We have begun the process of breeding our cows to produce A2 milk! Many people find A2 milk to be more easily digested than traditional milk. At Four E Dairy, we want to provide milk with the most health benefits possible!
What Is A2 Milk and Why Is It Special?
Cow milk is made up of water, fat, sugar (lactose), protein, and minerals. There are many different proteins in cow milk, A1 beta-casein and A2 beta-casein are two of these. Humans, goats, and sheep only produce milk containing A2 proteins. Cows also produced only A2 milk, until thousand of years ago a genetic mutation occurred which caused cows to also produce milk with A1 proteins. The milk found in grocery stores today contains mostly A1 proteins.
If you experience digestive issues after drinking milk, it may not be the lactose causing issues, it could be the A1 protein! Many people who self-diagnose as milk intolerant have reported that they do not have the same symptoms with A2 milk. Without being too technical, the way that A1 protein is digested and broken down, releases a protein fragment, or peptide, that causes discomfort for some. The A2 protein does not release this peptide during the digestive process.
What Are We Doing on the Farm?
We’ve introduced A2/A2 bulls to our herd to begin the slow process of breeding cows that produce only A2 milk. Each cow has two copies of the gene that determines which protein will be present in it’s milk. Since a cow receives one copy of this gene from its sire (father) and one from its dam (mother), the cow can either be A1/A1, A1/A2, or A2/A2. The A2/A2 bull ensures that our baby calves will be receiving at least one A2 gene. Jersey cows typically have about a 50% rate of containing the A2 gene naturally, so as we grow our herd, more cows will produce only A2 milk.
We’ve tested a small sample of our animals to see how the process is coming along and we are pleased with the results. Out of 50 cows that were tested, only 5 were A1/A1. This means we are well on our way of providing A2 milk to our customers. We will continue to test more cows and plan to create a separate herd containing only A2 cows. We will continue to update the blog with our progress, so please check back!