Liggins Institute

aMiGo Pilot Study

aMiGo stands for a2 Milk for Gut Comfort Pilot Study. We’re trying to find out why some people are dairy intolerant and whether they can tolerate what’s known as a2 Milk better than regular milk. We’re looking for healthy women aged 20 – 30 years who are either intolerant to milk or fine with it to take part.

Glass of milk

What is the aim of this study?

We’re investigating whether it’s the proteins in milk that cause dairy intolerance, and if milk with different proteins causes fewer digestive problems. We also want to know what the digestive differences are for people who are sensitive to milk, but aren’t completely lactose intolerant.

If you take part you’ll learn more about your own digestive response to milk and whether you can tolerate different types of milk better than others. You’ll also be compensated for your time and effort.

Why is this study important?

Lots of people report digestive problems after eating dairy, but not all of these people are intolerant to the lactose in milk. Instead, sensitivity to dairy might be caused by the proteins in milk.

Conventional milk contains an A1 version of a protein called β-casein. In some people, this A1 protein causes inflammation in the small intestine and can contribute to lactose intolerance.

The A2 version of the protein breaks down differently and might not cause symptoms in people who are sensitive to the A1 protein. However, we still don’t know how the different proteins are digested and metabolised, or their effects in people who are sensitive to dairy.


Who can take part?

We are looking for:

  • healthy females aged 20-30 years
  • with a BMI between 18-28
  • and no chronic metabolic or digestive diseases
  • who are willing to give blood.

You can take part if you have no issue with dairy products OR if you are sensitive to milk (including lactose intolerant).

Please note, you can’t take part if you have a clinically diagnosed allergy to milk.

What does the study involve?

If you take part in the study, you’ll come to five three-hour morning visits at the Liggins Institute at the University’s Grafton campus, plus one short screening visit. At the first two visits we test tolerance to lactose with breath testing and blood sampling. At the next three visits we test your digestion of one of three different milks:

  • Conventional milk
  • a2 milk
  • Lactose free milk

You will need to fast overnight before each morning visit.


What do the tests measure?

We use blood, urine and breath samples to see how the different milks are broken down by the body. We measure how comfortable each milk is to digest using an MRI scan to see images of digestion as it happens, and we measure signs of malabsorption, which is when gut bacteria digest the food you eat rather than your body absorbing it. We’ll also measure how genetic differences might affect your ability to digest the lactose and proteins in milk.


How do I enrol?

To ask a question or to enrol in this study, please contact the study coordinators, Amber Milan and Aahana Shrewstha on . You can also call 9 923 4785 (Amber) or 022 1837 265 (Aahana).

The study runs from January until July 2017.

This study is funded through High Value Nutrition to AgResearch and in partnership with the a2 Milk Company.

dairy intolerant