In a previous blog post, we covered the differences between the A1 and A2 beta-casein proteins in milk. In this article, we’ll look closely at the alpha s1-casein protein, which has been identified as one of the major cow milk allergens, and how goat milk may be the answer to your milk-related woes. To refresh our memories, below is a basic diagram that shows the different proteins in cow’s milk.
The research shows that the similarities in milk proteins across different species is close, but different enough to matter to consumers
Research conducted by MIT shows that there is only an 85% overlap in the milk protein makeup across different species, and that there are different protein and sugar variants in each mammal’s milk. One such variant is the amount of alpha s1-casein in cow and goat milk. The alpha s1-casein protein in cow milk is ~30% of the total protein in milk.
On the other hand, goat milk contains only ~20% alpha s1-casein (33% less!) and in some select goat breeds only ~10% (66% less!).
Therefore, if you’re allergic to milk or are just lactose intolerant, you can probably switch to the milk of a different animal (in this case, goat) and experience little or no negative side effects. Since the milk from goats contains significantly less alpha s1-casein, those with an allergy or sensitivity to cow milk should be significantly better off.
Now, all of that might sound like some hard-to-follow science, so here’s the gist: goat milk doesn’t have as much alpha s1-casein protein, meaning it reduces the risk of triggering inflammation or other side effects commonly associated with the consumption of cow milk as much. Pretty straight forward, right?
Do I have an alpha s1-casein milk allergy if dairy upsets my stomach? It’s certainly possible to be allergic or sensitive to the protein, but you’d have to get tested to know whether you have a full-blown allergy or whether it’s lactose intolerance, etc. But what we do know is that by reducing your alpha s1-casein protein intake, you can give your body a less allergenic and more digestible milk to work with. Unless you’ve had a very bad reaction to milk in the past (such as an anaphylactic reaction or recurring upper respiratory problems in childhood), getting your milk fix may be a matter of simply switching from cow to goat.
Remember, if you’re unsure it’s always best to ask your primary care physician first before making any dietary changes.