This time we have deliberately chosen a “wrong” title: in fact, there is no allergy to lactose. Yes, you got it right: lactose allergy does not exist , but allergic reactions can occur following ingestion of milk. Difference between lactose intolerance and allergy
Intolerance is a problem – digestive or otherwise – that is triggered following the intake of a certain food, often due to the lack of certain enzymes . However, it should be emphasized that it is almost impossible to scientifically prove that a person actually suffers from a certain intolerance . Conversely, the allergy is triggered by an adverse reactionof the immune system (immune-mediated). It is a scientifically provable manifestation: that is, demonstrable and repeatable.

  • Did you know…
    Generally, so-called lactose intolerances are caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase. Paradoxically, you can make up for this deficiency by taking your own fermented milk, such as kefir. Lacto-fermented foods, in fact, in addition to digesting any lactose present, are also able to supply the enzymes necessary for its digestion.

What is an
allergy A food allergy is a reaction generally caused by a whole food – and more rarely by some substances contained in it. There are reactions involving immunoglobulins (IgE) or not (non-IgE mediated allergies). People can experience completely different symptoms following the ingestion of the same food: the most common concern itching on the palate, localized swelling, gastrointestinal, dermatological or respiratory problems. In the most serious cases it can lead to the much feared anaphylactic shock . Why you can’t be allergic to lactose
The only form of allergy that exists towards milk is triggered byproteins contained in the food . These forms of allergy are so real that there is even an allergic reaction caused by breast milk. The immune system, in this case, reacts against different types of proteins: beta-lactoglobutyl, alpha-lactalbulmin and casein. Milk protein allergy
can be avoided It is possible to avoid the risk by bringing the milk to a temperature of 110 ° C. As a result of the heat, in fact, the proteins are denatured and made totally harmless . However, it is important to point out that, according to some hypotheses, it is advisable to completely eliminate milk from the diet. It should also be noted that by heating the milk , the enzymes necessary for its digestion are lost– such as lactase – and, consequently, there is still a risk of “intolerances”.

  • Did you know… According to a recent study [1], self-diagnosed
    cow’s milk allergies are 10 times higher than the clinically proven incidence, suggesting that a large portion of the population unnecessarily avoids dairy products. Avoiding dairy products, whether due to a real or perceived allergy, brings with it important nutritional consequences ».

How is lactose intolerance diagnosed
The only test that can prove it is the new breath test, specifically dedicated to lactose intolerance. During the test the patient has to take lactose, then in the next three hours he has to exhale into a bag in order to detect the quantity of hydrogen . This is because, in the event of malabsorption problems, lactose is fermented by intestinal bacteria, dramatically increasing the production of hydrogen that will be eliminated with the breath. The higher the hydrogen detection, the more severe the intolerance will be. All other tests are not scientifically proven , they are not repeatable and the conclusions of intolerance are often pure fantasy.

  • Did you know that …
    Populations that consume a lot of dairy products – such as Nordic ones – rarely have milk intolerances because the food itself contains the enzymes necessary for its digestion and because the body always keeps these components active. However, if milk is almost completely eliminated from the diet, it is very easy to suffer from intolerances because the body stops producing enzymes in the intestine , in this case lactase. All this greatly affects the correct assimilation of the food.

Cow’s milk allergy
The organism of subjects suffering from milk allergy activates particular defense mechanisms starting from the white blood cells which, once the milk has been ingested, release the famous immunoglobulins E. From this moment onwards every time a person takes the same food, the body “remembers” that food it has classified as dangerous and triggers an allergic reaction. It goes without saying that it is much more difficult to treat an allergy than a simple intolerance. In most cases, in addition to the symptoms localized in the oral cavity (itching and swelling), those suffering from milk allergy can have diarrhea, stomach pain and vomiting.
[1] J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Dec;24(6 Suppl):582S-91S. Cow’s milk allergy: a complex disorder. Crittenden RG, Bennett LE.
[2] J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2010 Oct;23 Suppl 3:76-9. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2010.512103. Cow’s milk protein allergy. Solinas C, Corpino M, Maccioni R, Pelosi U.
[3] Methods. 2014 Mar 1; 66(1): 22–33. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2013.08.005 PMCID: PMC3969108 Cow’s milk allergy: From allergens to new forms of diagnosis, therapy and prevention Heidrun Hochwallner, Ulrike Schulmeister, Ines Swoboda, Susanne Spitzauer, Rudolf Valenta
[4] Can J Gastroenterol. 2006 Apr; 20(4): 265–268. PMCID: PMC2659903 Hydrogen breath test for diagnosis of lactose malabsorption: The importance of timing and the number of breath samples Mauro Di Camillo, MD, Vanessa Marinaro, MD, Fiorenza Argnani, MD, Tiziana Foglietta, MD, and Piero Vernia, MD.

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