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SIDS, crib death, A1 milk and cows-milk-induced infant apnoea


As I have recently discovered, the risk of sudden infant death is very frightening for new parents - and grandparents. In my day, we were told to put our babies to sleep on their fronts, but now that is strictly forbidden along with co-sleeping, blankets and a whole lot of stuff that seems designed to make life harder for new mums. But what about milk? There is so much research and so little information passed on to parents.

The science

  • Breastfed babies have about half the risk of SIDS compared to formula-fed babies.
  • There is a naturally occurring component called BCM7 in ordinary (A1) cows milk that doesn't occur in A2 milk and A2 infant formula.
  • High levels of BCM7 have been found in SIDS near-misses - babies who stopped breathing and were saved.
  • High levels of BCM7 have been found to cause sleep apnoea and irregular breathing in rabbits and rats.
  • Some babies may be more at risk than others: the near-miss babies had lower levels of an enzyme called DPP4 that can break down BCM7 in the body.

The easiest way to avoid the risk:  avoid cows milk with BCM7        

  • When breastfeeding, the mother has to reduce her intake of A1 milk because BCM7 - and a similar component called BCM5 - can pass into her breastmilk
  •           Buy A2 infant formula if using formula

There is a report in a medical journal of a baby who was suffering bouts of apnoea immediately after breast feeding. The mother realised that these apnoea episodes occurred after she had been drinking large quantities of cow milk. Sure enough, when scientists tested the baby’s blood, they found extremely high levels of bovine BCM5. Other possible causes of the apnoea were investigated but those turned out to be negative. The researchers concluded that "such a situation occurs rarely ... however  ...

"it is accompanied by a real threat to the infant’s life that can be avoided when applying a simple and not costly dietetic intervention…[avoiding A1 milk]”

Australian doctors say there isn't enough evidence to worry about it, but Professor Keith Woodford doesn't agree (see links below). Nor do people in the rest of the world. China is a huge market for A2 milk. In Mexico and Romania, scientists are testing their dairy herds to make sure they can produce A2 infant formula.

The good news is that it is easy to buy A2 products in Australia. These must be 100% A2, not  a combination of A1 and A2 - see our  blog post When is A2 not really A2?

What about goats milk?

Milk from other species - e.g. goat, sheep, buffalo, yak, camel, donkey - is naturally A2 and does not contain beta casomorphins BCM7 and BCM5.
Milk from cows in traditional African and Asian herds is naturally A2 . It is only the European herds that contain A1 beta casein  proteins.
Some breeds of cows are more likely to produce A2 milk - jerseys and guernseys - but you can't be sure it is pure A2 unless it is tested.

Where to buy some A2 milk products

In Australia, we can buy A2 milk, baby formula, yoghurt and ice-cream in supermarkets
A2 infant formula, called a2 Platinum, in Coles, Woolworths, some IGAs and some pharmacies. https://a2nutrition.com.au/products/0-6-months/

a2 milk (and a2 milk full cream milk powder). https://a2milk.com.au/

A2 Jalna yoghurt (full cream and low fat).  http://www.jalna.com.au/products/a2-yoghurt.html

a2 ice-cream. https://www.woolworths.com.au/shop/productdetails/427416/a2-ice-cream-classic-vanilla

Meredith dairy sheep milk yoghurt and cultured goat milk. https://www.doorsteporganics.com.au/Sheeps-Milk-Yoghurt-Natural-Green-Lid-Meredith-Dairy-500g?&mxid=06DFC55DC2634157//121600715681/0///30696684281/c/pla-315705541604/1o1/9072280///pla/105692618/online/6756/AU/en/315705541604/&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrsLMuL7i2AIVkYuPCh1UbAbJEAQYASABEgKJRPD_BwE 

Mr Goaty gelato. http://mrgoatygelato.com.au/gelato-goodness/

The Camel Milk Co camel milk and camel milk powder. http://www.camelmilkco.com.au/index.php/our-products/20-dairy

Read more

Professor Keith Woodford and the science https://keithwoodford.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/bcm7-and-sudden-infant-death-syndrome/ and update https://keithwoodford.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/bovine-casomorphins-transferring-to-babies-via-human-milk/

Wasilewska J et al, Cow's-milk-induced infant apnoea with increased serum content of bovine ß-casomorphin-5. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2011;52(6):772-5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21478761 and this article about the study above, but note that Dr Greger is promoting a vegan diet so doesn't mention A2 milk as an alternative https://nutritionfacts.org/2012/06/21/cows-milk-casomorphin-crib-death-and-autism/

Factsheet on A2 milk

Blog post on When is A2 not really A2?

