Wonder whether you have an allergy to dairy OR whether you’re lactose intolerant?

We learned last week that there are many ways that we can react to the same foods, in this case, dairy.  Let’s discuss the three ways we can react to casein, the main protein in cow dairy.

These are the common symptoms of a “hidden” reaction (IGG antibodies in blood) to dairy protein:

  • Fatigue for no reason
  • Pinkish-purplish circles under the eyes (we call these “allergy shiners”) and many children have these!
  • Puffiness under the eyes
  • Horizontal creases in the lower eyelid
  • Chronic fluid retention
  • Chronic swollen glands
  • Chronic bloating and gas
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain, body aches
  • Acne, eczema, hives, itching, rashes
  • These reactions are usually delayed, up to 2 days after eating the food, and chronic.

Whereas these are the symptoms of lactose intolerance, which is the inability to digest the carbohydrate, lactose, in dairy foods:

  • Bloating
  • Pain or cramps in the lower belly
  • Gurgling or rumbling sounds in the lower belly
  • Gas
  • Loose stools or diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • These reactions are usually immediate and acute.

Now, here’s the tricky thing. All of the symptoms of lactose intolerance can also be caused by an IgA reaction. This type of reaction occurs in the lining of the intestinal tract, just like lactose intolerance does, but the treatment is very different.  That’s why testing is so helpful for successful intervention.

The symptoms we manifest and how we react to a food depends on the type of antibody we make, and where in the body we are reacting.

Here’s a quick summary:

  • IgE:  These are the immediate and acute