A Sicamous dairy farmer may have tapped into a way for people who have trouble digesting dairy to enjoy milk.
Nic Dewitt says for some people whose stomachs have been upset by dairy in the past, the A2 milk his cows produce at Dari Delite Farm could be the answer.
“We actually read an article about a company doing it in Australia, and it’s the fastest-growing fluid milk product in the world,” Dewitt said
“The big thing that caught our attention was they claim 50 per cent of people that are diagnosed lactose intolerant are actually sensitive to the protein in the milk.”
The protein in question is beta-casein, which occurs in a form called A1 and in the A2 form, which gives the variety of milk its name. Sensitivity to the A1 form of beta-casein carries many of the same symptoms as lactose intolerance.
Dewitt said dairy cows naturally fall into one of three groups: those whose milk contains only A1 beta-casein, those whose milk contains only A2 or those whose milk contains both.
He said he took tissue samples from his cows and had them analyzed for genetic markers that indicate what type of beta-casein each cow’s milk will contain and from there built a herd of entirely A2 producers.
The first test case for Dewitt’s A2 milk was his wife Lindy.
“She was never diagnosed lactose intolerant but what happened was about a year ago she wasn’t able to digest it properly. She started getting symptoms like stomach irritation,” Dewitt said.
Lindy’s doctor suggested cutting dairy out her diet so she did until she had the opportunity to try the A2 milk. Dewitt said his wife had none of the symptoms she had been suffering from after trying the A2 milk.
“As soon as she tried it I knew it would work for other people,” Dewitt said
Dewitt said about 10 people with sensitivity to most milk have tried his, and nine of the 10 had no symptoms.
The A2 milk still contains lactose so it will not help those who are actually intolerant to it, but Dewitt thinks there are a lot of people out there who will be able to enjoy A2 dairy in their diets who haven’t been able to before.
Dewitt said he is aware of other farmers testing their herds for the cows’ beta-casein types but to the best of his knowledge, he is the first in Canada to be processing A2-only milk.
The milk from Dewitt’s cows will be processed and sold by D Dutchmen Dairy in Sicamous. Dewitt said customers will be able to request the A2 milk at any store which carries D Dutchmen products and both Salmon Arm Askews locations as well as D Dutchmen’s on-site store, which will be stocking it as soon as it is ready for the market on Feb. 20.