A new range of milk that claims to prevent digestive problems such as bloating and nausea is being launched in the UK.
Up to 20 per cent of Britons say they can’t tolerate dairy products because of the side-effects they cause.
The best-known form of milk intolerance in the UK is lactose intolerance, but research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests less than a third of cases can be attributed to this.
In the study of 406 randomly recruited men and women, 20 per cent reported abdominal discomfort after eating dairy foods, but only six per cent had lactose intolerance diagnosed by a doctor.
Instead, many people who struggle to digest milk may be intolerant to a protein called A1 found in regular cows’ milk.
a2 Milk, an Australian brand which has just launched in the UK, claims to come from specially-selected cows whose milk is free from the A1 protein.
By avoiding this particular protein, the manufacturer says it may be possible for many of those who suffer side-effects such as bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhoea and/or constipation to consume milk.
It’s thought that the A1 protein in milk – which has been linked with a range of symptoms associated with digestive function – digests differently to the A2 protein.
‘Many people assume if they suffer from bloating, abdominal pain or nausea after drinking milk they have lactose intolerance,’ said Melanie Bibby, a registered nutritionist and nutrition manager for a2 Milk UK.
‘But in many cases, this may in fact be a reaction to a protein in milk called A1.’
She added that the symptoms cause many people to cut milk out of their diets completely.
‘Not only is this an added hassle to everyday life but it means that thousands are missing out on the high levels of calcium and other beneficial nutrients found in cows’ milk.’
Although an Australian brand, a2 milk comes from British cows.
Those that naturally produce milk rich in the A2 type of beta-casein protein are identified using a non-invasive DNA test which analyses a sample hair from the tail of each dairy cow. These cows are then separated to form A2 herds.
‘While a2 Milk isn’t suitable for people who have been diagnosed with milk allergies or lactose intolerance, it’s a great option for those who suffer from an A1 milk protein intolerance,’ said Ms Bibby.
A two-litre bottle of whole or semi-skimmed a2 Milk costs £1.99. It is available in selected Budgens and Morrisons and large Tesco stores as of next week.