Australian doctors say there isn't enough evidence to worry about it http://www.smh.com.au/world/study-connects-sids-risk-with-infant-formula-20110415-1di05.html 


Sue and Howard Dengate do not own shares in A2 milk - unfortunately, because they have gone up a lot recently! - nor do we have any other financial connections to this industry, unlike many people who write papers downplaying the risks of A1 milk.  For more about how big money has influenced the Australian and New Zealand dairy farmers and governments to not change all our dairy herds asap to A2 - which would be very easy to do - see Professor Keith Woodford's book Devil in the Milk: Illness, politics and health, A1 and A2 milk

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Food intolerance

Some of the many symptoms of food intolerance that can be helped by diet:

Airways: Asthma, Stuffy blocked or runny nose/ nasal polyps, Frequent nose bleeds, Catarrh, chronic throat-clearing, Sinusitis, Frequent ear infections, Frequent tonsillitis, Frequent colds and flu, symptoms of Samter's Triad, hayfever, allergic rhinitis Skin: Eczema, Urticaria (hives), Cradlecap, Other skin rashes, Angioedema (swollen lips, eyes, tongue), Geographic tongue, Pruritis (itching), Rosaceae, Allergic shiners (dark circles under eyes), Pallor (pale skin), Flushing, Excessive sweating, Body odour, Sore vagina in children, Alopecia (patchy baldness) Digestive system: Irritable bowel symptoms (IBS), Recurrent mouth ulcers, Indigestion, Nausea, Bad breath, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Stomach ache, Bloating, Reflux in babies, adults, Constipation, Colic in babies, adults, Sluggish bowel syndrome (feeling of "more to come"), Encopresis, Soiling (sneaky poos), Dairy intolerance, Gluten and wheat intolerance, Eating disorders (ed), anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder (BED)  Bladder: Bedwetting, Daytime incontinence, Urinary urgency, Recurrent inflammation (cystitis) Skeletal: Growing pains, Gout, Arthritis, joint pain, arthralgia Eyes: Nystagmus (involuntary movement), Blurred vision Muscles: Low muscle tone, Myalgia (muscle pain), Tics (involuntary movement), Tremor, Leg 'jiggling', Heart: Rapid heart beat, Heart palpitations, Cardiac arrhythmias, Pseudo heart attack (feeling of impending doom, chest pressure, pain down arm), Tachycardia (fast heart beat), Angina-type pain, HHT Central nervous system: Headaches or migraines, unexplained tiredness, Chronic fatigue, Feeling 'hung-over', Confusion, Dizziness, Agitation, Tinnitus (noises in ear), HyperacusisAuditory sensory processing disorder (ASPD), Paraesthesia (pins and needles), Dysaesthesia (numbness), Hypoglycemia, Salicylate-induced hypoglycemia, Epileptic seizures, Fits, Sensory symptoms of multiple sclerosis, Scents and perfume sensitivity, Symptoms of lupus Anxiety: Panic attacks, Depression, Obsessive ruminations (repetitively focusing on bad feelings and experiences from the past), Self harm, Suicidal thoughts, actions, teeth grinding (bruxism) Impaired memory: Vague or forgetful, Unable to concentrate, Won't persevere, Unmotivated, Disorganised, Easily distracted, Difficulty reading and writing Speech: Loud voice (no volume control), Speech hard to understand, Speech delay, Selective mutism, Stuttering, Repetitive noises, Talks too much (empty chatter) Coordination: Poor handwriting, Poor coordination, Frequent accidents, Vertigo Sleep: Difficulty falling asleep, Restless legs syndrome (RLS), Persistent night waking, Insomnia, Nightmares/night terrors/sleepwalking, Sleepless babies, Sleep apnoea Mood: Brain snaps, Mood swings, Premenstrual tension, Grizzly or unhappy, Cries easily or often, Irritable, Uncooperative Oppositional defiance: ODD, Loses temper, Argumentative, Refuses requests, Defies rules, Deliberately annoys others, Blames others for own mistakes, Touchy, easily annoyed, Angry, resentful Other behaviour: ADHD, ADD, Autism, Aspergers, Inattentive, easily bored, unmotivated, 'Unable to entertain himself', Restless, fidgety or overactive, Head banging, Hyperactivity, Fights with siblings, Difficulty making friends, Destructive, aggressive, Unreasonable, Tantrums, Demanding, never satisfied, Disruptive, Discipline is ineffective, Pervasive Development Disorder

