Although the focus has been on Covid this last year… there are still other health issues that have not gone away. Many are improved with simple treatments and dietary changes and in this series I am going to look at some of the more common issues.
I know that many of you who follow the blog will have seen the following post before but for those new to Smorgasbord, I hope you find useful.
Last week I covered the differences between an allergy and an intolerance and also at some of the more common triggers for anaphylaxis.
This week a look at dairy, which does have many nutrients that the body needs, and for most of us… there is no problem in eating moderately (too much cheese and butter, whilst good for you, can put weight on).
The subject of eating fat has had us all going around in circles for years. One minute you need to dump it all and the next it is poor carbohydrates on the chopping block. I have written a number of posts on the subject. Unhealthy fats: Industrially produced fats and Healthy Fats: Essential Fatty Acids and Good fats
Milk or Dairy Allergy is surprisingly common but there is some confusion over milk allergy and lactose intolerance.
A dairy allergy is an immune response that results in inflammation and tissue damage and it can be exhibited in any part of the body causing a wide range of problems. It is an immune response to the protein, Casein, in Cow dairy products that the body perceives as a threat. It is very rare for there to be the same reaction to the protein found in Goat’s milk which is a different protein. It is usually a genetic problem passed down through the family. If someone is reacting to both the casein in cow’s milk and the different protein in Goat’s milk then it is more likely to be leaky gut syndrome where inappropriate proteins are escaping into the bloodstream and causing an allergic reaction. I go into more detail about leaky gut later but here are the protein specifics for cows and goats.
The difference between cow and goat casein profiles
Apha-s1 is the major casein protein present in cow milk and has been identified as one of the major cow milk allergens. By contrast the major casein in goat milk is ß-casein, and alpha-s2 casein is the main alpha casein present. Goat’s milk contains only trace amounts of an allergenic casein protein, alpha-S1, found in cow’s milk. Goat’s milk casein is more similar to human milk.
The most common symptoms associated with a Milk Allergy in babies are also very serious as they can include the anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) which is life threatening and has a very rapid onset. However all new mothers should be aware of the inability to thrive, constant crying, vomiting, wheezing, rashes and stomach upsets.
In children ear infections are very common – the reason being that the Eustachian tube which opens into the back of the throat is not fully developed in children and is easily blocked by mucus which provides a warm breeding ground for bacteria. The inflammation of the tube is usually caused by an allergy – most often dairy as this is usually the first foods after breast feeding or formula that a child will eat and drink.
There are a number of tests available to confirm milk allergy.
In adults these are the likely symptoms: sinusitis, heartburn/reflux, constipation, diarrhoea and irritable bowel syndrome.
Some others are as follows: Abdominal Pain – Acne – Anxiety – Arthritis – Cold Sores – Fibromyalgia – Gas Headaches – Heartburn – Indigestion – Iron deficient anaemia – Irritability – Joint Pain – Lactose intolerance – Osteoporosis – Poor immune function.
Dairy allergy relates to all types of milk from a cow, cheese, butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream – it also includes anything else which contains the protein casein such as whey and lactalbumin which are unfortunately found in many processed foods. If you suffer from these symptoms and use industrialised foods you need to read the labels very carefully.
Lactose intolerance is in fact an enzyme deficiency not an allergy – however lactose intolerance can be the result of a dairy allergy.
Lactase is the enzyme that digests the milk sugar lactose. People with lactose intolerance usually experience an upset stomach, bloating, gas and loose stools. Unfortunately these also mirror symptoms of milk allergy.
If someone has a milk allergy, damage can occur to the digestive tract which inhibits the production of the enzyme lactase therefore adding the lactose intolerance to the list of symptoms.
Milk allergy is estimated to affect 2% of infants and young children in the UK. That percentage decreases as the child ages and it rare to find onset after 12 months. Breastfeeding reduces the risk significantly. Usually 9 out of 10 sufferers will grow out of the allergy by age three. Obviously 1 in 10 children do not outgrow it and these are the children most likely to pass on the response to their own children.
This means that it is only likely to persist in those with a strong family history of allergies especially to other food allergies such as eggs, soya, peanuts or citrus fruits.
If someone is experiencing a severe allergic reaction to a particular food you are likely to see the following: Skin problems such as eczema and dermatitis, gastro problems such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Breathing problems such as wheezing, coughing, rhinitis, asthma.
Leaky Gut syndrome
In a normal healthy person the small intestine acts like a sieve only permitting the breakdown products of the digestion into the bloodstream. These include the obvious nutrients but also fats, proteins and starches – all of which are very well digested and the larger molecules such as bacterium and toxins are excluded.
As part of this process, Villi, which are finger like projections from the wall of the intestinal tract with even smaller hair like extensions called microvilli, serve as a point of absorption for nutrients. The essential nutrients that the body needs such as glucose, amino acids are carried through the microvilli into the cells of the villus via a transport system comprised of carrier molecules.
If someone is suffering from a leaky gut the intestinal lining has become inflamed and the microvilli become damaged. They cannot then produce the necessary enzymes and secretions necessary for the absorption of nutrients.
Normally there is a strong wall of cells which prevents the larger molecules containing bacteria and toxins to pass through, however when there is an area of inflammation this structure becomes weakened and these harmful molecules can pass through into the bloodstream. This provokes an automatic response from the immune system which produces antibodies (proteins that locate and attack foreign objects as they are seen as antigens).
If this was a one off, the body would cope with the invasion and the gut would return to normal, but if the intestinal wall is damaged and the process is on-going then the immune system is unable to control the leakage of toxins and they begin to leak back into the liver causing that organ to become stressed and overburdened.
I have featured The liver in a previous post but here is a little reminder of how important this organ is in relation to our digestive process and the way we react to the food we eat…
It is the largest gland in the body and plays a really important part in detoxification as well as having many other functions including: producing bile, containing bile acids, which aid digestion, filtering out toxins, such as drugs, alcohol and environmental toxins, storing glucose as glycogen, then breaking it down about 4 hours after a meal to be converted to glucose to regulate blood sugar levels, converting ammonia to urea and removing damaged red blood cells.
Leaky Gut completely overworks the liver because it floods it with additional toxins diminishing the liver’s ability to neutralise chemical substances. When it cannot cope with the level of toxins the liver expels them back into the bloodstream. The circulatory system then pushes the toxins into the connective tissues and muscles where the body stores them to prevent major organ damage. The liver doesn’t get the time to go back and rid the body of the toxins.
You then have a build-up of toxins in the tissues and major organs leading to inflammation and all the symptoms associated with allergic reactions. Including those of milk allergy and lactose intolerance.
In fact the person suffering from leaky gut usually test positive for a great many allergies, not because they are allergic to a specific substance or food but because their immune system is in overdrive – this leads to the chronic forms of conditions such as arthritis and asthma.
The biggest problem is that therapists and doctors will begin to remove essential foods and nutrients from the diet to try and overcome this massive reaction when in fact they should be treating the root cause which may be something such as – Candida Albicans. Starving the body of a broad spectrum of nutrients is not the answer, starving the Candida is.
©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021
I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.
If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021
Thanks for visiting and I am always delighted to receive your feedback.. stay safe Sally.