Am I suffering from dairy intolerance?
It is easy to find out by asking your GP to perform some simple blood tests which will give you a direct answer to your concerns. These tests are a convenient way for people with hypersensitive reactions to address this issue, no matter how minor the symptoms may appear. However, some people may still suffer from milk intolerance even when tests do not indicate so. This often happens when the symptoms are only experienced in a mild form as the reaction may be too weak to reveal itself. The only way to ascertain whether dairy is causing impairment to the health is to eliminate it from the diet to see if symptoms improve. If they do, then it is likely that you are not dairy intolerant.
How does dairy intolerance develop?
It often begins to surface with a condition known as ‘Leaky Gut’. This is an ailment found within the lining of intestines which have been damaged. As a result, the permeability of the gastrointestinal wall is increased. This means that it is less able to protect its internal environment or to filter nutrients or other biological substances. Bacteria and their toxins, partially digested fats, proteins and waste products which normally would not reach the bloodstream, leak out through the intestines and cause the discomfort.
Leaky Gut Syndrome can develop in a number of ways including damage as a result of taking large doses of nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) or cytotoxic drugs. Some people develop this condition after being exposed to radiation or as a result of excessive alcohol consumption. Some sufferers develop a reaction to certain antibiotics or as a by-product of a poor immune system.
Finding out if food intolerance or leaky gut syndrome is the primary cause of the pain is akin to asking “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Many people find that when the gut is healed, the food sensitivity diminishes. However, food sensitivity could have been the cause of leaky gut. The only way to kill two birds with one stone is to cut out all foods which you suspect are causing the sensitivity. After several weeks, these can be re-introduced. If dairy products are the culprit, a permanent end can be found to the problem by nurturing a dairy free diet.
I have heard of casein but what is it?
Casein is the main protein found cow’s milk. It is obtained via filtration and is rich in bioactive peptides which are in effect, protein fragments. These fragments have a positive impact on health and support a healthy immune system along with increased muscle growth. The other 20% of protein is made from a substance called whey.
Casein is often responsible for dairy allergies or dairy intolerance although many confuse such symptoms as being lactose intolerant. Whilst it is easy to think that milk as a whole is the culprit, many are unaware that it may just the casein which is causing the feelings of ill health. As a result, foods which do not contain casein could still be enjoyed and dairy products per se may not have to be eliminated from the diet. Cheese for example, is laden with accelerated levels of casein, especially hard cheese.
Whey is also a term I am familiar with but what is it?
Whey makes up to one fifth (20%) of cow’s milk and in is in effect, the leftovers which remain from cheese making. In terms of goodness, it is a highly nutritious and soluble protein
How many people suffer from dairy intolerance?
Globally, up to ¾ of the world’s population is dairy intolerant.
Are food allergies equally as widespread?
Surprisingly not, true milk allergies affect less than 1% of children. Two out of three show symptoms of dairy allergies as infants but as they mature, the symptoms decrease and are usually absent by the time that a child reaches six years of age.
On average, how many people are likely to become lactose intolerant?
With lactose intolerant being defined as “the inability to digest lactose” 75% of the world’s population will suffer from this condition. This equates to three in every four people who live with this challenging but not life-threatening condition.
How widespread is casein intolerance?
The figures are low and equate to less than 3%.
Can you confirm if eggs are a dairy product?
Eggs are definitely not classed as dairy products. They are not considered dairy because they do not contain lactose. Therefore, they are completely safe to be consumed by those who suffer from milk allergies. Having said that, some people who suffer from dairy allergies experience the double-edged sword of being allergic to both eggs and dairy.