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Is There A Difference Between Lactose Intolerance And Dairy Allergy

Foods High In Dairy And Lactose

Lactose Intolerance vs. Milk Protein Allergy – Dr. Elaine Barfield & Shara Wagowski, RD

Dairy products that you may want to eliminate if you suspect you have a dairy intolerance include:

  • Milk all varieties from animals
  • Yoghurt
  • Whey or casein protein
  • Hidden in products such as: bread, cakes, cereals, margarine, snacks, and dressings.

If, like many people, it appears more likely you are sensitive to the lactose present in dairy products you may be able to consume certain products from the above list, which are fairly low in lactose. These can include:

  • Butter
  • Certain varieties of cheese in small amounts, including blue cheese, cheddar, swiss cheese and parmesan
  • Casein protein

As we are referring to food intolerance rather than allergy it is possible you may be able to include small amounts of dairy or lactose in your diet without experiencing symptoms and are even more likely to be able to do so after an initial elimination diet.

You may also want to consider that milk from animals other than cows may not have as severe an effect as they naturally differ in composition.

Dairy Allergy Vs Lactose Intolerance: Diagnosis

Still not sure if youre dealing with adairy allergy vs intolerance? If learning about the differences between the two as well as each of their symptoms hasnt provided you with the answer, its probably time to take your sleuthing for a diagnosis to the next level.

Anelimination dietis often a good first step.

This involves removing foods from your diet that you suspect your body has a difficult time with in this case, dairy.

Ideally, you would eliminate dairy products from your diet for a period of 2-3 weeks. During this time, its important to take note of how you feel and how your body responds.

Next comes the reintroduction phase. During this period, you slowly bring the eliminated foods and beverages back into your diet while identifying any symptoms from reintroducing those products.

Additionally, if you think youre dealing with a dairy allergy or intolerance,Nutrition Response Testingmay be exactly what you need.

Nutrition Response Testing is a form of nutritional therapy that is used to discover the root cause of health-related symptoms so that your holistic health nutritionist can create a plan to alleviate them.

This is done by conducting a series of non-invasive muscle tests and recording a comprehensive health history of the patient.

Nutrition Response Testing is ahighly scientific and clinically proven methodof determining the underlying cause of many health conditions, including:

  • Hormonal imbalances

Testing For Lactose Intolerance

Lactose tolerance test: Youâll drink a liquid that contains a lot of lactose. About 2 hours later, the amount of glucose in your bloodstream will be measured. If your glucose level doesnât rise, youâre not digesting the lactose in the drink.

Hydrogen breath test: Youâll drink a liquid that contains a lot of lactose. Then, the hydrogen in your breath will be measured at regular intervals. If youâre not digesting lactose, it will be broken down in your colon, releasing hydrogen that can be detected in your breath.

Stool acidity test: Babies and children who canât be tested otherwise can have their stool tested for lactic acid caused by the breakdown of undigested lactose in the colon.

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Milk Allergy Vs Lactose Intolerance

Learn about the differences between milk allergy and lactose intolerance.

Milk allergy should not be confused with lactose intolerance.

A food allergy happens when your immune system overreacts to a specific food protein. When you eat or drink the food protein, it can trigger an allergic reaction. Symptoms can range from mild to severe . A food allergy can be potentially life-threatening.

Unlike food allergies, food intolerances do not involve the immune system. People who are lactose intolerant are missing the enzyme lactase. Lactase breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. As a result, people with lactose intolerance are unable to digest these foods. They may experience symptoms such as nausea, cramps, gas, bloating and diarrhea. While lactose intolerance can cause great discomfort, it is not life-threatening.

Living With Dairy Allergy

The Difference Between Lactose Intolerance And A Milk ...

If you have dairy allergy, youâll need to avoid all dairy foods and other foods that contain dairy products.

