QXCI or other brand names. The owner will be puzzled that you don’t want to be “fixed” for the milk samples you bring in (rather like being “fixed” for arsenic as it apparently doesn’t hold) but want to know only whether they are good or bad for you or your chosen test subject. You want someone who has trouble with dairy to be in the test circuit. It seems the easiest way to find these machines is to look under “homeopathy”, but sometimes health food stores or chiropractors know of them or own them. “A2 milk” is trademarked, and I wouldn’t tempt the powers that be by putting “hypoallergenic” on labels, but word of mouth should be sufficient advertising. Incidentally, the people who own the machines are so intrigued by the idea of cow milk that doesn’t set off the machine, that you should be sure to leave them a nice sample for permanent use in testing. They will send you all kinds of customers who would otherwise be bemoaning having to give up all dairy products.
In reply to comments above Genomnz tests A2 samples from around the world and can supply import permits on request. For further details please contact us.
I have noticed that I get an allergic type response when I drink organic raw milk from holsteins that are mainly grass-fed, the remainder is corn and some soy. This milk is very white and not very creamy. On the other hand, when I drink raw milk from grass-fed Jersey cows I don’t get that allergic response. These are strictly grass-fed and their milk is yellow and very creamy and the flavor is out of this world compared to the other. I just feel like the Jersey milk is benefiting my body and I don’t get that with the Holstein milk. I have been looking for raw milk from Guernsey cows, but that has been more of a challenge for me in my area. I do think there is definitely something to this a1, a2 controversy. People owe it to their health to give this information a deeper look.
I am wondering why Dr. Mercola is almost always called “Mercola” on this page. Do you call all doctors by their last name, only? If so, fine. If, on the other hand, you doubt Dr. Mercola’s credentials you might want to check out his page:
There, along with other useful info, you can view his medical license.
Also, I have read quite a bit of Dr. Mercola’s views on raw milk but don’t recall him saying that it is impossible for someone to develop Type I diabetes. Just less likely. Obviously, this is a subject that would have to be researched extensively to know more exactly what the situation truly is.
Please do something to counter this website: they dare to take on raw milk:
The enzymes in raw milk products HELPED MY ASTHMA!!!
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please email me. some fact on which breeds of cows have A1! and which A2
For all those interested in this topic: I will be interviewing Professor Woodford on my radio program, Ethan Bearman’s Smoke-Filled World, Sunday, April 29, 2012 from 6 to 8 p.m. Pacific time on KSCO AM 1080 from Santa Cruz, California. You can stream online at http://KSCO.smrn.com:9000
I’ll post a link for an archive later for those who miss it.
Why pasteurisation is not banned then?
As promised, here is the link to the podcast of the interview with Professor Woodford – http://goo.gl/0DSXm
Most people are unaware that back in the days of “local neighborhood breweries” many cities had lots of CAFO style dairies that were right next to those breweries and that they fed their cows the cooked barley mash. The conditions were disgustingly filthy and there were lots of people that became ill from the unpasteurized milk from those “dairies.” It is important to understand that it was the conditions of those “milk factories” that was the problem and not the milk itself. That is why the pasteurization laws were passed to begin with and yes it was also political. I grew up drinking raw milk from pastured cows. It wasn’t until recent years after a couple of decades of drinking commercial homogenized dead milk that I began to notice changes in the quality of my health. I have gone back to raw milk and have been slowly recovering from what I call “poisoning by fake milk.”
I prefer common sense, history, and biblical history over science to determine truth from fiction. Think about it: were people dying and getting sick from milk (which was raw!) for the thousands of years before pasteurization was “discovered?” Did God promise a land “flowing with milk and honey” as a reward or a curse? A land flowing with milk and honey was a reward! Didn’t people drink milk for thousands of years pre-pasteurization, or didn’t they? Why would they drink it if it made them sick????? Trying to determine if people get diabetes or any other disease simply based on the one factor of what kind of milk they drink isn’t logical.
What I’d like to know is this: Most dairy farmers use a suction thingy to draw the milk from the cows. The milk goes through lines to a holding tank. Do the farmers take the time to clean the udders first and then express a little milk from each tit to cleanse the passage prior to the suction being applied? I would think this would be important. I used to know a lady who would give me raw goat’s milk who would first wash the udders, express a little milk first then collect the milk. Being raw, I wouldn’t want to be expressing milk from dirty cow udders.
Dairy farmers wash the udders of their cows before attaching the milking device. I might suggest that you consider that in the wild cattle do not wash their udders before feeding their offspring. Raw Milk is loaded with beneficial bacteria that protect the young animals from infection. The same is true with all other ruminants as well as all mammals. The preoccupation with sterility is a result of unending propaganda perpetrated by the alphabet soup of government health agencies. The more you comply with this sterility the less exercise you provide for your immune system. Your immune system needs to be exercised to keep it strong. I am not advocating that you consume Raw Milk contaminated with feces but just making you aware that your fear of contamination from unclean udders is misplaced. Most often Milk that becomes contaminated rendering it unsafe for consumption occurs within the dairy itself and almost always in the processing equipment and has nothing to do with “dirty udders.” Most “less developed” societies that milk cows by hand wash the udders by first taking some milk from the cow and then washing her udder with that milk. Bad science has been leading consumers away from the truth. Healthy cows produce healthy safe milk and the same is true for goats as well.
MagicDave, thanks so much for your great post. I fully agree. I NEVER EVER use hand sanitizers, not even in public restrooms, just hot water until I get home to use NORMAL soap.
You are so right. People have been brainwashed that they have to do everything to kill bacteria (Lysol indoctrination) etc.
I didn’t know dairy farmers clean the udders first. Good to know.
I imagine they use hot, soapy water to clean the processing equipment after each use?
Personally I would choose a solution of Thyme Oil and water for disinfecting my equipment and use care that no hair got in the milk from the goats. It is prudent to wash the teats and always strip them before milking. I can only speak from the experiences personally witnessed. I grew up in dairy country and spent many summers with the milking routine as a youngster.
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