Casein is a protein found in milk, cheese and other dairy products. Protein powder supplements containing casein are identified as a "slow-acting protein," used to prevent muscle breakdown.1 What they don't tell you is that some forms of casein have been linked to a myriad of diseases, including cancer .
There are two types of casein protein, identified as A1 and A2 beta casein. The type of casein in foods and protein powders depends on the kind of cow it is derived from.
A1 has been associated with ill health and disease, but A2 has not. Why? Research shows a strong association between the consumption of A1 casein and various health problems. The World Health Organization (WHO) has linked A1 with increased risk of the following conditions: 2
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Type 1 diabetes
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
The most well-known controversy concerning casein comes from "The China Study" by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. The study suggested a possible link to cancer.
In these studies, researchers fed a group of rats isolated casein in an attempt to determine its effect on cancer cells . The researchers observed that increasing casein protein in the rats' diet caused cancer cells to activate and grow.3
A2 Corp, LTD of New Zealand now has the technology to can identify milk with the A2 beta casein protein. The company also sources and supplies A2 milk, with operations primarily in New Zealand, Australia, and now the United States (with plans to soon enter the Asian market).
An alternative would be to choose vegetarian protein.3
Because they are not derived from animal sources, plant-based protein supplements do not contain casein (though this also means you miss out on A2 casein).
Additionally, vegetarian protein supplements often contain helpful enzymes and probiotics . Due to their health benefits and nutrient profiles, vegetarian protein powders are perfect for building and maintaining lean muscle without the controversial effects of A1 casein.4
During Campbell’s study the aflatoxin-exposed rats were fed vegetable protein in place of casein. The results proved that they didn’t develop any cancer--even at the 20 percent level that proved so detrimental with casein.5
What You Can Do
The benefits of slow-acting casein protein supplements do not even come close to outweighing the risks involved. If you’re hunting for a healthy form of protein, take the time to research your options and make a safe choice. Many online resources are now available to aid in your search for green-fed dairy products.
Plant-based proteins offer a safe route, but they can be a bit expensive. Whey proteins, on the other hand, are affordable and available in a wide variety of flavors. When choosing a whey protein, be sure to avoid cut-rate options. The most beneficial whey protein will fulfill the following criteria:
- Contains little-or-no lactose
- Is A1-casein free
- Is not denatured (processed at low temperatures)
- Contains no sugar
If you're not sure which protein best suits you or your family, consult your Maximized Living wellness doctor. Or, you review the research articles on protein supplements and dairy products written by Dr. B.J. Hardick, co-author of the Maximized Living Nutrition Plans.