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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006;46(1):93-100.

Health implications of milk containing beta-casein with the A2 genetic variant.

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  • 1Research and Development, Ideasphere, Inc., 56 Amherst Road, Belmont, MA, 02478, USA.


Milk from dairy cows has long provided a high quality source of protein and selected micronutrients such as calcium to most populations. Recently, a relationship between disease risk and consumption of a specific bovine ss-casein fraction either A1 or A2 genetic variants has been identified. Populations, which consume milk containing high levels of ss-casein A2 variant, have a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 1 diabetes. Furthermore, consumption of milk with the A2 variant may be associated with less severe symptoms of autism and schizophrenia. The mechanism of action focuses on ss-casein A1 and related forms preferentially that are able to produce a bioactive opioid peptide, ss-casomorphin-7 (ss-CM-7) during digestion. Infants may absorb ss-CM-7 due to an immature gastrointestinal tract. Adults, on the other hand, appear to reap the biological activity locally on the intestinal brush boarder. ss-CM-7 can potentially affect numerous opioid receptors in the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. Whether there is a definite health benefit to milk containing the A2 genetic variant is unknown and requires further investigation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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