The Way to BE

Is Milk Making You Sick? The Modern Dangers of Milk You Must Be Aware Of

Why Milk from Certain Breeds of Cattle Is Toxic

In 2007, Dr. Keith Woodford wrote a book called Devil in the Milk. In this text, he explains exactly why milk from certain cows is far more toxic in the body than milk from ancient breeds of cattle.

Dr. Woodford is a Professor of Farm Management and Agribusiness at Lincoln University in New Zealand. In his book, he discusses the dangers of certain forms of casein in milk versus others. As you may expect, because dairy is such a large industry worldwide, Dr. Woodford has received a great deal of grief and badgering through the press for voicing his concerns about what he calls the “milk devil.”

However, as he says in the introduction to his book: “I have now got to a stage in life where some things are more important than others. I believe [this] story is one that needs to be told.” (1)

Dr. Thomas Cowan, an M.D. practicing in San Francisco, California, wrote the forward to Devil in the Milk. He tells us that milk, or casein sensitivity, has been a long-time issue with his own patients, which is usually accompanied by gut disorders. As he explains:

  • A certain protein called beta-casein is found in the milk solids.
  • Beta-casein is a long chain of amino acids - 229 to be exact.
  • Typically in ancient breeds of cattle, an amino acid called proline is number 67 in this long chain of amino acids.
  • This protein found in ancient breeds of cattle is called beta-casein A2.
  • 5,000 years ago, a mutation happened in this long chain of amino acids.
  • When the mutation occurred, an amino acid called histidine replaced proline.
  • This new protein is called beta-casein A1.
What makes beta-casein A1 milk so different and so dangerous?

According to Dr. Woodford’s research, once the mutation in beta-casein occurred, the new beta-casein A1 breed of cattle spread rapidly throughout Western countries. And unfortunately, this form of casein has been linked with type I diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, autism, and schizophrenia. Throughout his argument in Devil in the Milk, Dr. Woodford cites over 100 papers found in peer-reviewed journals.

As he explains, beta-casein A1 is different from the more ancient version of beta-casein because of the proline /histidine switch that took place 5,000 years ago.

  • In both beta-casein A1 and A2, there is a side chain amino acid that comes off amino acid 67.
  • This side chain amino acid is called BCM7.
  • BCM7 is a powerful opiate and responsible for much of the grief related to current milk consumption in the United States.
  • This includes various forms of casein sensitivity related to autism and autoimmune conditions.
  • This also includes minor irritations, such as BCM7’s ability to bind to mucous membranes in the nose and stimulate mucous secretions.
  • BCM7 is less likely to be absorbed by those with a healthy gut.
Is milk really the enemy? If milk has been making you sick, it could be because of the type of milk you are drinking.

Even though BCM7, which is an amino acid opiate, is present in both forms of beta-casein A1 and beta-casein A2, the older breeds of cattle have a stronger hold on this dangerous little amino acid. This means that in older breeds of cattle that have the beta-casein A2 structure, the opiate is far less likely to become free in the body.

Beta-casein A1, which is found in cattle populating nearly all dairy farms in the United States, has a weak bond to this dangerous opiate called BCM7. Biochemically, histidine simply cannot hold on to BCM7 for very long. What ends up happening? Much of BCM7 gets into our bloodstream, especially in those who have a permeable or “leaky” gut. The absorption of BCM7 causes all sorts of changes in the immune system, the blood vessels, and in the brain.

Amasi: A Traditional Drink Made with Milk That Is Free from Beta-Casein A1

Amasi is a food and beverage that is popular in South Africa. Similar to yogurt and kefir, amasi is fermented and generally made with cow or zebu milk. Traditionally, fermentation usually takes place in a gourd or hide sack, although leaving raw milk out to ferment, or clabber, will also produce amasi.

The milk used to make amasi is generally harvested from zebu cattle, also known as Bos indicus. All ancient breeds of cattle, such as the zebu cattle, produce milk that is free of beta-casein A1.

Zebu cattle:

  • Are common throughout Africa, India, and throughout much of Asia.
  • Have large, floppy ears and a fatty hump between their shoulders. For this reason, they’re also called “humped” cattle.
  • Are ancient cattle - which means that the milk they produce is free of beta-casein A1.

Like other forms of fermented dairy, amasi has a number of health benefits. When zebu cattle are fed a green diet of grasses and forage, the milk that they produce is high in:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
  • Vitamin K-2
  • Beta-carotene
A probiotic is good, but fermented foods are better.

Friendly bacteria are essential to creating a balanced and healthy inner ecology. Strangely, the modern diet typically does not include fermented foods. In traditional cultures throughout the world, such as in South Africa where amasi originated, fermented foods and beverages are served with every meal and even as a fortifying snack.

But how to get Amasi in the U.S.? Only one company is making this healing beverage available.  Click here for more information:

Because the standard American diet is missing these vital nutrient-friendly bacteria, and because antibiotics are prescribed almost ubiquitously in the case of infection, many Americans are overwhelmed with chronic infections and other serious immune disorders.

  • In order to remedy the situation, probiotic supplements are often used to restore microbial balance within the body.
  • After all, beneficial microbes outnumber our own cells 10 to 1.
  • This means that we are roughly 90% microorganisms and 10% human cells.

