Milk Mutation: It’s All About Cow Genetics!

Milk Mutation: It’s All About Cow Genetics!

The information will give you an understanding of the actual science behind the desi cow A2 milk.

The dairy industry is now slowly moving towards the concept of “Back to Basics” after realizing the proven medicinal properties of milk and neglecting the native breeds of cows. The whole facade started with the shift in mindset and affinity towards organic food and its health benefits. The importance of A2 milk was discovered by a New Zealand-based A2 Milk Company, founded in 2000. Since then, some leading Indian milk companies have been selling A2 milk. Not many of us are aware of the two types of milk – A1 and A2. The difference in the quality of milk is based on the genetic difference of the breeds of cows. Earlier all cows used to produce A2 milk until the genetic mutation (alteration in genes) in European breeds changed the genetics of milk-producing cow herds. Today, most of the milk that we consume is of A1 variety.

Myths & Misconceptions
When it comes to the quality and genetic composition of milk, A2 protein milk has definitely been proven superior to A1 protein milk. It is a common mistake to evaluate the quality of milk-based on its fat content in spite of the breed of the cow that matters a lot.

The Science Behind Milk
Milk is the primary source of protein and calcium in every household in India. Milk comprises of 87-88% water and 12-13% solid which includes lactose or sugar/ fats/ protein/ minerals. Whey and casein are the major two proteins found in milk. Approximately 80% of milk protein is casein and 30-35% beta-casein. Beta-casein is further broken into A1 and A2. On digestion, A1 beta-casein releases beta-casomorphin7 (BCM-7), which the human body cannot absorb well. This leads to bloating and discomfort, harms our immune system, causes type 1 diabetes, heart diseases, and other health issues. On the other hand, milk with A2 beta-casein (also found in human milk), when consumed, produces amino acid (proline), which prevents the formation of BCM-7. This milk type helps in digestion, tastes better (natural sweetness), contains Omega 2 fatty acids, increases HDL (good cholesterol), and vitamin A which help boost immunity.

A2 cows produce this protein in their milk along with an amino acid called Proline. In the new hybrid breeds, the proline amino acid has converted into Histidine due to the alteration of genes over the years. Proline is strongly bonded to a small protein called BCM 7, which prevents it from getting into the milk produced by A2 cows. On the other hand, Histidine holds a weak bond with BCM 7, so it is easily released in the GI tract of animals and can enter the human body on the consumption of milk from A1 cows and interact with the digestive system and internal organs.

Comparison of Milk
In the book, “Devil in the Milk” by Keith Woodford, he explains that all human beta-casein is more like the A2 type rather than the A1 type which means that human milk releases much less BCM7.

Blessing or a Curse
In the 1960s, the government of India started propagating foreign breed cows to meet the increasing demand for milk. With 22 native breeds of indigenous cows extinct, India still has around 37 pure cattle breeds like Sahiwal, Gir, Red Sindhi, Tharpakar, Rathi, Kankrej, Ongole, Hariana and more. 96% of milk available in modern India is A1 milk, in spite of the higher benefits of A2 milk. This is due to many factors like lack of awareness, common myths about milk, higher-priced as it is scarcely available, commercialization of the dairy industry, lack of government support, technology, and much more.

Considering the Coronavirus pandemic, it has become a necessity for us to evaluate and weigh immunity boosters and health accelerators on a deeper basis than according to their actual benefit parameters.

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