The Inflammation from A1 Milk is Mind-Boggling

A1 Milk

For some people, cow’s milk is simply devastating to health.  We can wish for milk to be healthy because of its calcium and protein. We can hope that milk is better if it’s raw or organic.

We cannot get around the fact that one of the proteins in milk—A1 casein—is highly inflammatory for some people.  In susceptible individuals, A1 casein is cleaved to form a powerful immune-modulating opiate called casomorphin.

Not all cows produce A1 casein.  It comes from Holstein and Friesian cows who are the dominant  breeds in western Europe, North America and Australia. Milk cows in Africa, Asia, Iceland and southern Europe make milk with mostly A2 casein. Those countries have a lower incidence of the conditions discussed below.

Milk that has predominantly or exclusively A2 casein is fine for most people. I find this in my clinic again and again. Goat’s milk is A2. And so is milk from Jersey cows. Dairy products that are mostly fat—like butter—are also fine.

Which conditions suffer from A1 milk?

A1 casein is a trigger for Type 1 diabetes (the research around this is fascinating). It is also highly implicated in coronary artery disease and autoimmune disease.

Casein is involved—with gluten—in Autism and Schizophrenia. Evidence is that casomorphin is more damaging to the brain than the gliadorphin from gluten.

Casomorphin’s drug-like effect explains why it worsens anxiety and mood disorders, and causes cravings for dairy and sugar. (Causes withdrawal-symptoms when it’s stopped.)

The inflammation from A1 casein causes lymphatic congestion, metabolic suppression, and weight gain.

A1 milk can worsen acne, eczema, upper respiratory infections, asthma and allergies.

It causes digestive problems, and not because of the lactose. Because of the massive histamine release from casomorphin.

In my hormonal practice, I see that A1 casein drives endometriosis. I believe that it does so because it of its inflammatory, immune-disruptive effect. I have yet to see one case of endometriosis that did not improve by avoiding A1 milk.

Who is affected?

Some people are fine with A1 casein (they safely deactivate and eliminate the casomorphin).  There is no simple test. It is not an allergy.

The problem occurs in people who A)  lack the digestive enzymes to deactivate casomorphin, or B) have intestinal permeability which allows the reactive peptide to enter the blood stream. (Or both A and B.)

The clinical clue that I watch for is: recurring upper respiratory infections as a child. Either ear infections, bronchitis or tonsillitis. Those infections were driven by A1 casein, and in adulthood, the same immune-disruption manifests as other inflammatory conditions.

Does Raw Help?

Certain types of pasteurisation increase the amount of casomorphin in A1 dairy, so raw milk may bebetter. My instinct is that raw doesn’t solve the problem. We need to move away from Holstein cows.

More and Updates

Yours in Health,



    • Lara Briden says

      Hi Vicki-Lee. It’s a great question about homogenisation, thank you. Homogenisation is heavy processing, and intuitively, it seems that food would be better without it. But I don’t have any definitive information about it like I do about the A1 issue. I’d love to hear of any studies about homogenisation and health.

      I prefer my patients to switch to goat cheese and coconut milk. For those people that insist on milk, they seem to do reasonably well on the A2 milk, and it is homogenised.

      • michele says

        I have read a bit on homogenisation being harmful to us in that it mircofines the fats which make it unnatural or unhealthy for our body to digest and likely harmful to us or our cholesterol. Im sorry I dont have any links handy & I realise the whole “cholesterol” debate is likely not a good enough excuse to worry about. But I just thought Id mention what Id read. I wish I could offer something more definative, but it might be a good start to look into for the scientific minded that wishes to.

  1. Angela says

    We all avoid A1 milk in my family, rice milk or A2 for us. Good to read more about it, we found out from Applied Kinesiology, after trying to eliminate many other foods.

  2. Cate says

    Fascinating. My alcoholic, probably (I say definitely but he was never tested- who knew?) coeliac father would usually take a glass of milk to bed after a day eating wheat and an evening of a few wines or vodkas. What a horrible temper he had, and what an anxious, depressed and irritable creature. He died from bronchial complications (pneumonia) after a double knee op. He was asthmatic too. Thanks for this. The jigsaw is almost complete..

  3. Mel says

    Wow! I am about to go for my second round of surgery for severe endometriosis in two years and I had no idea there was a link with A1. Will be making the switch to A2 immediately!

  4. AM says

    This is a great article! A few months ago medical folk confirmed I was lactose intolerant. I had also previously had a naturopathic allergy test which showed a slight reaction to cassein and whey. I went completely off dairy for a little while after lactose intolerance was diagnosed, before trying lactose free cream, pure organic cream and hard yellow ‘low lactose’ cheese- none of which agreed with me- they gave me headaches, dry mouth and less severe than before stomach cramps. After being off dairy products again for a while, I read this article and decided to try some A2 yoghurt (I usually substitute with coconut milk/ cream but needed some probiotics). I have had a small amount of this by itself after dinner, twice- and so far so good. Baffles me as to why A2 yoghurt is working and the rest didn’t work, but I can only guess it was the A1 protein as per your article??? It could also be that a while after eliminating dairy, I took wheat out of my diet and my gut is healing, but I’m not sure. Anyway, such an interesting article- thanks so much.

