A1 & A2 Protein Explained
Do you Remember ….. Little Miss Muffet sat on her Tuffet eating her curds and whey
Now, about that dish of curds and whey she was eating….
Curds are basically casein, a protein found in milk that coagulates or thickens in the presence of the enzyme rennet, whereas the whey is the protein in the watery bit; picture a bowl of cottage cheese.
Little Miss Muffett’s meal:
The protein in cow’s milk is about 80% casein and 20% whey, where-as in human milk it is 40% casein and 60% whey.
The casein protein in cow’s milk comes in a number of forms.
The two most common are alpha casein and beta casein. Beta casein makes up about 30% of the total casein protein in cows’ milk and may be present as either the A1 or A2 major genetic type . Most dairy milk produced commercially here in Australia and around the world contains a mixture of A1 and A2 beta casein proteins.
Now, it is these two beta casein proteins that has sparked the interest of many scientists in the last few years. Digestion is the breaking apart of these proteins into smaller building blocks (peptides and amino acids) for the body to use, and this is where the difference lies.
During digestion of the A1 beta casein, a peptide known as beta casomorphin (BCM) is produced; this appears to be absent during digestion of the A2 beta casein protein. It’s the effect of this opioid peptide on the human gut that is driving health care professionals to investigate the tolerance between different milks.
To date there are many studies and emerging research assessing the presence of the BCM peptide and subsequent gastrointestinal effects reported in some people.
Some of the reported effects include
- delayed transit time through the bowel affecting stool consistency,
- inflammation, and
- digestive discomfort including bloating, abdominal pain and flatulence.
Not everyone who consumes cow’s milk that contains A1 beta casein protein will be affected by BCM, however for fussy or unsettled little ones it may be worth trialling Infant Formula free of the A1 protein.
It’s important to remember, the benefits of A2 only protein milk are not just for those with gastrointestinal symptoms, it may simply EASE the intestinal load and therefore benefit even those with healthy guts.
Cow’s milk that only contains the A2 casein protein is now commercially available in a range of countries around the world and, luckily for us, right here in Australia. Australian ‘Farmers Beta A2’, is a range of products based on home grown Australian A2 protein milk, free of A1 beta casein.
The toddler milk drink produced by Farmers Beta A2 is based on a ratio of 40% casein and 60% whey – the same ratios as found in human breast milk – and contains many important nutrients to nourish little bodies. A single cup can provide your little one with iron for brain and cognitive function, calcium and magnesium for strong bones and teeth.
Farmers Beta A2 products have been supplemented with the important omega 3 fat, Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for proper brain and eye development and prebiotics, FOS and GOS to feed and nurture healthy bacteria to maintain a healthy gut biome.
Dairy is an important part of a healthy diet for all littlies and should include daily serves of milk, yoghurt and cheese. Toddlers aged between 1 and 3 years require 1.5 serves of dairy or alternatives per day where a serve can include 1 cup of milk, ¾ cup of yoghurt or 2 slices of cheese.
The Farmers Beta A2 Nutritional Toddler Milk is a nourishing milk drink based on only the Beta A2 casein protein which may aid in alleviating symptoms of intolerance to regular cow’s milk. There is no added sucrose or colours and preservatives. It is a wonderful addition to a healthy diet, to help fill any nutritional gaps whilst providing essential vitamins and minerals for healthy growing bodies.