This post is published in partnership with a2 Milk™ [https://a2milk.co.uk/a2tonishing/], who sponsored this post. All editorial is my own and the research accompanying is independent research supplied by a2 Milk. Plus, a detailed photo aided recipe on making that gorgeous Indian fresh cheese, paneer.
There is very good news for those of you who suffer dairy intolerance. There is a new cows’ milk on the market that might be more easily digested by those with digestive issues after drinking cows’ milk.
Let’s talk about food intolerance
Food intolerance is a complex issue that is very misunderstood. Food intolerance is common, and while it is separate to the very serious issue of food allergy, it can be demanding and exhausting. Food intolerance can lead to poor digestive health and nutrition, with adverse debilitating reactions like diarrhoea, bloating and skin problems. It is important to identify these dietary issues should you have them and make your digestive health and your life better in the process.
1 in 5 people in the UK believe that they are lactose intolerant or have issues digesting dairy. I am a biologist by training (a physiologist) and as part of my degree I also studied nutrition and toxicology, so my first instinct when it comes to illness, food and diet is to research and learn. I like to understand and see what I can do to adapt, change or accept. What I discovered is that there are several ways you can react to milk and this determines whether you can or should eat and drink dairy products.
Intolerance to the A1 protein
There are several proteins in milk. The two we will talk about here are the A1 and A2 proteins. A1 protein is found in regular cows’ milk, this protein can cause digestion problems in some people through an intolerance to the A1 protein. This intolerance is increasingly being recognised, and has often been misdiagnosed as lactose intolerance in the past. Research indicates that the A2 protein is the original cow’s milk protein and the A1 protein evolved over time.
The “Three Cities” Clinical Trial
A recent scientific trial (funded by the a2 Milk Company) recruited 200 healthy participants from three major Chinese cities; Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou (600 participants in total) with self-reported milk intolerance for a double-blinded, randomised crossover study. Seventy percent of the participants tested positive as lactose malabsorbers using tests. Following a 4 week dairy washout, all participants were randomly selected to consume 300ml of milk containing both A1 and A2 proteins (regular cows’ milk) and their gastric symptoms measured at 1, 3 and 12 hours after consuming the milk. Then, after a 7-day washout period, they drank milk containing only A2 protein (a2 Milk) and the same symptoms were monitored.
Both researchers and participants were blinded to the milk they were drinking at all phases of the trial. The study concluded that in both lactose absorbers and lactose malabsorbers gastrointestinal symptoms after consuming milk containing A2 β-casein were consistently reduced. The results are reported in the Nutrition Journal in the UK.
Lactose intolerance is well understood in that people know what it is and that it exists. Lactose intolerance means that a person cannot digest the sugar in milk, lactose, because they do not have sufficient activity of the enzyme lactase that digests the lactose. Lactose is found in all animal milks including human breast milk. When a lactose intolerant individual digests lactose, the result is a lot of unpleasant symptoms such as stomach cramps, bloating and diarrhoea.
The reactions to milk products containing lactose vary depending on how much lactase enzyme a person has (which no one really knows), but some lactose intolerant people can tolerate low lactase products like hard cheeses and yogurt. Some dairy products are lactose free too, like 36 month old parmesan which is naturally lactose free as the sugars are broken down as the cheese matures. 24 month old red cow parmesan is lactose free also, due to the nature of the milk and the maturation process (as a result my fridge has always had a plentiful supply of parmesan). True lactose intolerant people can manage their intolerance with lactose free products, lactase enzyme drops can be added to milk and other fluid milk products the day before drinking to digest the enzyme, and lactase enzymes can be taken before consuming lactose rich items.
Cows’ Milk Allergy and Cows’ Milk Protein Allergy
Cow’s milk allergy (CMA) and Cows’ Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA), are similar to a peanut allergy that results in a very severe and fairly immediate reaction. If you are diagnosed with this you absolutely cannot have dairy. The other reactions are identified as intolerance to the sugar or the protein in milk, and these can be managed. (a2 Milk™ is not suitable for cows’ milk protein allergy).
Enter a2 Milk™
Enter a2 Milk, 100% cow’s milk that comes from cows that naturally produce milk containing only the A2 protein. It’s free from the A1 protein and has been shown to be easy to digest for many. Most cows produce milk with both proteins but a simple genetic test can determine if a cow produces only the A2 protein.
Trying a2 Milk™
“If anyone experiences digestive issues with regular cows’ milk, then a2 Milk™️ might be worth a try. It is an equally nutritious, natural cows’ milk that is easy to digest because it contains none of the A1 protein that is a common cause of intolerance to cows’ milk. Many thousands of people have reported feeling better after switching – to find out more visit www.a2milk.co.uk” — Rick Miller, Nutrition Manager, a2 Milk
If you haven’t tried a2 Milk™ yet, now is the perfect time to. For a limited time only, you can pick up a ‘Try me FREE’ promotional bottle in store – Find your local stockist here (link to www.a2milk.co.uk/find) (Limited offer, T&C’s apply.)
Use it as a drink, have milk in your coffee again, or use it to make my delicious fresh Indian cheese, paneer. The recipe follows.
PLEASE NOTE: a2 Milk™ is not suitable for cows’ milk protein allergy. If you have been medically diagnosed with any milk intolerance, seek advice from your doctor before use.
- 2 litres a2 whole milk
- 2 lemons (and 1 extra just in case)
- a cheese cloth
- a colander
- a plate that will fit in the colander and a weight for the top (like baking beans, a tin of tomatoes or dried beans)
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