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 A1 vs. A2—all the RAGE!
 A1 vs A2

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Pumpknxoxo Posted - May 06 2014 : 7:35:57 PM
So....what is the difference? I thought my cow knowledge was pretty good but this is not ringing any bells.
24   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
txbikergirl Posted - Jul 13 2016 : 5:38:33 PM
i also remember maryjane commenting at one time, something akin to "so what happens in xxx years when we have made anything but a2/a2 cows extinct and have changed the dynamics that way".... we could do so much damage by willy nilly choosing one genetic attribute over another and change a million other things for the worse. that still makes me think....
NellieBelle Posted - Jul 13 2016 : 5:18:38 PM
I've never been a proponent of believer of the A2A2vs.A1 When I first read about it, I felt it was bogus then, and I still believe that. It will be interesting if anything actually comes to light about it that is truly factual. I stand by non-A2A2 cows also, and I stand by the A2A2 cows also. But there is much more to our milk cows to consider than the A1 or A2 factor for sure. :)
txbikergirl Posted - Jul 13 2016 : 4:47:54 PM
i am no longer only pursuing a2/a2 cows. going through this process of losing our milk had me really reevaluating every aspect of what we thought was important in a cow. we no longer even ask if it is a2/a2.

but even when we thought there might be something to it, as in "who knows??", we always thought that it was more important to get a pasture raised properly fed well raised cow in great health that had whatever milk, versus a milk cow that was a2/a2... so many people will pass up on the health of the cow and focus on the other stats. that never made sense to me.
maryjane Posted - Jul 13 2016 : 4:07:29 PM
I'd posted this elsewhere on one of our daily discussions but it seems like it belongs here also. More food for thought for thoughtful people.

I’ve come to the conclusion that if people were to actually read the book that has created the A2A2 conundrum, they’d begin to see what I’m seeing. Don’t skim "Devil in the Milk" (you know how “skim” is regarded among dairy lovers:), please read the book (absolutely no one I’ve asked that is a proponent of A2 has read it). I’ve emphasized with italics examples of the author’s assumptions/conclusions found throughout that are typical of how inadequately but with grandeur he makes his case. “Says who?” I kept asking myself as I read it a second time recently.

page 45 of Devil in the Milk:
“The next important question is what happens to BCM7 when it is released into the gut. Once again, there is no simple answer. In healthy adults it should be difficult for BCM7 to get through the gut wall and into the bloodstream, because the molecule is too large. But it appears there are plenty of exceptions. [Says who?] Almost certainly, it depends on the age, health and genetic makeup of the particular person. Some people suffer from leaky gut syndrome, whereby BCM7 and other peptides pass very easily into the bloodstream.”

Opioid peptides (the BCM7 A2A2 premise) are found in many of the foods we eat according to Wikipedia: They can be produced by the body itself, for example endorphins. The effects of these peptides vary, but they all resemble those of opiates. Brain opioid peptide systems are known to play an important role in motivation, emotion, attachment behavior, the response to stress and pain, and the control of food intake.

The A1 mutation that the a2 Corporation is marketing as bad for you they claim happened 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. [Obviously that can be said, but how can anyone know that, I ask.]

I do know of one person with “leaky gut syndrome.” Not only does he stay away from milk (not just A1 and A2, but all eight variants of beta-casein, A, B, C, D, E, and F—reflecting the order in which they’ve been identified—subsequently, the A beta-casein has been subdivided into A1, A2, A3--how confusing is that?), he has found that he must stay away from many of the foods we all enjoy without detriment. “But it appears there are plenty of exceptions.” Plenty, I ask. Again, says who?

page 14 of Devil in the Milk:
“So it seems that at least on this point there is not much controversy. Scientists essentially agree on where BCM7 does and does not come from, though it would be dangerous to say unequivocally that it is impossible for BCM7 to be released in tiny amounts from A2 milk. This is because digestion is a thermodynamic process and there are random elements to it.”

