The Road Home

The Road Home
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Monday, May 19, 2014

Quality Homegrown Milk

Several months back I was reading something over at Oak Hill Homestead, but I don't remember what the title of the article was, maybe Kathi will let us know. Just in passing she mentioned A2 or A1 milk, which made me think, "What in the world is A2 milk?" I really didn't think there was an animal called A2, maybe a robot or something, like C3PO or R2D2......that really was a good movie. I have always felt like the force was with me.....


Never mind, back to milk. Since we milk goats and consume the milk, I wanted to know what Kathi was talking about, so I looked it up. Don't you just love the internet? You can look up just about anything, even things you didn't even know existed. It would be easy to get into the raw vs. pasteurized milk debate here, but that is not what this article is about. To explain the difference between A1 and A2 milk, I will use excerpts from other articles. I don't want to inadvertently word this wrong.


According to Handpicked Nation, "A1 is a mutated beta-casein protein found in milk."......."Milk that does not contain this mutated protein is called A2 milk."........


At Mercola.com we find this information. "All proteins are long chains of amino acids. Beta casein is a chain 229 amino acids in length. Cows who produce this protein in their milk with a proline at number 67 are called A2 cows, and are the older breeds of cows (e.g. Jerseys, Asian and African cows). But some 5,000 years ago, a mutation occurred in this proline amino acid, converting it to histidine. Cows that have this mutated beta casein are called A1 cows, and include breeds like Holstein.

Proline has a strong bond to a small protein called BCM 7, which helps keep it from getting into the milk, so that essentially no BCM 7 is found in the urine, blood or GI tract of old-fashioned A2 cows. On the other hand, histidine, the mutated protein, only weakly holds on to BCM 7, so it is liberated in the GI tract of animals and humans who drink A1 cow milk. 

BCM 7 has been shown to cause neurological impairment in animals and people exposed to it, especially autistic and schizophrenic changes. BCM 7 interferes with the immune response, and injecting BCM 7 in animal models has been shown to provoke type 1 diabetes. Dr. Woodford’s book presents research showing a direct correlation between a population’s exposure to A1 cow’s milk and incidence of autoimmune disease, heart disease, type 1 diabetes, autism, and schizophrenia. (Dr. Mercola is referencing the book The Devil in the Milk, written by Dr. Keith Woodford.)

Simply switching breeds of cows could result in amazing health benefits.......Raw goat and sheep’s milk is another option, as these types of milk do not contain BCM-7."

I had to read over this several times to understand the specifics of what it is saying. A mutated piece of protein found in much of our nation's milk supply, has been linked to some serious health issues for some people. This is known as A1 milk.


According to Lara Briden, a Naturopathic Doctor, "We cannot get around the fact that one of the proteins in milk – A1 casein – is highly inflammatory for some people.  In susceptible individuals, A1 casein is cleaved to form a powerful immune-modulating opiate called casomorphin." She goes on to discuss several different health issues some people face when consuming A1 milk.

In all of my reading, I found that goats, sheep, and what they are calling the 'old fashioned' breeds of cows like Jersey, Dexter, Asian and African, are A2 milk producing animals. There are some others but the recommendation is to have them tested before you buy them to use for home milk consumption if you want to avoid A1 milk. We have read a lot about raw vs. pasteurized milk for years, but I did not know that the breed of cow you choose to milk could have an impact on the human body in an adverse way.

My knowledge on this subject is not very deep. I just felt like it was something I wanted to share in case there are other folks out there that didn't know about A2 vs. A1 milk. There are many things around us that impact our health in so many different ways. Knowledge is the key. Knowledge gives us the power to make informed decisions. You can never have too many books and you can never learn enough. Go find out something new today that will impact your life and the lives of your family members in a good way. You never know when it may be of vital importance. It may be sooner than you think.

Until next time - Fern
 

38 comments:

  1. Interesting!!
    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome, Sandra. I was very surprised to discover this and thought more people should know.

      Fern

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  2. The post was Why You Should Have Goats on Your Homestead. Holsteins seem to be the biggest source of A1 milk, and is the breed that our commercial dairy industry uses for milk.
    Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead

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    1. Thank you, Kathi. I wanted folks to be able to go to your article since that is where I got started with this topic.

      Fern

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  3. Wow that explains a lot! The amazing increase in Autism....hummnnn could the fact that 95% of Commercial Industrial type dairy cattle are Holstein be one of the causes? Great Information Fern! Thank you.

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    1. I didn't find anything definitive, Fiona, but it is very interesting information. And the fact that it apparently affects so many people is important. The one statement about changing breeds of dairy cows really struck me. What if a family is doing everything they can to be self-sufficient, but unknowingly buys an A1 cow and the milk makes them sick? I just think more people need to know this.

