Characterics of milk protein allergy

What is allergy to milk protein?

Milk allergy is an allergic reaction that certain people experience when they ingest milk or milk products derived from milk, such as yogurt, cheese, cream, butter, kefir, etc.

We must differentiate milk allergy from other types of problems related to the ingestion of milk such as galactosemia or lactose intolerance.

Galactosemia is a hereditary metabolic disorder characterized by the inability to metabolize galactose from milk or milk products derived from milk. It is a very serious disorder that, if not treated properly, can even end the life of the affected baby.

Lactose intolerance is due to the inability to digest lactose, which is a sugar that contains milk. It produces disorders in the digestive system such as flatulence, diarrhea, etc. It is not a serious problem like the previous one and, above all, it does not cause sequels in the organism when it is properly attended to.

Differences between allergy and intolerance

An allergic reaction is produced by the defenses of our body, to find at the blood level proteins that are considered strange and that therefore, should not be in the blood. With which our defenses react against them and generate this reaction.

How to distinguish an allergy from an intolerance?

To distinguish an allergy from an intolerance, one of the most effective ways, especially if it is known that it has produced the discomfort, is to appreciate the time elapsed between the intake and its anomalous reaction. If this time exceeds the hour or hour and a half, it is not an allergy.

Who can affect milk protein allergy?

dairy products

Different dairy products that can cause milk protein allergy in some people

Milk protein allergy usually develops in youth. As affected people grow, it usually disappears. Between 2 and 5% of children around the world usually present this type of allergy. When you reach 6 years, almost 80% of those affected will have stopped being allergic.

  • It is very rare that milk protein allergy develops in a person when he or she is already an adult.

Although most cases of milk protein allergy resolve over time, some people retain this problem throughout their lives.

Causes of milk protein allergy

Milk protein allergy is a food allergy that occurs because the affected person does not tolerate milk proteins. As in other types of allergies, the body reacts negatively when it comes into contact with milk proteins.

The proteins that produce allergy most frequently are casein, alpha-lactalbumin and beta-lactoglobulin. Among them, casein is the main protein.

Casein represents almost 80% of the total protein. Rennet is obtained from this protein, and seroproteins (17% of total proteins) such as lactoglobulin, lactalbumin or immunoglobulins from which we obtain curd or fresh cheese.

The following table shows the protein content of the most important milks:

Protein content of the main types of milk per 100 g

Human milk

Cow milk


Goat’s milk

Sheep’s milk


Buffalo milk

Donkey milk


What types of milk cause allergies?


Cow milk produces the most cases of milk protein allergy

Strictly speaking, when we talk about milk protein allergy, we are talking about cow’s milk protein allergy or “allergy to milk proteins vaccines” (= APLV). This does not mean that the rest of milks can not produce allergy, although the cases of allergy to cow’s milk are much higher because it is the milk most used in human nutrition.

There are some studies that suggest that goat milk causes less allergic reactions than cow’s milk. However, these same studies conclude that it is better to perform the test individually to check how each individual reacts to a different type of milk.

Can allergy to cow’s milk protein be cured?

The allergy produced by the ingestion of the protein contained in cow’s milk can sometimes be reversible at a very early age, with the help of an allergy specialist to control the diet. It is not usually reversible after 5 years of age.

Attention: You should never try a reintroduction of a food that generates allergy, outside a hospital and the control of its specialists.

Does human milk cause allergies?

breast milk

Breast milk can only produce milk allergy in case of containing dairy food from mother diet

Many babies who only eat breast milk also have allergic reactions to the consumption of this type of milk. However, it is believed that these reactions produced by the mother’s milk are not due to the natural characteristics of this type of milk but to the mother’s diet.

That is, breast milk should not cause allergies but can do so because it contains cow’s milk proteins due to the dairy foods consumed by the mother. When the mother stops eating this type of food, the baby stops showing symptoms of milk allergy.

Symptoms of milk allergy

Among the main symptoms of milk allergy we have the following:

  • Reactions on the skin: eczema, urticaria, pimples, itching, redness, etc.
  • Reactions in the respiratory system: cough, sneezing, nasal mucus , respiratory problems, etc.
  • Reactions in the digestive system: diarrhea, flatulence, heartburn, gastric reflux, nausea, sores in the mouth and, more rarely, vomiting with blood.
  • Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis): Much more rarely a serious reaction may occur in which the body reacts after a few minutes or seconds after having ingested milk. It is a type of reaction so violent that it can compromise the life of the affected person if it is not treated urgently.
    • Among the most characteristic symptoms of this type of reaction are: tachycardia, mental confusion, fainting, disorientation, vertigo, breathing problems, swallowing problems, confused language, respiratory whistles, hoarse voice, muffled voice, bluish discoloration of the skin, swelling of the face or eyes, etc.

Diagnosis and treatment of milk allergy

In case of presenting any allergic reaction to milk or any symptom that may presuppose that it is some kind of incompatibility to this food, the first thing we should do is visit the specialist. This is especially recommended in case the affected patients are babies and, above all, babies who have stopped breastfeeding and have started the consumption of other milks.

It is very important to know if a person is allergic to milk because, although very rarely, in some more serious cases, an anaphylaxis reaction can occur that can even cause the death of the person who suffers it. This type of reaction requires immediate medical intervention to avoid possible complications that can lead to respiratory and cardiac difficulties.

Natural treatment of milk protein allergy

The natural treatment of milk allergy involves the use of natural resources that can complement the ordinary treatment, helping to prevent or improve the symptoms of milk allergy. Among them we have:

Suitable diet for milk protein allergy

Medicinal plant remedies for milk protein allergy

* Related information: Milk in intestinal diseases

punto rojoMore information on milk problems .

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

22 June, 2021

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