So we're taking about only tiny amounts of “devil” in A2 milk, maybe, for some people, but maybe not? [Smiley face here:)] This is because marketing is a dynamic process and there are people who look for advantages that will give them an edge in the marketplace.

According to the pro-A2 author Brent Bateman, who wrote "Don't Drink A1 Milk!" the CEO of the a2 Corporation holds eleven patents and in 1994 he was working on a process to manufacture and market low-cholesterol and cholesterol-free foods. When he came across the A1 idea "the businessman part in him also urged him to seek out how this new evidence could be put to use to make money." Page 52 of "Don't Drink A1 Milk!"

Lest we forget, it’s a good thing we've moved past the “science” of margarine and that money-making anti-cholesterol scheme.

Next up, the billions of dollars being made off of anti-cholesterol drugs and the silent killer they've become because of the “brain fog” they also often deliver (side effects are stomach problems, chronic headaches, fatigue, skin rashes, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, erectile dysfunction, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, and peripheral neuropathy, liver damage, and inflammation). Time magazine had a front-page story last June (with a cover photo of a beautiful curl of butter) that said, “Eat Butter. Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong.”

They were wrong because cholesterol is manufactured in the liver. Every cell is capable of making this substance. Its most important function is in the formation of cholic acid which is used to make bile salts. Its second most important function is in the production of adrenal and reproductive hormones and keeping the immune system strong. Just because cholesterol is part of the plaque that clogs arteries doesn’t mean that eating cholesterol is the cause. The problem is inflammation caused by toxins irritating tissues and resulting in free radical damage. Without inflammation, you aren’t going to develop heart disease, even if you have high cholesterol. When artery walls become inflamed (bad food, toxins, too much salt, food allergies, chlorine in drinking water, non-organic food, lack of exercise, addictions, etc.), cholesterol comes to form a “patch” over the afflicted area to try to help you. The patch collects calcium and other minerals. If you want to stop heart disease, you need to figure out what is causing your inflammation. The body needs cholesterol to sequester and attempt to eliminate a variety of chemical toxins.

So, the same man who wants you to quit drinking milk other than the variant he has a patent on was also trying to tell you that cholesterol is bad for you. Say what?

I, for one, stand with the cows that are being harmed by the a2 Corporation’s marketing endeavors. If you are a proponent of A2 milk, please allow me my lone, but not lonely, voice. I am joined in my stand by Ester Lily, Lacy Lou, Miss Daisy, and Maggie Moo (all of who carry the “A1 defect” that is supposedly killing us).
mrsjosephwood Posted - Jul 13 2016 : 1:19:17 PM
This was really informative. Thanks for sharing.
maryjane Posted - Sep 11 2015 : 08:45:58 AM
If you register her with us, the price includes genetic testing. My SIL Lucas can help you with that,
GingerBKelly Posted - Sep 11 2015 : 08:40:52 AM
Anytime. Research is one of the things I do best (said with a slightly proud, but humble grin).

BTW: It appears to me that there are different schools of thought on the A2 milk. It seems that the A2 milk correlates to better gut health, but nothing is absolutely conclusive. Reasonably conclusive empirical evidence is almost impossible to obtain, when testing these sorts of scientific things on humans. Unfortunately, it goes both ways. This is why we also have a lot of (what I call) garbage in our food system, like GE or GMO products and more.

I think it's fair to assume that A2 milk is by no means harmful. Personally, I would like to give it a try. I'd like to see for myself the effects.

