What’s Wrong with Milk?

Posted on May 21st, 2010 by Dr. Mercola  |  17 Comments »

Do you remember your mother telling you when you were a kid to drink milk because it was good for you?

It turns out that she may have been unknowingly stretching the truth, because pasteurized milk is not the health food that nearly everyone thought it was, Dr. Joseph Mercola points out.

Milk is not bad per se, but once it is pasteurized, it is essentially “dead”– whether you are intolerant to it or not. Pasteurization destroys valuable enzymes and beneficial bacteria, depletes the levels of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and vitamin C, and transforms proteins into unnatural amino acid configurations that are harmful to your health, Dr. Mercola explains.

Dr. Mercola recommends raw milk as a healthy alternative to pasteurized milk because it is an excellent source of calcium, enzymes, beneficial bacteria, and vitamins. It also is generally not associated with the issues related to pasteurized milk. Typically, people who have been allergic to pasteurized milk for many years can safely consume, and even thrive on raw milk.

Some people, however, may still be unable to consume raw milk and experience problems such as upper respiratory congestion, depending on the breed of cows that produce the milk.

Why the Breed of the Cow is Crucial When Looking for Raw Milk

There are distinct differences in the milk produced by various breeds of dairy cows. A1 cows are the “newer” breeds that experienced a mutation of a particular amino acid about 5,000 years ago, while A2 cows are the older breeds that did not undergo this mutation, Dr. Mercola explains.

Milk is composed of three parts: butterfat, whey, and milk solids. Milk solids consist of a variety of proteins, lactose and other sugars. One of these proteins is called beta-casein. Proteins are composed of long chains of amino acids, with beta casein being a chain of 229 amino acids. A2 cows produce beta casein with a proline at number 67, while A1 cows have a mutated proline amino acid, which converts it to histidine.

The proline in A2 milk has a strong bond to another protein called BCM 7, which helps keep it from being released. On the other hand, histidine (the mutated protein), weakly holds on to BCM 7 and is released in the gastrointestinal tract of animals and humans who drink A1 cow milk.

BCM 7 is a powerful opiate that can have a number of harmful effects on your body. It is believed to increase the production of phlegm in your digestive and respiratory tract, which can worsen upper respiratory problems. BCM7 has also been associated with other serious health conditions, such as autoimmune disease, autism, cardiovascular disease, impaired immune function, schizophrenia, and Type 1 diabetes.

The U.S., unfortunately, raises mostly A1 cows, including the familiar black and white breeds like Holsteins and Friesians. But it’s not that difficult to find milk from A2 cows. If you know a local dairy farmer who raises cattle organically and lets his cows graze on fresh grass, ask him what kind of breed he takes care of. A2 cow breeds include Jersey, Guernsey, Asian, and African cows. You can start your search for raw milk retailers in the US by going to the RealMilk web site.

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  15. Micah's mom says on :

    Could you update this information? Many ASD kids can’t drink A2 milk because of leaky gut issues but have no issues with A1 milk. I greatly respect you, Dr. Mercola and would appreciate your insight into giving my child of 11 years of raw A1 colostrum. Is there any new research as to the benefits vs cons of A1 milk? Thank you!

  16. Ross says on :

    Nice post. Thanks for putting this information for us. Since 2015, I stopped taking A1 milk due to stomach problems that only occurred to me when I moved in the US. I found out that US has A1 type of cows so I get my A2 milk from

  17. Divya Chouhan says on :

    In the proteins found in milk, a protein called beta-casein makes up 30%. Beta-casein is of two kinds: A1 Beta-casein and A2 Beta-casein.
    Regular milk which has A1 protein causes many digestive issues when A1 milk is consumed, BCM-7 is produced. BCM-7 can cause intolerance symptoms and indigestion.

    Whereas the structure of A2 is closer to the human milk beta-casein chain, it doesn’t produce BCM-7. This is why milk containing only A2 naturally supports digestive well-being. It’s naturally more digestible than A1 milk. A2 milk has shown to have medicinal benefits. It is particularly essential during pregnancy and childhood.

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    A2 protein milk is gentle on sensitive tummies and less likely to trigger symptoms associated with milk intolerance. Research shows that A1 protein milk causes many digestive issues. Moreover, A2 milk is high in Omega 3 & 6, Vitamins, Calcium, Minerals, Iodine, Magnesium, antioxidant Beta-Carotene and many more.

    Research shows that milk from desi Gir cows with a different kind of protein called A2 is not only nutritious but also easier to digest.

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