Staying safe means reading food labels to see if milk or ingredients containing milk are included. Milk proteins are found in many foods you wouldnât expect. Some canned tuna, energy drinks and even chewing gum contain them. And donât eat lactose-reduced foods if you have dairy allergy. They still contain the milk proteins that can cause allergic reactions.

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The Difference Between Dairy Allergy Symptoms And Lactose Intolerance Symptoms

According to Dr. Parikh, those afflicted with a dairy allergy generally experience a rash, itching, and swelling within 30 to 60 minutes of ingesting dairy. “This may or may not be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, dizziness, and loss of consciousness,” she says. When youre dealing with a sensitivity, such as lactose intolerance, symptoms are limited to gas, bloating, stomach cramps, and diarrhea, which appear within 30 minutes to up to two hours after eating dairy. There is overlap in terms of the possible gastrointestinal symptoms, but the key differentiator is with allergies youll also get those skin symptoms, Dr. Parikh explains. “Regardless, if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, its important to see a board-certified allergist to determine if you have a true allergy or not, as allergies can be life threatening. Sensitivities may be unpleasant, but they are not usually dangerous.”

Lactose Intolerance Vs A Milk Allergy: Symptoms

A milk allergy, or more specifically cows milk allergy , is the immune systems abnormal reaction to cows milk and related dairy products. Milk from sheep, goats, or other mammals can also sometimes cause an allergic reaction.

On the other hand, lactose intolerance is when theres not enough of the digestive enzyme lactase to break down milk sugars. Lets find out the difference between a milk allergy and lactose intolerance, their symptoms, causes, and how to tell which one your baby might have.

A few symptoms that a milk allergy and lactose intolerance have in common are bloating, gas, and indigestion. There are also some key symptoms that set them apart. Symptoms of a milk allergy can be more severe and require medical treatment. Lets find out more about the symptoms for each condition.

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Is Lactose Intolerance Curable

When lactose intolerance happens for genetic reasons, it canât be reversed. But sometimes, lactose intolerance can be caused by conditions like Crohnâs disease, celiac disease, intestinal infections, and bacterial overgrowth. In these cases, these conditions cause lactase production to decrease, so treating the condition could mean lactase production starts up again, and symptoms of lactose intolerance lessen or resolve.

The most common symptoms of lactose intolerance include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Gas

Generally, the intensity of the symptoms experienced correlates with the amount of dairy eaten. So some people with lactose intolerance may be able to eat a small amount of dairy without discomfort, but once they go above a certain threshold, they experience symptoms.

What Is The Difference Between Lactose Intolerance And Dairy Allergy

Milk Allergy vs. Lactose Intolerance Medical Course

There are several differences between lactose intolerance and a dairy allergy.

  • Lactose intolerance involves the digestive system, while a dairy or milk allergy involves the immune system.
  • Lactose intolerance is much more common than a dairy allergy. Its estimated between30-50 million Americansare lactose intolerant. While cows milk allergy is the most common allergy in infants and young children, most grow out of it. Researchers estimate about 6.1 million Americans have a milk/dairy allergy.
  • Lactose intolerance symptoms are typically less serious and less severe than dairy allergy symptoms.
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    What Do I Need To Avoid If I Have Either Of These

    Children and adults with a cows milk allergy must avoid all dairy in their diet as its important not to provoke an allergic reaction. Most people with an allergy to cows milk will also be allergic to goats milk. Dairy is an important source of calcium and protein, as well as other nutrients, in our diets. So its important that when dairy is eliminated from the diet we seek the advice of a specialist health professional who can help to ensure the diet is still adequate for all nutrients. Re-introduction of cows milk should also be supervised.

    People with lactose intolerance need to minimise lactose in the diet, rather than eliminate it. Most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate small amounts of lactose, such as the amount in a small glass of milk, but greater amounts may provoke symptoms.

    If you think your intolerance is temporary, try re-introducing more dairy into the diet while keeping a diary of your symptoms. If all is well, you can safely eat dairy products again.