  5. says

    Hi Lara. I realise this post is a bit old, but my naturopath has instructed me to avoid A1 casein and I’m still figuring out what I can and can’t eat. Several sources have said that ricotta is fine as it’s made from whey – what are your thoughts on this? And cream?
    I’m only two weeks in, but my skin is already clearing up and my (CFS-related) brain fog is slowly abating. Very exciting! : )

    • Lara Briden says

      yes, i find that ricotta (whey) is ok for most of my A1-sensitive patients. So is butter and small amount of full-cream. Yes, the brain-fog is usually the first symptom to clear when you remove the opiate (casomorphin).

      • says

        Thanks Lara! You’ve just expanded my options for dinner. Just found a gluten-free ricotta gnocchi recipe that I can’t wait to try.
        @Michele, brain fog is the worst! It was one of my very first CFS symptoms. My naturopath thinks it’s related to leaky gut, so we’re working to fix that. Fingers crossed it does the trick! I’m also avoiding gluten at the moment – I’ve read that gluten can have a similar opiate-like effect. Certainly explains why I turn into a carb monster as soon as I have a single piece of bread or cake!

  6. stratman says

    Hi Lara. I should avoid milk with A1 proteins but what about consuming butter from A1 protein sources? Do we still get the negative effects of A1 through butter? Thank you.

    • Lara Briden says

      Butter is mostly fat, and contains very little A1 casein or any protein. It seems to be fine for most people. Cream is also usually ok. As a rule, if you’re going to have dairy, choose full-fat.

  7. Lee says

    My 6 year old daughter is allergic to A1, as we found out very quickly after she was born (not quickly enough to prevent 6 sleepless weeks and her being admitted to hospital. She was breast fed, so I wonder how my wife is affected (she still takes A1 as she doesn’t believe that food affects heakth). I stopped taking A1 about 6 months ago after being directed to Keith Woodford and ended up with withdrawal symptoms for a couple of weeks. I’m autistic too (Asperger), so I gave up wheat, sugar and veg oils. My mood’s better but I still grt depressed m possibly more so than I used to.

  8. Robby Filson says

    There is no solid scientific evidence demonstrating that A2 milk is better for you than regular milk. As there is no food safety issue with either type of milk people are encouraged to keep drinking either A1 or A2 milk as a nutritious food.

    • Lee says

      Robby, my daughter would strongly disagree as she gets severe intestinal inflammation from as little as a spoonful of yoghurt. I would also disagree on the basis that I get a breakout of spots all over my thighs when I have too much A1 and I also get withdrawal symptoms when I’ve had it for a while and then switchbto A2. It may be a specific genetic issue with a minority of the population but a lack of “solid scientific evidence” as you say only indicates that a suitable unbiased study has not been conducted. For what it’s worth, I consumed normal (A1) milk for 38 years without any obvious issues; it is only when I found out about my daughter that I performed controlled trials on myself and discovered the effects. I now minimise my A1 consumption but don’t avoid it completely.

    • Lara Briden says

      It is a morphine-like drug, so it causes withdrawal at the opioid receptors. Most common symptom is headache, but it’s not unusual to see mild cold symptoms.
      However, Most people do not experience withdrawal. Most people just feel better.

  9. Jalissa says

    Hi Lara I really enjoy reading your blog. Id love to find out more about A1 and its link to Type 1 Diabetes. Are there any useful links or articles you know of that could help me?
    Thank You

  10. stance34 says

    Interesting, it seems I naturally gave up A1 without thinking much about it. I use full cream in my coffee, and butter but I rarely buy milk even though, I don’t think I ever had a problem with it. I use almond milk and coconut milk in my smoothies. Occasionally I crave dairy milk and buy it but rarely these days. Is cheese considered A1? I do like cheese and eat it often.

    • Lara Briden says

      Yes, cheese has A1 casein. Some cheeses have more than others. If you think that A1 casein is a problem for you, then you will want to switch to goat and sheep cheese. Ricotta is ok, because it is whey, not casein. .

  11. Shauntelle says

    Hi Lara,

    I know this is an older article, but I ran across it doing research on my son’s dairy allergy. I know he does better when we can remove or severely limit the dairy he eats, but his favorite food is cereal and he has reactions to both coconut milk and soy milk, he’s allergic to nuts so we don’t dare try almond milk and he hates the taste of rice milk… I know you can’t tell me definitively, but does your client experience suggest an A2 milk might be an option? And how long would you think I should wait from the last time he had regular milk before testing the switch to A2 milk instead? I’ve found two local dairy farms that have Jersey cows, but it would still be pasteurized milk… would that be an issue, do you think?

    • Lara Briden says

      Yes, A2 might be an option for him. I should clarify that Jersey milk is mostly A2 casein. Depending on the genetics of the cow herd, some Jersey milk may also contain some A1 casein. Ask supplier/farmer if they know the A1/A2 content of their milk.

