Lactose intolerance is a common concern. It’s become a catch-all term for several types of ‘allergies’ that can be aggravated by dairy products. What may be called lactose intolerance could in fact be a casein lactose intolerance.

What’s the difference?

Lactose is the sugar found in cows’ milk. When people experience bloating, diarrhea, and gas after consuming dairy products, they may be lactose intolerant.

cow milk

This is when your body does not have the enzymes that are needed to break down the lactose sugar, and therefore you react to it. To tell for sure, cut out all dairy products for 2 weeks or as long as the symptoms exist, then try to re-introduce the same products. Should it re-occur, then ditch those products and give your gut a rest for a week or two then introduce lactose-free dairy products. I am not an advocate of adding lactaid but your doctor may sanction its use.

There are some all natural products like yogurt, sour cream, and hard cheeses that are naturally lactose free and can often be tolerated.

Casein is the protein found in cows’ milk. The symptoms are very similar to lactose intolerance but can also be more severe. Some people have even gone on to having anaphylactic reactions.

Respiratory problems (coughing, wheezing, sneezing, runny nose) are also an issue here with casein intolerance. The symptoms are quite similar to those of Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. If you are casein intolerant you must avoid all dairy products, including many additives that are in many processed foods.  Note: Even products that are labeled “non-dairy” may in fact contain casein so know your products!

What about goats and sheep’s milk? Well, goats and sheep milk does contain both casein and lactose, however the structure of these are different than in cow’s milk and may or may not be tolerated well by those with lactose or casein intolerance. Safer alternatives to cows, sheep and goats milk would include rice milk, almond, hemp milk and coconut milk for starters.

Read your labels! Learn to muscle test!

Contact us to schedule a coaching session with Dr. Andrews to get the facts and how to address your dairy concerns.