Are you allergic to cows milk?

Are you struggling with eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, acne, asthma, IBS, colitis or Crohn’s? You might be allergic to cows milk!

Cow milk is the number one allergy among children and can persist throughout adulthood. Until recently, scientists believed that cow milk allergy was relatively rare in adults, especially when there were no symptoms suggestive of food allergy.

But a recent article in Allergy and Asthma Proceedings reported that more than half the adult patients with presumed “milk intolerance” weren’t just intolerant, but actually allergic to cows milk, as shown by an allergy skin test. Forty-three percent of the of the study participants had allergy symptoms which involved the skin (hives, eczema) nasal passages or lungs (asthma), in addition to stomach complaints. 1

This means that many more adults are actually allergic to cows milk than we previously believed.

So what’s the big problem with cows milk?

Most people who are allergic to cows milk are actually reacting to A1 casein, which is a protein found in cows milk. A1 casein is highly inflammatory for some people, and inflammation is at the root of most diseases. A1 casein can contribute to gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s, leaky gut and colitis — as well as autoimmune related skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and acne.

There are some cows that don’t produce A1 casein, like Jersey and Guernsey cows. But most cows in the U.S., Western Europe and Australia are Holstein and Fresian, which are A1 casein producers.

Cows milk also contains more than 20 other allergens that can cause allergic reactions. These symptoms – which are often confused for seasonal allergy symptoms – can range from hives and runny noses to abdominal cramping and colic in babies.

According to various studies, there’s a whole catalogue of other illnesses that can be attributed to cows’ milk, among them diabetes. A 1992 report in the New England Journal of Medicine corroborated a long-standing theory that proteins in cows’ milk can damage the production of insulin in those with a genetic predisposition to diabetes. 2

Major studies suggesting a link between cows milk and prostate cancer have been appearing since the 1970s, culminating in findings by the Harvard School of Public Health in 2000 that men who consumed two and a half servings of dairy products a day had a third greater risk of getting prostate cancer than those who ate less than half a serving a day. In the same year, T Colin Campbell, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, said that “cows’ milk protein may be the single most significant chemical carcinogen to which humans are exposed”. 3

Frank Oski, former paediatrics director at Johns Hopkins school of medicine, estimated in his book Don’t Drink Your Milk! that half of all iron deficiency in US infants results from cows’ milk-induced intestinal bleeding – a staggering amount, since more than 15% of American under-twos suffer from iron-deficiency anaemia. The infants, it seems, drink so much milk (which is very low in iron) that they have little appetite left for foods containing iron; at the same time, the milk, by inducing gastrointestinal bleeding, causes iron loss.

So what can you drink instead? Goats milk!

Goats milk contains only A2 casein, which produces none of these inflammatory effects caused by A1 casein. Protein-wise, goats milk is the closes milk to human breast milk. One study suggested that goats milk, when used as the first protein after breastfeeding, is less allergenic for babies than cows milk. 4

Goats milk is also easier to digest, high in calcium, low in cholesterol, helps to address iron and magnesium deficiency, improves your skin, and is a safe and natural way to treat osteoporosis.

The goats knew it all along! ; )

References:

  1. Thomas, James - "Milk Allergy May Be Masquerading As Milk Intolerance In Some Adults". Published by Health Central on April 2, 2013.
    healthcentral.com/allergy/c/3989/160106/milk-masquerading-intolerance
  2. Karpf, Anne - "Dairy Monsters". Published by The Guardian on December 13, 2003.
    theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2003/dec/13/foodanddrink.weekend
  3. Karpf, Anne - "Dairy Monsters". Published by The Guardian on December 13, 2003.
    theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2003/dec/13/foodanddrink.weekend
  4. Axe, Joshua - "Goat Milk Benefits Are Superior to Cow Milk". Published by Dr Axe on May 14, 2015.
    draxe.com/goat-milk

9 thoughts on “Are you allergic to cows milk?

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  1. Hi ,
    I have been living with psoriatic arthritis for the last four years – I was prescribed methotrexate which cleared skin lesions and reduced joint swelling , however after 2 yrs I decided to come off the drug –
    after about 6 months symptoms returned with less lesions but more joint pain + swelling – I am now back on methotrexate hoping it works again , but this time have altered my diet cutting out nightshades , and also wheat and lactose (dairy), as tests apparently showed a slight intolerance
    I am wondering how or if I could take kefir /bone broth etc whilst also taking this drug having seen your analogy to one foot on the gas/brake etc.
    ultimately I don’t want to be on the drug but the pain and swelling would stop me working if I wasn’t on it at this time
    I have tried having this conversation before with a Dr. but no joy
    many thanks for any suggestion

    1. Hi Dave – Methotrexate is an immunosuppressant, which shuts your immune system down. Kefir boosts the action of your immune system. So there really is no point in taking both at the same time. I do understand the difficulty of your situation, but can’t make this one any easier for you, I’m afraid – you’re going to need to jump one way or another. Some of our clients decide to give the kefir a 9-week trial, to see how they get on, figuring that they can always get back onto the immunosuppressants if needed. it’s a very personal decision, and one that should be taken in coordination with your consultant or GP. Good luck, and keep us posted – Best, Shann

  2. Hi,

    I’m allergic to many different proteins such as cow’s milk, eggs, and fish. If a person, like myself, is allergic to the all these proteins, do you still suggest that goat milk is safe to consume? I’ve had alternative cheese with casein ingredients in the past, and still suffered the same allergic reactions I do with the other allergens. It isn’t just subtle symptoms either.

    1. Hi Nina – It is possible, but very rare, for people to be specifically allergic to goats milk. It is considered hypoallergenic, which is why it is used for infants formula around the world. Many babies can tolerate goats milk, when they can not even tolerate their own mother’s milk. Whether or not you are allergic to goats milk is something you should investigate with an allergy test. Best, Shann

  3. Hello Shann,
    I had a test a few years ago and was advised to cut out cow’s dairy and wheat as an intolerance was suspected, but after three months, there was no difference in my health.
    I’m taking your kefir and using the skin care regime and the slight patches of eczema I had have cleared, and my acne rosaccea is much, much better. Yay for the goats! However, I have a really hard time with goat’s dairy (other than butter) and am wondering if I could use unsweetened oat milk and sheep’s yogurt instead. I’ve been taking a little cow’s milk in hot drinks, although I could manage to drink them black as long as they’re weak, and I’ve given up cheese which is hard for me as I’m vegetarian. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks, Chris.

    1. Hi Chris – Great to hear that you’ve had such terrific results on your eczema and acne rosacea! Oat milk is fine, as is sheep’s yogurt. I would really stay away from cow’s milk, as it triggers eczema. Best, Shann

  4. Hi,
    I am not a fan of goats milk, would you say Soya milk, coconut milk, almond milk is a good alternative to cows milk?

    1. Hi Shirley – I don’t recommend soya milk – it’s a thyroid interruptor – and coconut milk is full of saturated fat. Almond, oat or rice milk would be ok. Best, Shann