Relying on a probiotic supplement is good in a pinch. However, fermented foods offer far more than a supplement ever could. This is because:

  • Fermented foods provide a food matrix for the microbes to survive in while they travel through your digestive system.
  • Fermented foods, especially those that are homemade or prepared using traditional processing methods, contain a greater number of living bacteria than you would find in a probiotic supplement.
  • This makes fermented foods a more cost-effect alternative to a probiotic supplement.
  • To boot, because friendly microbes do much of the work for you, fermented foods are far more digestible and nutrient-dense than non-fermented foods.
  • Friendly bacteria also dampen the inflammatory response and help to heal a damaged gut wall.
The problem with milk may not be milk itself, but rather the type of milk that we are consuming.

While many Americans find that they need to go on a gluten-free, casein-free diet, it is worthwhile to consider the information that Dr. Woodford presents in his book, Devil in the Milk. The problem with milk may not be milk itself, but rather the type of milk that we, as a country, are consuming. After all, milk is an ancient food that has a long list of health benefits, especially when fermented.

While milk from cattle that is free of beta-casein A1 is hard to come by in the United States, consumer demand can create the motivation for dairy farmers to change the breed of cattle that they use in their farms. In the meantime:

  • Although sheep and goat milk do not have the same benefits as cow milk and are often grain-fed, these milks are free of beta-casein A1.
  • If you tolerate raw dairy and if it is available to you, make sure to ferment your dairy using the Body Ecology Kefir Starter.
  • Truly fermented dairy can heal the gut, strengthen immune function, and cleanse the body of toxic materials.

What to Remember Most About This Article:

Milk from certain cows can be more toxic to the body than milk from ancient breeds of cattle. A mutation in a milk protein has occurred in modern milk, potentially causing heart disease, type I diabetes, autism, schizophrenia, and autoimmune disorders.

A traditional South African drink called amasi is free from this mutated protein. Raw milk is harvested from ancient breeds of zebu cattle and fermented to produce a beverage full of health benefits. Fermented foods and beverages like amasi are vital to the standard American diet.

For the many Americans that rely on a casein-free and gluten-free diet, the issue could be caused by the type of milk that they are consuming. At home, it's best to ferment dairy to heal the gut, boost immune function, and detoxify the body of harmful materials.

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  1. Woodford, Keith. Devil in the Milk: Illness, Health, and the Politics of A1 and A2 Milk. Nelson NZ: Craig Potton Publishing, 2007.

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  • Rick Butler

    I am looking for someone to write an article about A2 milk to publish in The Brahman Journal which is the magazine for The American Brahman Breeders Associaiton. Please help me. Thanks

  • Windy Daley of Texas

    Thanks for the information. Since the dairy associations want to poison the children of this country with aspartame in the school "diet milk," I have been researching the dangers of milk. I will boycott milk forever now.
    I hope many others like me will research and discover the unhealthy aspects of milk. I hope the dairy associations have caused such an uproar that others will research, too.

  • Dan Schoenfelder

    So, does the bacteria used in the process of cheese making break down the A1 protein? Is cheese safer to eat than milk in the U.S.?

  • Greg Fryback

    To C.E. Steinfled,
    Is your source of whey produced in the US or New Zealand?
    Thank you.
    Greg Fryback

  • Sheri

    I, too, hail from Wisconsin, but the Northeast where I am unable to locate raw milk. For a few months now I have been making 24-hour yogurt with organic, but pasteurized, cow milk. Would someone kindly help me understand better: Am I healthier by continuing with my yogurt as is, or am I doing further harm because of the non-raw state of the milk?

    Additionally, I brew my own kombucha tea. What are acceptable types/brands of tea for the most favorable outcomes?

    Warm regards.

  • Joan Tendler

    Thank you for your article-the A1/A2 milk issue is very important, yet very few people know about it. However, it might be confusing when you say: “BCM7…is present in both forms of beta-casein A1 and beta-casein A2”, so I thought I’d clarify it. Although the 7 amino acids of the BCM7 are present in both types of casein, it is only after digestion or prolonged heating that the opioid BMC7 is formed, and it is formed only from A1 cows, at least from what we know at this time. Woodford cites 2 groups of scientists that found no BMC7 in A2 milk after digestion, and one study that found a very small amount but the researchers said it was due to contamination with A1 milk.

    Again, thanks for your article-people really need to be informed about this so there will be a consumer demand for A2 milk in US grocery stores, like they have in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

  • CE Steinfeld

    Great and informative article! The milk debate lives on.

    Milk has become one of the most hotly contested beverages in modern food science and food policy. Overwhelming literature does show, that milk stagnates and weakens the digestive system and in addition, inflames the mucous membranes of the body (read "The Enzyme Factor"). We're learning that the purported calcium in milk, actually may block calcium from being absorbed in the first place. On top of that, the feds have been repeatedly cracking down and raiding on raw dairy farms across the country making that increasingly difficult.

    I've personally found a great local source of completely raw, cold processed whey protein that provides much of the same nutritive benefits including loads of glutathione (the mother antioxidant) and it's life enhancing properties are felt almost instantly after consuming.

    Cheers to our health!
    C.E. Steinfled

  • Phil Laesch

    Donna, I am very interested A2 milk. I am a former dairyman who milked Guernsey cows. The Guernsey breed has the highest % of a2a2 genotypes among the modern dairy breeds. My goal is to have a herd of all a2a2 cows and produce A2 milk, yogurt and ice cream. Currently in Wisconsin selling Raw dairy is against the law so we are working with Nordic Creamery to market pastuerized dairy products. The creamery is located neayr Westby, WI, which is 30 miles south of LaCrosse, WI

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Information and statements regarding dietary supplements/products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is a result of years of practice and experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.

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