    Foods with the most lactose are milk, ice cream, yoghurt* and cream. Cottage cheese, cream cheese and feta cheese contain more lactose than other cheeses matured or ripened cheeses such as parmesan, cheddars or camembert contain virtually none. Small amounts of lactose are also found in a wide variety of non-dairy products as it is often used in food processing.

    Key Difference Lactose Intolerance Vs Milk Allergy

    Lactose Intolerance and Milk Allergy are two different digestive problems, often confused to be the same as they sound similar though, there is a difference between them. Lactose Intolerance is defined as the failure to digest lactose, a type of sugar found in milk and to a lesser extent in all dairy products, causing abdominal side effects. A milk allergy is a type of food allergy in which, a person develops an allergic reaction against the proteins found in the milk or dairy products. This type of allergic reaction can lead to anaphylaxis or life-threatening circulatory collapse. The key difference between these conditions is that, the Lactose Intolerance is caused by the deficiency of an enzyme called lactase that is found in the mucosal surface of the digestive system while Milk Allergy is caused by immune reaction to one or more of the ingredients of milk.

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    Living With A Dairy Intolerance Or Allergy

    So, you or someone you love is dairy free. Now what? Some individuals who are lactose intolerant may still be able to consume dairy by using a product such as lactaid. This product is said to help break down the lactose found in dairy products such as milk and cheese to allow digestion without stomach discomfort. But for those with a dairy allergy or for whom this type of product is not effective, eliminating dairy may be the only option. That was the case for my husband who, in addition to being gluten free like I mentioned in my last post, is also dairy free. He has personally chosen to simply eliminate dairy from his diet and add very few dairy alternatives in its place. The number one dairy free item we use is almond milk. I have found it to be a great replacement in pancakes, waffles and baking, as well as for smoothies. I always recommend using the plain, unsweetened variety. Or, better yet, you can make it yourself as I have recently started doing after reading several articles about some questionable ingredients used in the name brand products. I have included the recipe below if youd like to give it a try.

    We also use rice milk , but, much less often. I find rice milk to be better for cooking as opposed to baking, such as for making dairy free mashed potatoes.

    How Do I Know If I Have One Of These How Are They Diagnosed

    The difference between a milk allergy and lactose ...

    In the first instance talk to your GP. For people who react to milk within an hour, an allergy can easily be diagnosed using a skin prick test or blood allergen specific IgE test. The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy specifically advises against other types of tests which are unproven. For people who react hours or days after having milk, diagnosis is more difficult and referral to an allergy specialist or clinical immunologist is recommended.

    Lactose intolerance can be tested using hydrogen breath testing following ingestion of lactose . If you suspect you may be lactose intolerant, you can reduce the amount of lactose in your diet. You may want to keep a food and symptom diary so you can investigate it properly, or get help from a dietitian or qualified nutritionist. If your symptoms are not eliminated, they are likely to be from something else.

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    When A Person Has A True Allergy To Cows Milk* Or Other Dairy Products They Cant Eat Or Drink Them At All

    Because both types of intolerance can cause digestive upset, including diarrhea, cramping, nausea, and vomiting, it can be difficult to tell the cause. Lactose intolerance is one of the most common intolerance. It is also the cause of much confusion.

    For your convenience, I created a short e-book on the difference between lactose intolerance and cows milk allergy.

    Lactose Intolerance Or Milk Allergy

    Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of an enzyme that helps digest the sugar in milk. Milk allergy, on the other hand, is an adverse immune reaction to proteins found in milk. They are completely unrelated conditions except that they share a common cause: milk and dairy products. Patients with lactose intolerance will have symptoms limited to the gut . However, patients with a milk allergy may present with respiratory as well as gastrointestinal tract issues.

