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Lactose intolerance is not a milk allergy — Health Matters – Standard Freeholder

Many people confuse lactic intolerance with an allergy to cow’s milk.

In fact , milk allergic reaction is not the same as lactose intolerance.

In order to understand the difference, one must know exactly what makes up cow’s milk. Common cow’s milk contains three fundamental components: protein, sugar – specifically lactose – and vitamins and nutrients like calcium.

When we discuss cow’s milk allergy, the most common food allergy in children, we imply one is actually allergic to the proteins in cow’s milk. In other words, the body reacts to the cow’s milk proteins, producing symptoms which can range from an allergy, difficulty breathing and swelling of the face and mouth area, to too much crying in babies, vomiting or even diarrhea.

What exactly is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is the intestine’s inability to digest the milk sugar “lactose. inch

Lactose in milk cannot be absorbed by the body. But ordinarily, everyone has an enzyme within their digestive system called lactase which stops working lactose into smaller parts which the intestine can absorb.

In cases of lactose intolerance, the lactase enzyme is either absent or even reduced, leaving the person unable to correctly break down the lactose and digest it. The lactose then continues to be in the intestine, causing the typical associated with lactose intolerance which include: excess gas, bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Permanent lactose intolerance rarely takes place in children, but as a person gets older, it can develop and in some ethnic groups, the rate of lactic intolerance in adults is quite high. Temporary or even transient lactose intolerance can occur, especially in kids, after a bout of gastroenteritis, which in turn causes a temporary decrease in intestinal lactase, but this usually resolves within a couple weeks.

Unlike lactose intolerance, a cow’s milk protein allergy can be very dangerous. This is why it is important to understand the distinction between these two conditions.

A person with cow’s milk allergic reaction should not be given any dairy products whatsoever. Babies on formula who have cow’s milk allergy are given special formulations containing no cow’s milk proteins. They are usually soy-based products or hyrdrolysate formulas. In this case, switching from one type of regular infant formula to another is not an option because all regular formulations contain cow’s milk protein.

Additionally , lactose-free cow’s milk or formulas should not be given to cow’s milk-allergic people because they need to completely avoid cow’s milk protein.

Most children will outgrow their milk allergy within the initial two years of life, but should have an allergy test before re-starting cow’s milk-protein containing diets. Every case varies and this is why it is important discuss these specifics with your physician.

Lactose intolerance is not dangerous but can cause discomfort. The treatment is merely to avoid consuming lactose which is easily achieved by using lactose-free cow’s milk and taking pills such as Lactaid or Lactease before eating lactose-containing foods.

In this situation, cow’s milk protein is not a problem and therefore need not be avoided.

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