Food intolerances: 5 signs of allergy to milk proteins

What is milk white allergy?

Animal milk contains protein, also known as casein or milk protein. As a rule, this protein is well tolerated by us humans. Therefore, a milk protein allergy is one of the rather rare food intolerances. The body reacts particularly sensitively to milk proteins. Above all, cow’s milk proteins are often not tolerated.

Milk protein allergy is less common than the more well-known lactose intolerance. It is estimated that around 1-3% of all adults in Germany suffer from a protein allergy. Babies whose digestive tract is not yet fully developed are more likely to be unable to tolerate milk proteins.

Signs of milk protein allergy

A milk protein allergy can manifest itself in several physical ways. The immune system of those affected produces antibodies against milk proteins. The most common allergy symptoms include:

  • Stomach pain after eating dairy products.
  • Digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting, gas and diarrhea.
  • Itchy skin irritation in the form of a rash, redness or swelling.
  • Airway impairment due to runny nose and cough.
  • In rare cases, life-threatening anaphylactic shock can occur.

Good to know: Babies who are prone to colic or who refuse to eat may have a milk protein allergy.

Difference: lactose intolerance and milk protein allergy

People with lactose intolerance cannot tolerate the milk sugar it contains. The body lacks the lactase enzyme to break down lactose into individual components. In the case of lactose intolerance, the small intestine produces too little or almost no lactase. The result: lactose migrates in a shapeless form into the large intestine and thus causes symptoms such as abdominal pain, flatulence or diarrhea after consumption.

>> Test yourself: “Am I lactose intolerant?”

Treatment of milk protein allergy

A blood test can be used to determine if you have a milk protein allergy. The IgE value (allergic antibodies in the blood) is examined. In case of a general allergy to milk proteins, those affected should avoid cow’s milk and switch to plant products. The alternatives are therefore made with oat, soy or almond milk. If, on the other hand, you are allergic only to cow’s milk proteins, you can consume goat’s and sheep’s milk.

Allergy sufferers should also note that milk proteins are hidden in many products. Processed foods such as sweet baked goods, chocolate, sausages or ready meals in particular contain the protein. In order not to accidentally consume milk protein, those affected should carefully check the ingredients of finished products, use vegan alternatives, and resort to fresh, unprocessed foods.