      Fern

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  4. Thanks for this info Fern. It amazes me how much stuff is getting pushed off on the general public that is not healthy or is absolutely devastating to health. If a person doesn't know what questions to ask, they are exposed to many dangers from our food supply. If not for the internet and people like you and Frank, we would not be any the wiser about these deadly agents offered to us in pretty packages and smiles.

    That settles it, we getting goats.

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    1. There are some really good dairy cows out there that will provide A2 milk as well as goats. I think Jersey's are beautiful, they're just too big for us and we don't need that much milk. When I first read about A1 milk, I was so relieved to find out goats are naturally A2.

      Shannon, it continually amazes me to find out many of the everyday things we have grown up with contain chemicals that are detrimental to our health, from shampoo to the rennet used to make cheese. The more I learn, the more determined I get to try to replace as many chemical laden items with healthier alternatives.

      Please share this with everyone you know. I feel it's very important. Thank you.

      Fern

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    2. Just a note from my farm experience with "beef" cows. I raised purebred beef Shorthorns. They are a gentle breed and milk well. I always had milk from them. I would lock one of the Gentlest show cows up away from her calf at night then Milk what I needed in the morning. Then I let the calf suck. People tend to overlook the fact that beef cows milk and have rice milk to fatten a calf, it is higher in butterfat than a lot of Dairy breeds. Just an idea for anyone who does not want to milk night and day but who likes cows milk.

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    3. Thanks for sharing that, Fiona. We had a neighbor that milked a Black Angus that she had bottle raised. There are many options when it comes to milk.

      Fern

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    4. Fern, I do tell everyone that will listen to me. Some seem interested but do not follow up with their own research or change their resources. It amazes me that most just look at me with a glazed over look that tells me they don't hear me or don't want to hear me. My sister actually gets angry with me when I tell her about the dangers. She lives in a big city and says that buying healthy/organic would cost her too much. I remind her that she will pay the farmer or she will pay the doctor. What has happened to people's reasoning abilities.

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    5. That is very well said, Shannon. "Pay the farmer or pay the doctor".....I will remember that one. I think many of us have seen that glazed over look way too many times. The follow up to that, is the next look that indicates you might be mentally deficient or a little off your rocker. Sometimes it would be tempting to laugh hysterically when I get that look, but it would deter from the message, wouldn't it? Shannon, I really appreciate your input. I hope it catches some folks attention and gets them to think a little more.

      Fern

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  5. I had read years ago (I think it was from the Diamond's who wrote an early book on healthy eating - can't recall the title) about the casein in cow's milk causing snotty noses and mucus in the throat etc. and never gave it to my children other than the occasional glass w/a piece of chocolate cake. They never had the ear infections, snotty noses, mucus-y gunk, etc. that other children always seemed to have. I never knew there was an A1 or A2 type either. Very good information. Thank you Fern, Frank and Kathi for all the good info. Keep it coming! Off to call my Dad and find out what kind of cows our two neighboring dairies kept when I was a kid drinking raw milk like we had good sense!! We were before our time! :) Hope those were old fashioned cows!!!

    Question: Any idea if this protein pass thru the cheese making process to be harmful????

    ~Sassafras

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    1. I don't know how A1 milk would affect cheese, Sassafras. When I started making cheese and buying rennet, I discovered that the vast majority of rennet produced in the United States is made with GMO products. I was so disgusted. Here I was trying to produce good, homemade foods and found out I was adding GMO to the mix. Then I discovered that most imported rennet is not GMO, so I changed to a different brand. It definitely pays to educate yourself.

      Fern

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    2. I didn't know that about rennet. What brand do you use?

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    3. Kathi I buy my rennet from Hoegger. It is a concentrated, imported, animal based rennet.

      http://hoeggerfarmyard.com/xcart/Liquid-Rennet.html

      Fern


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    4. Since cheese is made by removing the whey from milk, you're going to end up with concentrated A1 casein. Even though testing the milk is the only way to know for sure, I've read that European herds are more likely to be A2 cows, so we buy imported cheese or stick with sheep or goat when we just have to have a little cheese.
      Kate

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    5. This makes sense, Kate, I just hadn't put it together. So, most cheese in the U.S. is not only made with GMO rennet, it is made with A1 milk. How very, very sad. I have to ask, why is profit more important that the health of the consumers?

      When we first began homesteading and raising some of our own vegetables, meat, milk and eggs we were a little hesitant about it. We had grown up trusting that the food we buy at the store was good, healthy and safe to consume. Now the more I learn, the more I realized how wrong we were.

      I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn. We learn so much everyday it is amazing. Kate, I really appreciate your comment. Now, I'm going to go make some mozzarella with my goat milk and non-GMO rennet.

      Fern

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  6. This is why I like reading your posts so much. Good information that I need to research more before I buy a milking animal.
    Bruce

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    1. Thank you, Bruce. I hope this is helps. Please tell other folks you know that may be considering a dairy animal.

      Fern

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    1. There is always so much to learn, SFG.

      Fern

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  8. Congratulations! You made a SurvivalBlog link.

