Mothers milk is the elixir of life for the baby and with all the speculation surrounding milk proteins and their effects on health; it feels necessary to clarify that mother’s milk contains A2 casein proteins. Most of the casein in mother’s milk is A2 type beta-casein which is better tolerated by infants than formula or regular cow’s milk.
However, it must be noted that mothers who consume large amounts of cow’s milk containing A1 casein may pass on the same to the infant through breast milk.
Research has shown that cow’s milk should be avoided during infancy and the intolerance to the cow milk proteins is the major cause for diabetes, neurological and developmental problems in later life.
- The BCM-7 produced during metabolism of A1 casein may absorbed faster by babies as their gastrointestinal tract is still immature and developing
- Studies have shown that beta-casein A1 milk is associated as a risk factor for type-1 diabetes, coronary heart disease, arteriosclerosis, sudden infant death syndrome, autism, schizophrenia etc.
- Extensive studies in America and Europe have observed reduction in autism and schizophrenic symptoms with decrease in A1 milk intake.
Other harmful effects of cow’s milk in Infancy
Risk of milk allergy : Early exposure to cow’s milk proteins increases the risk of developing allergy to milk proteins. Gradually as the intestinal tissues develop they become less susceptible to allergy causing substances.
Risk of type 1 diabetes: Studies have shown that exposure to cow’s milk proteins elicits antibody formation to insulin in some children. There is gradual destruction of beta cells producing insulin which in turn manifests diabetes at an early age. Especially in families with a strong history of insulin dependent /type 1 diabetes, it is recommended that commercially available cow’s milk or products containing intact cow milk proteins should be avoided during first year of life.
Renal solute load: Whole cow’s milk contains abundant amounts of proteins, sodium, potassium, chloride and phosphorus which increase the renal solute load. This increases risk of dehydration when water intake is reduced or water losses are increased in infants for some reasons.
Breast milk is the best and most suitable nutritional source for the baby. But if due to some medical or physical circumstances breast feeding is not possible, then we suggest that one should choose buffalo milk after 9 months over cow’s milk or formula feed.
Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.