Milk that contains only the A2 beta-casein protein has been found to double the concentration of the essential antioxidant glutathione (GSH), according to a new investigation.
Described as ‘the first human clinical trial of its kind’, the study monitored the differences between 45 healthy participants, half of whom consumed one up of milk with both the naturally occurring proteins in it while the other half consumed milk with just the A2 protein. The researchers assessed the differences in plasma GSH concentration, as well as concentration of beta-casomorphin-7 – a peptide produced by the breakdown of A1 protein and thought to reduce concentration of GSH.
GSH is a critical part of the body’s defence system, and most notably helps to fight diseases associated with abnormal cell differentiation. They include neurodegenerative conditions, as well as illness that lead to pancreatitis or cancer.
The research found that, where subjects drank the A2 milk, their GSH was ‘significantly higher’.
The findings have been published in Nutritional Journal.
Lead researcher Richard Deth, from Nova Southeastern University, said: “It was quite remarkable to find that consumption of milk containing only the A2 type of beta-casein protein produced measurably higher blood levels of the antioxidant glutathione as compared to conventional milk (which has a combination of A1 and A2 proteins).
“While we have previously shown that opiate peptide from the A1 protein in conventional milk can affect glutathione levels in cultured cells and lab animals, it is satisfying to see these effects in people.”
The results are good news for brands like A2 Milk, which has sought a point of difference in the milk category by separating A1 and A2-producing herds. Depending on a cow’s genetic make-up, milk traditionally contains either A1 or A2 proteins, or a mix of both. Simple genetic tests can determine whether individual members of the herd are A1/A1 producers, A1/A2 producers, or A2/A2 producers.
Conventional dairies pool their milk during processing, but A2 has built its brand on using cattle that fall exclusively into the latter group.
A2 Milk vice-president of scientific affairs Bonnie Johnson said: “As a registered dietitian, I am encouraged by the public health potential of these findings. And it’s likely scientists have only scratched the surface when it comes to the potential effects that specific types of dairy proteins may have on health and wellness.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2022
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