The Moo’D Study: protocol for a randomised controlled trial of A2 beta-casein only versus conventional dairy products in women with low mood

Meghan Hockey, Hajara Aslam, Michael Berk, Julie A. Pasco, Anu Ruusunen, Mohammadreza Mohebbi, Helen Macpherson, Mary Lou Chatterton, Wolfgang Marx, Adrienne O’Neil, Tetyana Rocks, Amelia J. McGuinness, Lauren M. Young, Felice N. Jacka*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Beta-casein is a major protein in cow’s milk, of which A1 and A2 are the most frequent variants. Recent evidence implicates A1 beta-casein consumption in mechanisms that are of potential importance to mental health, yet its possible effects on psychological endpoints remains unknown. The primary aim of the study is to evaluate the comparative effects of consumption of dairy products containing A2 beta-casein versus conventional dairy (i.e. containing both A1 and A2 beta-casein) on symptoms of psychological distress in women with low mood. 

Methods: ‘The Moo’D Study’ is a 16-week, superiority, 1:1 parallel group, triple-blinded, randomised controlled trial. Ninety women with low mood (Patient Health Questionnaire score ≥ 5) will be randomised to consume either A2 beta-casein only or conventional dairy products. The primary outcome, symptoms of psychological distress, will be measured by the 21-item Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale. Secondary outcomes will include symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, severity of low mood, cognition, gut microbiota composition, gut symptomatology, markers of immune function, gut inflammation, systemic metabolites, endothelial integrity and oxidative stress, body composition, perceived wellbeing, sleep, quality of life, resource use and cost-effectiveness. 

Discussion: This study will advance our understanding of the possible impact of milk proteins on psychological distress in women as well as elucidate mechanisms underpinning any association. Given dairy products form a substantial component of traditional and Western diets, the implications of these findings are likely to be of clinical and public health importance. 

Trial registration: The trial protocol has been prospectively registered with the Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12618002023235. Registered on 17 December 2018.

Original languageEnglish
Article number899
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


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