Health Benefits

Everything You Need to Know About the Latest Health Food Trend

Each delicious bite of Upper Canada cheese is meant to be savoured. Whether enjoyed alone or with friends, our cheeses are perfect for any occasion! In addition to being the ideal complement to any evening, our cheeses may also be particularly good for the body. New research suggests the 100% pure Guernsey milk we use to craft our cow’s milk cheeses may be easier to digest and enjoy for some people who experience difficulty with dairy products.

What is A2 milk?

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All cow’s milk contains protein. Primarily, the proteins produced by dairy cows are known as caseins, of which A1 and A2 are two forms. Most cow’s milk contains a mix of A1 and A2 protein. However, the milk you find on your grocery store shelf is likely to contain a much higher concentration of the A1 protein. In fact, Holstein cows, which produce the vast majority of commercially available milk, deliver the highest concentration of the A1 protein in their milk. A2 milk from Guernsey cows contains less than 20% of the A1 protein.

Why is this Significant?

If you’ve ever avoided drinking milk or eating dairy products because they don’t seem to agree with you, you’re not alone. Many people in North America have difficulty digesting milk. Symptoms can include everything from that queasy feeling in your belly to cramps and bloating. Most write this off to being lactose intolerant. But, emerging research suggests that’s not always the case.

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The Science

The A1 and A2 proteins are very similar to one another. They’re separated by just one amino acid. However, it’s that one amino acid that makes all the difference. During digestion, the A1 protein produces an inflammatory compound known as Beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7). BCM-7 is thought to be the culprit responsible for that unpleasant feeling you get in your guts after drinking a tall, cool glass. A2 doesn’t break down into the same compound, which makes milk much easier to digest for some.

Where We Get A2 Milk

Originally, cows used to produce only the A2 protein. However, somewhere along the way, likely 5 – 8 thousand years ago, something changed. A random mutation occurred (likely as a result of cows being bred for higher milk output) and cows began producing a mix of the two proteins. Guernsey cows, like the ones that Upper Canada gets its milk from, produce the highest concentration of A2 protein in their milk. Guernsey cow milk contains over 80% A2 protein, compared to 15% produced by Holstein cows

Welcome Back, Cheese Lover

The Upper Canada Cheese Company uses 100% pure and delicious Guernsey milk to produce our award-winning cow’s milk cheeses. In fact, we’re the only creamery in all of Canada to produce our cow’s milk cheese with 100% Guernsey milk. If you’ve been avoiding cheese because milk just doesn’t sit right with you, give Upper Canada cheeses a try. You may just rediscover your love of dairy and develop a new love for the taste and craftsmanship that goes into every wheel of Upper Canada Cheese.

Click here to visit our online store, or here for directions to the Upper Canada creamery.


Some More Science Behind the Milk

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The two major protein categories in milk are casein and whey. The difference between A1 and A2 milk is found in the caseins. There are three types of casein found in milk: alpha, beta, and kappa. Beta-casein is the second most abundant protein, comprised of a chain of 209 amino acids. Position number 67 on the chain is where the A1 and A2 proteins differ. The A1 protein contains histidine at position number 67, while A2 contains proline. Our digestive enzymes have an easier time breaking down the A1 protein. When this happens, an opioid peptide seven amino acids long is formed. Known as beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7), studies in animals have shown that BCM-7 causes inflammation in the gut, leading to the unpleasant symptoms some get when drinking milk. The proline in A2 milk makes it much more difficult for our bodies to break down the protein into the BCM-7 peptide. This is what makes A2 milk much easier for some to enjoy.