(BTW: We bred our heifer, Little Bit, to an A2A2 bull, hoping A2A2 milk will be the result, but I don't know what her genetics are. Where does one go to have this tested and what does it involve?)
maryjane Posted - Sep 10 2015 : 8:18:38 PM
That is the article I'd read, Ginger. Thank you for finding it.
GingerBKelly Posted - Sep 09 2015 : 05:20:10 AM
I did a Google search. I found an article from 2009 entitled, "Review of the potential health impact of β-casomorphins and related peptides" I'm thinking is this is the article you referenced, Mary Jane?,0.pdf
maryjane Posted - Sep 08 2015 : 8:32:34 PM
Hmmm. I will have to dig around. It worked for quite a while. I knew I should have printed it. Did you try googling it? Another interesting thing to do is check out sources when a magazine or newspaper writes about A2A2 to see where the info came from.
GingerBKelly Posted - Sep 08 2015 : 8:26:10 PM
MJ, can you please re-post the link to the report conducted by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). The link you posted isn't working. Thanks. :)
GingerBKelly Posted - Sep 08 2015 : 8:18:01 PM
If you want to put a product out there (inject it into the stream of commerce, so to speak), why not give the customer what they want? A2 milk is one quality consumers want. However, isn't there a bazillion more?

I believe there is a lot of food mistrust, most generated by big for-profit factory farming, agribusiness and grocery business. This mistrust trickles down. Customers want to trust and have confidence in their farms and food, not be made to feel uncomfortable.

People who genuinely and ethically give customers what they want and can't find in a faceless, insincere, commercial and impersonal, "factory" or "industry" food, are begging to be served. Why not serve them, if this is what you love to do? People who "serve" others, with great love and passion, tend to reap far greater rewards, than just economic. Isn't this the "real" bottom line?
tcboweevil Posted - Feb 27 2015 : 4:47:54 PM
Very good article. Thanks for the info and thanks for putting it all together and asking the tough questions. I like that you are encouraging discussion. I know that I have been all for the A2 bandwagon and I have seen the disclaimer on the bottom of the genetics test. That the A2C can even call you concerning your breeding and milking program should your cow have the A2/A2 gene. I am glad you said that is not the goal of your breeding program; and you definitely changed the way I look at cows.... for the better.....
Ron Posted - Sep 26 2014 : 07:14:15 AM
Great point. Unfortunate that once a fad/idea takes hold in the mind of the consumer it is hard break the momentum of that. Sort of like for years it was drummed into everyone that fat is bad. Butter, bad. Whole milk, bad. So we were flooded with things that were worse.
Now the mainstream is oppps we were wrong, guess butter and whole milk is good for you and the other is bad. Go figure, like sheep some led down whatever path driven.
I am a thinking a producer is just going to have to do what they think is right. There will always be so good market for clean fresh milk A1 or A2 most consumers will not care.
I know we have chosen the path of A2 genetics out of personal choice and the matter that most Guernseys see to just have the disposition to be A2A2 from the get go.
Would I ever drink A1 milk? Certainly have and will again if it is from a organic source. Again in my area some folks want A2 milk cows and that will bring a premium price. Theses are nice folks who for their own reasons have decided in their mind it is better for them and their family. Who am I to deny them.
NellieBelle Posted - Sep 26 2014 : 07:06:34 AM
I've only just started to read up on the A2A2 milk. From what I'm reading there just seems to be something amiss. I am all for eating and drinking what's healthy, but I just don't see the hard cold facts. I can't say personally because I don't know what my cow is giving milk wise,(A1A2, A2A2), but it's certainly delicious and much better than any store-bought pasteurized milk. Like MaryJane said, there are many variables to this that need looked into before we all go following the piped piper. (in my opinion)
maryjane Posted - Sep 26 2014 : 06:49:59 AM
A2 is turning into a serious problem for providers, not to mention the untold grief it's causing for the cows who are now thought of as inferior. And all this for a corporation who is making millions of dollars off the idea? My skepticism grows daily.

For about two years, I was providing my family with A1A2 milk. For a six month stretch thereafter, only A2A2 (merely a function of who was fresh and who wasn't). If you read what the author of Devil in the Milk says, we should have seen significant changes in our health but we didn't notice anything at all. In reading through the studies the author cites, I couldn't help but think: Was the bad A1 milk ultra pasteurized and homogenized? Were the people in the studies still eating processed foods and bad food in general? Smoking? Drinking? What about exercise? Hydrogenated oils? Diet sodas? How can he possibly draw such grand conclusions when there are so many variables to factor in?