Some causes of food intolerance:

Food additives: Artificial colours: (food dyes, artificial colors) tartrazine 102 (E102, FD&C Yellow No.5), quinoline yellow 104 (E104), sunset yellow 110 (E110, FD&C Yellow No.6), azorubine, carmoisine 122 (E122), amaranth 123 (E123), ponceau, brilliant scarlet 124 (E124), erythrosine 127 (E127, FD&C Red No.3), allura red 129 (E129, FD&C Red No.40), indigotine, indigo carmine 132 (E132, FD&C Blue No.2), brilliant blue 133 (E133, FD&C Blue No.1), green S, food green, acid brilliant green 142 (E142), fast green FCF 143 (E143, FD&C Green No.3), brilliant black 151 (E151), brown, chocolate brown 155 (E155)  Natural colours: (colors) Annatto (annatto extracts, bixin, norbixin, 160b, E160b) Preservatives: Sorbates: (sorbic acid 200, E200, sodium sorbate 201, E201, potassium sorbate 202, E202, calcium sorbate 203, E203) Benzoates, hydroxybenzoates, parabens: (including benzoic acid 210, E210, sodium benzoate 211, E211, potassium benzoate 212, E212, calcium benzoate 213, E213, ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate 214, E214, sodium ethyl para-hydroxybenzoate 215, E215, propylparaben 216, E216, propyl 4 hydroxybenzoate 217, E217, methylparaben 218, E218) Sulfites, bisulfites, metabisulfites: (200-228, sulphites, sulphur dioxide, sulfur dioxide 220, E220, sodium sulphite 221, E221, sodium bisulphite 222, E222, sodium metabisulphite 223, E223, potassium metabisulphite 224, E224, potassium sulphite 225, E225, calcium sulphite 226, E226, calcium bisulfite 227, E227, potassium bisulphite 228, E228) Nitrates & nitrites: (249-252, potassium nitrite 249, E249, sodium nitrite 250, E250, sodium nitrate 251, E251, potassium nitrate 252, E252 Propionates: (bread preservative, mould inhibitor 280-283: propionic acid 280, E280, sodium propionate 281, E281, calcium propionate 282, E282, potassium propionate 283, E283, 'natural' preservatives in bread, cultured wheat, cultured dextrose, cultured whey) Synthetic antioxidants: Gallates 310, 311, 312 (E310, E311, E312), tBHQ 319, E319, BHA 320, E320, BHT 321, E321 Flavour enhancers: (flavor enhancers) glutamic acid and all glutamates, MSG monosodium glutamate 620-625, yeast extract, hydrolysed vegetable protein HVP, disodium guanylate 627 (E627, DSG, GMP), disodium inosinate 631 (E631, DSI, IMP), ribonucleotides 635 (E635, I&G, nucleotides)  Flavours: (flavors)  Natural food chemicals: Salicylates: salicylic acid, sodium salicylate, acetylsalicylic acid Biogenic amines: vasoactive amines (tyramine, phenylethylamine, histamine and others) Glutamates:  Natural foods: Dairy: milk, yoghurt, cheese, butter, lactose-free milks Wheat or Gluten: (wheat, rye, barley, oats) Soy: Sugar free sweeteners:Sugar free sweeteners: polyols, sorbitol, mannitol

On this website, failsafe refers to foods that are Free of Additives and Low in Salicylates, Amines and Flavour Enhancers. Note that copyright applies to the commercial use of the term "failsafe" in the food and health context so as to control inappropriate use by the food and health industries.