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    1. Thank you. We have found SurvivalBlog to be very generous in promoting other blogs and topics that affect people's lives. We are grateful for their willingness to share information that can help people make informed decisions.

      Fern

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  9. I know you just intended to touch on this lightly, and encouraged deeper research and testing, but despite your disclaimers readers may get the impression that they can just purchase a Jersey, and they will be getting A2 milk. Rather, they have a better chance of getting A2 milk than if they purchased a Holstein. Jerseys are approximately 50% A2, Guernseys are 90% A2, Holsteins are 67% A1 (with of course variations depending on the country, etc). Whichever breed you choose, you need to have your cows DNA tested (as you note) to see if it is A2/A2, A2/A1, or A1/A1. Any of these combinations can show up in any breed. If a cow has both alleles, it will provide a mixed milk, according to the research. I just think it would be helpful to flag that the devil, in addition to being in the milk, is also in the details. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you for providing more details and things to ponder for the readers. There is a lot more to this topic than I provided here. Frank has read more information about A1 vs. A2 just since we posted this. There is a lot to the genetics of the animals, as you pointed out. It makes me even happier that we have goats.

      Fern

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  10. I see that someone mentioned that not all of the older breeds are A2/A2. We bought our Jersey because she was oferred at a very good price, but don't know if she's A2, or if her heifer is A2 either. We're going to have both of them tested soon. For anyone that's interested in testing their cattle, or testing before buying one, here's the link to the UCDavis facility. https://www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/services/A2Genotyping.php From what I can gather this is either the most trusted lab by far, or it's the only lab in the U.S. that does the A2 testing.

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    1. Thank you for sharing the link, CB. I was hoping more information would come out about A1 vs. A2 with this post. I know if we had bought a dairy cow, not knowing about this possibility, it would really surprise me. I hope this will help some others be able to get their animals tested.

      Fern

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  11. Does anyone know how Dexters fall into this? We've been looking at one for all-purpose on our homestead.

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    1. I think your best bet is to do some research, Christilin. Most things I read indicate that all dairy animals should be tested to determine the type of milk they produce. Here is a link about some folks that tested their animals and the results of breeding practices. Best of luck!

      http://www.amorphousacres.com/irish-dexters/dextera2a2milkgene/

      Fern

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  12. Hi, I have cows and have had some tested. Our breed is Brown Swiss and they're about 70% A2. Sometimes I drink A2 and sometimes A1, and it's all the same to me. I think it can make a difference to folk who are intolerant to the A1 protein, but for most of us, especially european derived races, I don't think it's very important, although, having read this, I think I'll make more of an effort to just use milk from my A2's.

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    1. Thank you very much for your comment. I appreciate the information that you have gained from first hand experience. I don't know if there is a greater risk for certain groups of people to suffer from A1's ill effects, or if it is a random thing. Again, thank you for the comment.

      Fern

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  13. Great summary fern! Makes me glad to own a little jersey cow :)

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    1. I know what you mean, Liz. When I started reading about all of this, I was very glad we had goats!

      Fern

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  14. Hi, In earlier times, most dairy herds were predominantly A2 producing. The dairy industry selected higher producing cows for their breeding programs. These individuals tend to have A1 genetics. (Nothing sinister between A1 and A2, Equivalent to blue eyes and brown eyes) Here in Australia you can buy A2 milk in the supermarket. I think the research was done in NZ. It is more expensive as it comes from lower yielding breeds. However, the taste is superior. So much creamier, even at equivalent fat content. The research does suggest that many people who cannot tolerate 'normal' (A1) supermarket milk have no problems with A2. Hope that helps.- Lise

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    1. Lise, thank you for this information. If there are folks that have difficulty with regular, store bought milk, it could be due to A1, or not. But I think people should be able to make informed decisions when it comes to their own health. I did read information that came from NZ and Austrailia and that milk specifically labeled A2 is available at the store. I think it is great that the folks there have that choice. Thanks again.

      Fern

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  15. That "older breeds" are predominantly A2 is just false. All breeds of milk cows are "old" breeds. There's a lot of hype around this subject....and much is just false. This presentation covers the subject VERY well.

    http://windsordairy.com/casomorphine.html

    Now BB Kappa Casein does improve cheese yields.

    http://www.fleckvieh.de/Fleckviehwelt/World/FVW_2013/World_12-15.pdf

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    1. I appreciate your input into this discussion. The slide review from Windsor Dairy provides a comparison of their data vs. the data from Dr. Woodford's book. It appears to me that their debate on the specifics of the effects of A1 milk are not conclusive. On one of their last slides they quote Murray Laugesen, "The correlations are far from conclusive, but cannot be ignored."

      I mentioned "old fashioned" breeds of cows, not necessarily the "older breeds", which I do not believe we are interpreting the same way. Awareness and education of the possibilities of ill health effects are at the heart of making good decisions. Thank you for adding to this cause.

      Fern

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