I wish I knew how to slow this band wagon down until cooler heads can prevail. It's just so tempting I suppose on every level. People are looking for a cure-all and the author certainly delivers it. Maybe we can get someone like Michael Pollan to research and write about the phenomenon of how quickly the idea spread and was embraced as opposed to how difficult it is to tell people they should stop drinking diet soda.
Ron Posted - Sep 25 2014 : 5:36:13 PM
Hi Alana, believe it or not I am seeing this allot here to in SD.
mtngranny Posted - Sep 25 2014 : 4:34:14 PM
MJ, Appreciate your very balanced thoughts on this--I agree. However, raw milk consumers seem to be almost universally demanding "A2 milk" and where does that leave us as providers?

We no longer do our herdshare but if we were in business now I would pretty much be required to get rid of any A1 in my herd as well as any girls that need more than a cursory amount of grain just to compete with other local programs.

Perhaps this is a bigger issue here in the mid-Atlantic than elsewhere in the country, but I'm seeing most natural foods enthusiasts having been exposed to the A2 hype.

CloversMum Posted - May 14 2014 : 10:18:21 PM
Thank you for the links, MaryJane!
maryjane Posted - May 14 2014 : 05:18:04 AM
A big question looming for me in thinking about this is the “fact” put forth from one source (and then repeated by almost everyone who writes about it) that modern day cows are usually A1 and breeds that have been around longer are usually A2. Since this particular type of DNA testing was developed by the A2 Corporation, how do I know this to be the case and not just something said to bolster their motives? Is anyone else doing this testing? Is there a herd of Holsteins out there that have been tested by someone else or maybe a herd of Guernseys? Has this testing been done on Jerseys on the Isle of Jersey where they have closed herds? I did find this 107-page report conducted by the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) that was helpful,

I'm just so very anxious to get opinions/facts/testing that comes from sources that aren't using the A2 Corporation as their source for information/testing, like the author of Devil in the Milk did and almost everyone else I find since who talks about it.

Here's the fine print on my most recent DNA tests:

"VGL is an A2 Corporation Limited (A2C) accredited and registered A2 Gene Tester. A2 Gene Tests conform to the specifications and are validated to the standards of A2C. A2C will only access information relating to you and your animals from testing carried out by VGL for the purpose of contacting you about potential milk supply and to maintain a register of A2 gene tested animals. A2C owns various intellectual property rights (including patent rights, trade marks, and technical and commercial know how) relating to the commercial production and sale of a2TM branded milk or milk with reduced beta casein A1. It is possible that commercial use of test results may fall within the scope of such intellectual property rights, so if you intend to form a herd of animals used to produce a2TM branded milk with reduced beta casein A1 on a commercial scale, you should contact A2C for more information. Note: As a licensed laboratory, VGL is required to send A2 Corporation a copy of all A2 Gene Tests. ONLY the A2 Beta Casein result will be sent to A2 Corporation Limited."

On this latest round of DNA tests from VGL there are now two more tests they can conduct should you choose to pay for them: Kappa Casein and Beta Lactoglobulin. But it doesn't say who owns those tests, if anyone. Hopefully I do if I have them done.

Kappa Casein - protein yield and percentage. The A variant and AA genotype are associated with higher milk production. The B variant and BB genotype are associated with increased milk protein and casein content, and better cheese yield. Relative to protein content and cheese production, BB is the most favorable genotype, AB is intermediate and AA is the least favorable.

Beta Lactoglobulin - milk yield and whey protein content. The A variant is associated with increased milk yield and whey protein content. The B variant is associated with increased casein and fat content and is favorable for cheese production.

And then my other question is this. Say we "get rid of" all A1 cows (and it's looking like in the text above that we might be talking about REDUCED beta casein A1 - how confusing is that?!, will we be rid of diabetes, heart disease, autism, etc.? That's the premise put forth by A2 Corporation, although I’ve read recently that they’re starting to back away from such claims.

