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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Dairy products are notorious for their inflammatory properties and may aggravate different skin conditions. For this reason, people tend to switch to non-dairy products such as plant-based milk or cheese. I was not aware of the popularity of dairy-free milk had until I came to college. I was told that dairy-free milk was not as inflammatory, was a good source of calcium, free of hormones and did not agitate the skin as much either.

This all seemed great, so I decided to give it a try, and I consumed only almond milk for half a year. The first thing I noticed was my skin clearing up, and I was ecstatic because I had sensitive and acne-prone skin. However, I was concerned with the number of nutrients I was consuming, and I also missed the taste of regular cow’s milk because I had grown up drinking it.  

A friend of mine had the same sensitive skin as I did and recommended A2 milk. She mentioned how it helped her enjoy the taste of dairy milk while also consuming a less inflammatory beverage. Regular cow’s milk contains two variants of a protein called β-casein: A1 and A2. A1 β-casein produces the peptide β-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7), which is known to cause an increase in inflammation and gastrointestinal distress.

woman standing in front of a mirror applying cream
Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova from Pexels

A2 β-casein was not found to exert these effects. A2 milk is a 100% A2 β-casein while regular milk is a combination of A1 and A2. Additionally, A2 milk is a good source of protein, vitamin B12, potassium and calcium. It also has the same amount of calories and taste as regular milk. With this in mind, I took my friend’s suggestion and now have been consuming A2 milk for over a year. I have noticed a difference in my skin as I did with plant-based milk, and I am also able to enjoy the taste of regular cow’s milk just like I did growing up. It is the perfect choice of dairy for me. 

A2 milk is available in any grocery store, and it has different forms as well, such as whole milk, reduced-fat or fat-free. To conclude this article, I believe that any change in a nutrient group should be considered and thought out carefully. Plant-based milk was a great source of nutrients, but I did not see it as a long-term lifestyle change because I was not receiving the same amount of protein, nor was I too fond of the taste.

The switch to A2 milk is one that I am very happy with because I get to enjoy the taste of regular milk while sticking with an anti-inflammatory diet. I also want to add that although A2 milk was a form of dairy that worked for my skin, it may not always be the case for everyone. If you are lactose intolerant, diabetic, calcium-deficient or have any medical condition where your body requires a certain dietary change, then I recommend having a conversation with your doctor about possible changes in your everyday diet so you can find what works best for your body!  

Rea is a senior majoring in Biological Sciences on the Pre-Medicine track at VCU! Her favorite things include binge watching Netflix, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family! She is an advocate for women's health with hopes of becoming a physician in the future.
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