Milk that contains a certain protein may increase a key human antioxidant and strengthen the body’s disease-fighting properties.
That’s according to a recent study published in Nutrition Journal that examined the results of a clinical trial at Nova Southeast University in Florida looking at the health effects of milk containing the A2 protein.
In the first human clinical trial of its kind, scientists found that milk naturally containing only the A2 type of beta-casein protein — rather than both the A1 and A2 found in most ordinary milk — doubled the concentration of glutathione (GSH) in healthy adults.
GSH is a critical part of the body’s internal defence system which is responsible for protecting a variety of functions. Most notably, it helps the body ward off diseases associated with abnormal cell differentiation, such as those that are neurodegenerative or lead to a condition like pancreatitis or cancer.
“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,” said lead researcher Richard Deth.
Recent studies also show that these two proteins digest quite differently from each other. For some people, the presence of the A1 protein can result in discomfort after drinking milk. Thus, milk containing only the A2 protein may provide a natural way to reduce the symptoms associated with post-dairy digestive discomfort.
Depending on a cow’s genetic makeup, milk contains either A1- or A2-type beta-casein proteins, or a mix of both, and this can be identified with a simple test.