‘Pie hole’, colloquial for one’s mouth, is believed to have evolved in the USA in the 1980s from the British expression ‘cake hole’ (coined in the mid 20th century). Pie hole refers to a mouth, as in: Shut your pie hole or, in this case: Put less in your pie hole.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

3 More Things to Know About the A2 Milk Protein

If you love yourself a good milk article, a splash of controversy, and a dollop of science, this article's got you covered. We're milking it again, and it's udderly delightful.

Pie Hole devotees will recall several milk-related articles in the past. One more recent post about a specific kind of milk: A2 milk. The article, titled A2 Milk Protein for a Happy, Healthy Gut.

Today let's talk about the controversy of milk causing health problems like type 1 diabetes, inflammation, neurological disorders, and possibly even SIDS...

In case you haven't read the above article (which you should), here's a quick catch-me-up:
  • Most commercial milks contain both the A1 β-casein and A2 β-casein proteins
  • The A1 variant is able to be broken down in the human gut, forming "beta casomorphine 7" (BCM-7)
    • This isn't a good thing
    • BCM-7 attaches to mu-opioid receptors and decreases gut transit time (not a good thing)
    • BCM-7 has numerous other effects on our bodies, read about that in detail here
  • There is some convincing research that milks containing only the A2 protein alleviate symptoms including bloating, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, and gas (1, 2, 3, 4)
    • Including in people with lactose intolerance
    • This article is specific to lactose intolerance in Chinese populations (and how A2-only milk alleviated lactose intolerance symptoms)
Now that you're all caught up, onto the juicy stuff... 3 more things to know about milk and health. In my research preparing for this article, I came across these really interesting findings:
1. A1-containing milk and type 1 diabetes:

A very recent scientific review hypothesised a major environmental trigger of type 1 diabetes is milk containing A1 β-casein. Before you get up in arms about it, the study noted there are pre and post-natal factors that play into type 1 diabetes, BUT, a strong correlation (r value =0.92) exists between A1 milk-containing consumption and type 1 diabetes. You can see this below in the figure examining 19 "health care affluent" countries below.

Several animal studies demonstrate a link between autoimmune (type 1) diabetes and A1 milk protein consumption. I know, animal studies aren't human studies... Although no human studies exist at this time, there is research suggesting β-casein stimulate specific aspects of the immune system, consistent with those that trigger type 1 diabetes. Epidemiological evidence also suggests populations with higher A2 consumption have lower mortality rates from cardiovascular disease and type 1 diabetes. Finally, in case you're wondering about breastmilk, it contains only A2-like β-casein, meaning it contains no A1.
Adapted from: http://www.nature.com/articles/nutd201716/figures/3 (accessed Nov 15 2017)

2. A1-containing milk and neurological disease:

Although not as recent, there is research suggesting an association between milk consumption, high BCM-7 (remember, this is produced in the body as A1 is broken down) and neurological disorders including autism and schizophrenia.

3. A1-containing milk and SIDS:

Another study examined SIDS and near miss events. They found some infants after apnea (breathing cessation) events had higher BCM-7 levels in their blood. Another abnormality detected in all infants after an apnea even was lower levels of dipeptidyl peptidase-IV (DPPIV, which is involved in the immune system).

The researchers suspect the lower DPPIV activity, induced by BCM-7, is responsible for opioid-induced respiratory depression.
Translation => BCM-7 (a by-product of A1 milk protein digestion, remember?) supresses the action of DPPIV (an important immune system protein), which in turn depresses respiration (breathing), leading to an apnea event. More research is needed, this is a hypothesis!
So what's the bottom line?

There are a few!
- More research is needed (which is almost always the case with everything in science)
- There is some convincing research linking A1 milk consumption and type 1 diabetes
- Read more about A2, my first A2 article goes into a bunch of detail about other researched effects of A1 milk consumption (including more info about BCM-7, inflammation, gut problems- both symptoms you can feel, and things you might not notice that decrease colon health, and even cognition)
- Try an A2-only milk and decide for yourself*
*The A2 Milk Company founded back in 2000 in New Zealand has a patent on a DNA test that ensures their dairy cows only produce the A2 protein. The test simply sequences a strand of tail hair. The A2 Milk Company now sells A2 milk in Australia, the UK, China, and the USA. You can read more on their website and find an outlet near you.

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Disclosure: I received no compensation, sponsoring, financial incentive, or other inducements to write this article. I think the science here is fascinating and I see a potential group of milk-avoiders getting back on the milk bandwagon. I myself switched my family to A2 milk in June 2016 and have seen a huge change in our GI health as well as family and friends who have tried it. I own a small number of shares in the A2 Milk Company.

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