Understanding Milk Allergies

A milk allergy is the body’s immune response to a protein known as ‘casein.’ Casein is most commonly found in cow’s milk, and milk allergies can also be a reaction to whey. Casein and whey are both present in cow’s milk and cow’s milk-based products such as sour cream, cultured cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. Most young children who have milk allergies tend to outgrow them, but lactose intolerance is present amongst many adults and older children. Lactose intolerance is the inability to break down lactase, one of the proteins found in milk. It is different than a milk allergy as it does not cause an immune reaction, but more of a digestive problem.

Avoiding cow’s milk may be difficult, but it is necessary to prevent the often severe allergy reactions and complications. Unfortunately for lactose intolerant individuals, cow’s milk and its derivatives are used in a variety of products that may include ingredients from the following list:

� ammonium, ammonium caseinate
� butter, artificial butter, butter solids/fat
� caramel color, caramel flavoring
� casein, caseinate, , calcium caseinate, hydrolyzed casein, iron caseinate, magnesium caseinate, potassium caseinate, rennet casein, sodium caseinate, sodium caseinate solids, zinc caseinate
� cheese, cream cheese and cream, curds
� high protein flour
� lactalbumin, lactalbumin phosphate, lactoferrin, lactaglobulin, lactose
� magnesium
� margarine
� milk, buttermilk, milk derivative, milk fat, milk protein, milk solids, skim milk, powdered milk, dried milk, dry milk solids, sour milk solids, hydrolyzed milk protein, sour cream solids
� whey, delactosed whey, demineralized whey, whey protein concentrate, whey powder
� yogurt.

Reactions from a milk allergy, or lactose intolerance, may range from hives, swelling of the lips and tongue, nauseau, vomiting, abdominal cramps, bloating, glazed eyes, shortness of breath, and even shock. It is imperative that those with milk allergies seek immediate care to take care of the allergic reaction as soon as possible. Complications that involve constricted breathing, rashes, and excessive redness of the skin are clear indicators of an allergic reaction in progress.

Since those with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy are not consuming cow’s milk, they will need to supplement their diets appropriately with enough calcium and Vitamin D. Soy milk is an excellent alternative, but some people are also allergic to certain properties of soy milk. Rice milk is also gaining popularity, and is a great baking agent as well. Calcium from foods can be completed with a supplement, and also increasing intake of greens, fresh seafood (check for allergies here too though, as most people with food sensitivities also have various seafood allergies), and eggs for Vitamin D.

Recipes and dishes can be manipulated to accommodate those with milk and whey allergies. The best approach is to use organic, fresh ingredients whenever possible, and substitute rice milk for any requests for milk. Rice milk bakes exceptionally well, and can be used for smoothies and other preparations. Althgouth there is no ‘cure’ yet for milk allergies, it is still wise to check all ingredients and ‘fine print’ on fast-food labels. There are plenty of opportunities for those who have milk allergies, are lactose intolerant, or who have food sensitivities, to accommodate for their health needs with the variety of brands, alternatives, and recipe substitutions available!

Avoidance is the best treatment for milk allergies and lactose intolerance, and antihistimaines are the only option available today to calm down any major allergic reactions. Do make sure to get regular checkups with your doctor, and report any strange reactions or experiences with particular foods. Allergies sometimes develop over time, so even if you did not have one as a child, it could be a result of another cause.

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