    Symptoms of a milk allergy are usually seen immediately or within a few minutes following the exposure, but symptoms could also take up to 20 hours to appear. Symptoms of milk allergy are

    Milk allergy is potentially life-threatening and can be as severe as an anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal. If you suspect you or a family member has a milk allergy, then allergy testing is highly recommended, especially if they also have asthma. Milk allergy should be evaluated by an allergist. They will take into consideration the patients history, blood work and other diagnostic tools to diagnose a milk allergy and choose an appropriate course of action. With the use of immunotherapy treatment, it may be possible to try milk again. In these cases, a food challenge can be the final assessment of the tolerance of milk.

    Dietary differences:


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    What Causes Lactose Intolerance

    The body digests lactose using a substance called lactase. This breaks down lactose into 2 sugars called glucose and galactose, which can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

    People with lactose intolerance do not produce enough lactase, so lactose stays in the digestive system, where it’s fermented by bacteria.

    This leads to the production of various gases, which cause the symptoms associated with lactose intolerance.

    Depending on the underlying reason why the body’s not producing enough lactase, lactose intolerance may be temporary or permanent.

    Most cases that develop in adults are inherited and tend to be lifelong, but cases in young children are often caused by an infection in the digestive system and may only last for a few weeks.

    The Most Common Symptoms Of Milk Allergy And Lactose Intolerance

    Dairy-Free Diet: Day 1 – Lactose Intolerance vs. Dairy Allergy

    Do these conditions cause different symptoms? The common signs and symptoms of milk protein intolerance or lactose intolerance include digestive problems, such as bloating, gas, or diarrhea after consuming milk or dairy products.

    However, the consequences can even be fatal in milk allergy, depending on the patients sensitivity and immune system response. To determine whether a patient suffers from one or the other, the medical professional must ask them questions and they need to get specific tests done to observe their reaction to milk and dairy product consumption.

    Allergy sufferers must avoid consuming milk, as its been shown to be very harmful to their health. However, lactose intolerants can consume lactose-free dairy products.

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    Lactose Intolerance Test Measuring Hydrogen In The Breath

    Another type of lactose intolerance test is a hydrogen breath test. During this test a medical professional will ask an individual to consume lactose and measure the resultant exhaling of hydrogen. The more hydrogen that is exhaled, the more this suggests that the individual is lactose intolerant.

    People with lactose intolerance will have heightened levels of hydrogen in their breath. The additional hydrogen is produced by the bacteria in the colon when they encounter the lactose which the body has been unable to break down. This hydrogen in the colon is then absorbed by the blood where it is transported to the lungs and exhaled, where it can be measured as a test for lactose intolerance.

    Unfortunately there is no cure for lactose intolerance. However the symptoms of lactose intolerance can be managed.

    Will I Get Enough Calcium If I Follow A Dairy

    In general, dairy is one of our main sources of calcium, so cutting it out is obviously a big step. Many people worry that without their regular intake of milk and cheese that they wont be getting enough calcium, which can lead to things like osteoporosis and vitamin deficiencies.

    However, if your test results show that you have a dairy intolerance or allergy, YorkTests Nutritional Therapists will provide advice, tips and recommendations for your long-term health. Your consultation is a great chance to discuss dietary options and figure out a plan for taking control of your gut health in the long run.

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    Treating Your Dairy Intolerance

    Depending on which type of intolerance you have, your treatment options are slightly different, although both are best treated by simply avoiding milk or dairy products altogether. Most people with lactose intolerance can enjoy the occasional dairy product, but should still limit their consumption of milk to increase general digestive comfort. There are lactase enzyme pills that can be taken with food that simulate some of the enzymes you need to break down the lactose in the stomach. If you are allergic, on the other hand, then you should never consume milk or dairy if you can avoid it. Depending on how severe your allergy is, you may need to carry an Epi-Pen for emergencies or keep some antihistamines handy in case of a surprise allergic reaction. Allergies can worsen over time in some patients, so be careful to stay up to date on your allergy medications, even if you have not had a reaction in a long time.


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