Saturday , 23 November 2019
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Got desi milk?

Deepika Rathod

I am finally going to discuss the most asked question, one that I hear many times a day. By now everyone must’ve heard about organic milk being a healthier alternative to processed industrial milk which is said to be loaded with chemicals, antibiotics as well as stress hormones. And we have read that organic milk is essentially chemical-free and healthier as the cows are grass-fed or are fed on organically cultivated fodder. But is that it? Are we just looking at organic or non organic milk? We need to start thinking beyond that so that the milk we or our kids drink doesn’t cause any health issues.

Milk is a great source of vitamins, minerals, calcium as well as protein. Casein is the largest group of proteins found in milk and makes up around 80 per cent of the total protein content. If you go back and check you will learn that A2 cows were the breed, like the desi Indian cows or the African cows, that produced casein along with an amino acid called proline.  In the new hybrid breeds the same amino acid proline got converted to histidine due to mutation or alteration of genes over these years. These hybrid breeds are called A1 cows and include breeds like Holstein, Friesian and Ayrshire.

In A2 milk, proline is firmly bonded to a small protein called beta-casomorphin 7 (BCM 7) which prevents it from getting into the milk produced by A2 cows. On the other hand when it comes to A1 cow’s milk, histidine has a very weak bond with BCM 7 and so it is easily released in the animal’s gut. Consumption of such milk affects humans’ digestive system and internal organs and causes inflammation. Milk from A1 cows supposedly produces opiate-like effects that result in the development of mild to serious medical conditions.

After a bit of researching I found out that ‘a human clinical trial conducted at Curtin University in Australia did prove that there were significant differences in digestive symptoms between milks containing A1 and A2 beta-casein’. It clearly suggests that certain unwanted proteins or peptides from A1 milk that do not occur naturally in the human body may cause digestive disorders like inflammatory bowl disease, irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut or a weak gut which can lead to further complications.

The Bos Indicus is the desi breed that produces A2 milk with good quality protein. Our ancestors and parents drank this milk and always stayed healthy. So what do you think is causing issues now, particularly since many people are lactose intolerant or are allergic to milk?

The desi cows have been replaced it India by a high yielding cross breed popularly known as HF or Holstein Friesian which provides A1 milk. This has happened because Indians love milk and there was a high demand of milk which needed a good amount of supply.This difference is something one needs to consider beyond the type of milk. This has brought us to a situation where desi cows have become a dying breed in India and there are only a few brands that provide A2 milk or only a few people who own cows and get good quality milk.

Upon further research I also found out that the Gir or local Gujarati breed is now being imported from Brazil and the pure breed Brahmi Bull is popular in Australia. It’s really ironic that people in other countries are drinking better quality milk from cows that are native to our country and we are drinking imported fancy packaged milk just. Is that needed?

With information on both milks you should be able to choose one. As I always say – we need to start healthy somewhere; and the rapidly growing incidences of lifestyle diseases is a warning.

We are taking prey to the unbridled commercialisation and so is our indigenous cow breed. The desi Indian cow is a very unique species which needs to be conserved. We also need to make sure that we start consuming foods which are native to India to keep our body clock ticking well.

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