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Allergies Associated with Milk and Dairy Products

Many people have problems associated with milk and dairy products.  The typically symptoms you might experience include coughing, wheezing, hives, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, cramping, and bloating.  In some children, milk and dairy problems will also manifest as hyperactivity.  Now, keep in mind that if you have allergies to dairy products, that does not mean you are lactose intolerant.  In this article, we will provide information showing how the two appear the same but actually, are very different.  If you have any type of reaction after eating or drinking dairy, then you could very well have allergies.

If you suspect that milk and dairy products are the problem, then you should talk to your doctor to get a confirmed diagnosis.  Once this has been done, you will need to make adjustments in your diet.  For instance, you will need to start paying close attention to labels for all dairy products to include milk, cottage cheese, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, and so on, choosing products that are made without lactose.

Because the number of individuals with allergies to milk and dairy products is growing, we now see many more options on the market, making grocery shopping easier.  However, one of the challenges associated with allergies of this type is that foods are not automatically labeled as “milk” or “dairy”.  Therefore, we have provided you with a list of common terms seen on labels.

• Lactoglobulin
• Lactalbumin and lactalbumin phosphate
• Casein
• Sodium caseinate
• Lactose

Additionally, many of the foods you buy every day actually contain one of the above-mentioned dairy ingredients.  This means that if you have allergies to milk and dairy products and you eat any of the foods listed below, you would likely experience the same symptoms.

• Cake
• Au Gratin Potatoes
• Donuts
• Cream Candy
• Chocolate
• Custard
• Yogurt
• Ice Cream
• Margarine (not all, but some)
• Salad Dressing
• Pudding

The good news is that for people who are lactose intolerant, substitutions are available.  Over the years, these alternatives have been improved upon where they now taste quite good.  In fact, when cooking with the dairy substitutions, you can hardly tell the difference and some people even like the flavor better.  The substances listed below can be used for cooking, making ice cream, and even in place of drinking milk.

• Soy Milk (some people also have allergy reactions to soy)
• Almond Milk
• Rice Milk
• Non-dairy items such as chocolate, cheese, yogurt, ice cream

As you know, it is important to get enough dairy products in the diet as a source of vitamin D and calcium.  If you cannot tolerate these products, you can add other foods to the diet that will still give you the needed nutrition.  For instance, foods high in vitamin D and calcium include spinach and broccoli.  In addition, you might visit your local health food store, choosing a high quality supplement.

Lactose Intolerance

In this case, lactose, milk, and sugar cannot be digested.  The reason is that the body does not produce adequate amounts of lactase, a digestive enzyme.  This means that even a teaspoon of dairy product would have an adverse effect.  The undigested lactose stays in the intestines, drawing water into the intestines that causes diarrhea and becomes fermented by the colon’s bacteria, causing gas.  For this reason, a person who is lactose intolerant will typically only experience side effects of diarrhea and gas, although children often have more problems to include heartburn and vomiting.

Allergies to Milk and Dairy Products

With this, it is the protein in the milk that a person is reacting to, which includes whey and casein.  Although a person could be allergic to both, usually it is one or the other.  The symptoms of allergies associated with milk and dairy products are more involved, as mentioned earlier in this article.

With this type of allergy, the body’s immune system is reacting, trying to fight off anything harmful in the form of bacteria or viruses.  Keep in mind, the one thing that this allergy and lactose intolerance does share is that both remain undigested in the intestines.

Although adults do suffer from the many side effects of a milk and dairy allergy, we often see children with the highest number of cases and the worst reactions.  For example, if a child were allergic to dairy, you would typically see a reaction within 45 minutes.  The most common symptoms that he or she would present include hives, swelling, coughing, and in severe cases, even shock.  Obviously, in babies and small children, identifying allergies to milk and dairy products is crucial.  Again, if you suspect this is happening, see your doctor.  Often, switching the milk to goat or soymilk is recommended.
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