I do know this. The players involved comprise the key components for a thriller plot - characters that have a vested interest and a “war chest” of money mixed in with those who have a healthy distrust for the current mega-dairy system and those who struggle to set themselves apart: “I have A2A2 semen for sale!”
maryjane Posted - May 13 2014 : 7:26:23 PM
Scroll down to the question, "What do you think of A1 versus A2 milk?" I found some of the comments educational also.

Or this piece in Mother Jones:

Here's someone breeding for A2A2:
CloversMum Posted - May 12 2014 : 10:27:53 PM
I am a little cautious when one company has such an invested interest; but, at the same time really think that there is something to this... A1 versus A2 milk. The part that is trademarked is "A2 milk" but you can still say that your cow produces milk with A2 beta casein. This makes me want to read more about it...I'll add the book to my growing stack of farming books. I think that the stack is nearly as tall as I am! If I could just find a way to read more, in-between caring for my farm critters, birthing more goat kids (last set due this week! whew!), finishing up the school year with my own children, doing double parenting duty as hubby works extra long hours this month, etc. But, MaryJane, do you have any other resources that you'd suggest as we sort this out each for ourselves?

Pumpknxoxo Posted - May 09 2014 : 11:19:55 AM
It is very interesting. I went to school for dairy science, but never heard about this. Thank you for enlightening me. I will definitely explore when I have a milking cow of my own in the near future!
maryjane Posted - May 07 2014 : 06:38:55 AM
A2 milk and A1 milk are genetic variants of the beta-casein protein found in milk. A2 milk is a trademark owned by the A2 Corporation in New Zealand, based on the findings of one scientist so far and promoted by author Keith Woodford, who links A1 milk to serious illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. A genetic test developed by the corporation (the individual results are also owned by the corporation) determine an animal's status, and then the corporation may or may not issue a license to a milk producer whose cows produce A2 milk, which they claim is superior to A1 milk, the most common form of milk sold today.

Presently, A2 milk is sold mainly in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, but the corporation wants to promote the brand in China based on an increased after-tax net profit that resulted because of Woodford's book, Devil in the Milk (which I've read).

The A2 Corporation has raised a vast amount of money from investors. "The question remains as to whether the additional $20 million of cash that they now have in their war chest will be enough for such an initiative,” author Woodford said in an interview in The National Business Review in December of 2013. "Establishing a brand in China is going to be expensive." With the debate raging and millions of dollars at stake on both sides, the debate promises to continue until the A-whatever cows come home.

Based on what I see happening on the Internet among back-to-the-land enthusiasts across the U.S., A2 milk is being embraced as superior. Remember, if the milk your cow gives you is A2, you can't market it as A2 milk (any more than you can sell Nike shoes) because A2 milk is trademarked. (I wonder how much a license agreement with them costs?) The A2 corporation even owns the rights to the DNA test that told you whether or not your cow produces A1 or A2 milk (check the fine print— for more details on testing).

I have all three kinds of cows (I mainly test for horns-polled or not polled): A1A1, A1A2, and A2A2. I’m sitting on the fence on this one until I see and have access to more science coming from more than one scientist. My goal with genetic testing and also my breeding program is to breed for certain behaviors (gentle behavior, good mothering), etc. If A2 milk proves to be superior, then collectively we can breed for that, but I worry about jumping on the band wagon too soon and generating feelings that cows and bulls that are A1 (or a mix of both) are inferior somehow. I love ALL my cows and I’ve come to realize that I haven’t liked the unsettled feelings I’ve felt regarding my animals that I know are A1. I also question the people who call me asking only one question. Do you have any A2 animals? The answer is yes but how about all the other questions they should be asking before they buy an animal? Are we sure of this already? Are we convinced that the motives behind this are as pure as the A2 milk they claim is superior to A1 milk?

Here's an example of how this is playing out in the public consciousness:

What do you think?