  12. Shelley says

    Hi Lara. You write that the clinical clue you watch for is: recurring upper respiratory infections as a child. Either ear infections, bronchitis or tonsillitis.
    Add sinusitis to the list. I suffered acute sinusitis repeatedly from the age of about 4 years. I’d be horribly ill for 2 weeks out of 3 for months at a time. I thought that probably sinusitis would be the thing that eventually carried me off.
    I also experienced such profound brain fog that I was diagnosed with first ADD, then, years later, Asperger’s.
    I felt something in my diet was affecting me badly but couldn’t work out what it was – it COULDN’T be dairy! I loved dairy in all its forms, and told myself that I was ok with it.
    Eventually I went without it for a month while testing my son for food sensitivities. When I reintroduced it I knew within minutes that dairy was the cause of my brain fog. Other conditions that have gone into mysterious remission since I stopped eating dairy include periodontitis (the dentist and hygienist weren’t quick to believe me, but the quite serious inflammation has completely gone and not returned, although I can reliably turn it on and off by consuming dairy); the sinusitis just doesn’t happen any more; adult acne is gone; gut pain is mostly gone; Achilles tendonitis is gone. The symptoms that led to the ADD and Asperger’s diagnoses are gone.
    I’m better off without dairy of any kind as I seem to be mildly affected by even A2 and goats milk products.
    All this is wonderful, but 50+ years of inflammation has left me a bit shattered, and I’m wondering if I’m on the beginning of the long slide into dementia. I found your site while looking for links between casein intolerance and Alzheimer’s.
    Do you know of any research into this area?

    • Michele says

      What a great testimony Shelley!

      I hope you find all the other answers you are looking for as well. Often I find it can be so hard to link things, but you have done well.

  13. Andrea says

    Hi Lara!
    I’m 24 and since a year ago my face started going crazy from time to time. I get a lot of small red bumps on my cheeks (it’s not acne). Then I realized they appear around 1 week before my periods. Now I almost have them all the time, but they get worse around periods.
    I suspected that is either rosacea or autoimmune progesterone dermatitis… Can it be caused by A1 casein?

  14. Renee says

    Lara, With the A1 Milk does that also include avoiding yogurt and Greek yogurt or are they okay?

    • Lara Briden says

      If it came from a Holstein or Friesian cow, then it is A1 milk. Doesn’t matter if it’s turned into yoghurt.

  15. says

    Dr. Lara, thank you, your articles have been SO helpful. My son has severe eczema. This makes so much sense. I always thought milk was fine, it just caused me a bit of bloating. I had recurrent ear infections as a small child, and then asthma, allergies, and all sorts of problems. We are cutting out milk today!

  16. Kate says

    You’ve convinced me to try giving up dairy. For now, I’ll keep the butter and cream, but I’ll give up all other forms of dairy. I’ve had acne since I was 13 (and I’m 35 now), I’ve always had heavy periods, and my pregnancies were terrible. I suspect this won’t be the answer to all of my hormonal problems, but I’m willing to consider the possibility that it’s causing some of my problems.

    What I’m wondering about is whether I should also try cutting out dairy for my kids, particularly my 3 1/2 year old daughter. She cried non-stop for the first 5 months of her life. We suspected dairy allergy coming through my breast milk, so I did cut it out then. Perhaps it made a difference, but it’s impossible to know for sure. Later, she had so many ear infections that she needed tubes in her ears. That doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore.

    I still wonder if dairy is bad for her, but it seems extreme to cut it out since she’s symptom-free at the moment. She really loves milk, too. We’d have to get her daycare on board with this, which makes it even trickier. She does have pretty extreme social anxiety, and I wonder if dairy could somehow be worsening it.

    What are your thoughts? Is it too extreme to take milk away from a healthy, symptom-free kid?

  17. Theresa says

    Hello Lara,

    I know I am in need to give up dairy, and I no longer use milk, butter, cheese products, as a while ago I discovered it was the HUGE culprit for cystic acne. Anytime I had these dairy products, I would break out. The only exception, ONLY dairy exception I found was in organic, non fat dairy greek yogurt. Only greek, if I had regular it would amount to the same cystic break outs. After reading your blog, though it says Holstein cows cause gut inflammation and other various problems that are not surface level apparent. If I have never noticed greek yogurt being an issue (I eat only the plain)- but I am trying to normalize my hormone imbalance and HPA-axis dysfunction- is it important I go without this yogurt for a few months?

  18. Marius Liebenberg says

    Hi Lara, i have suffered from dermatitis on my hands for 8 years, doctors keep prescribing creams which eased it but always came back. Doctors told me there is no cure and to put up with it. I switched to A2 milk and it went away. I am so happy for this. Just like to share this.

    • Marius Liebenberg says

      I also wonder the effect of A1 in other milk products like cheese? After having my skin free of all dermatitis, having cheese from pizza brought back the dermatitis on my skin a day later.

      • Lara Briden says

        Hi Marius, Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Yes, cheese contains A1 casein, but some cheeses contain more than others (because some have more whey — the other milk protein). For example, ricotta is a whey cheese.


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