Begin At Birth

Allergies To Dairy Products


     The tendency to develop allergies begins early in life.  If we wish to avoid a lifetime battle with allergies, we must begin at least at birth with breast-feeding.  Human milk  contains up to six times as much vitamin E as does cow’s milk, and about twice as much selenium, according to Dr. Donald Money of Wallaceville Animal Research Center in New Zealand.

     Antibodies are substances produced by the body in response to the stimulus of an irritating foreign substance (antigen).  Since antibodies are proteins of the globulin fraction, antibodies are called “immune globulins,” shortened to Ig.  Deficiencies and surpluses of the immune globulins (antibodies) are related to allergies.

     Immune globulins are capable of serving many functions, only one of which is combating invading germs after they obtain entry to the body.  One immune globulin, IgA, is excreted in intestinal mucus, and is thought to provide powerful local protection against infection, particularly viral.  A high incidence of antibodies to milk proteins has been recorded in patients deficient in IgA.  The IgA system may function also to prevent absorption of antigenic material from the gastrointestinal tract.  Serums of nearly one half of patients with IgA deficiency contain precipitating antibodies to milk antigens.  A milk allergy is often manifested by persistently loose stools.  Apparently, however, not just the colon but the entire gastrointestinal tract is involved in the allergy, as eosinophil counts, the white blood cell that increases in allergies and sensitivities are found to be higher even in duodenal tissue.  It has not yet been demonstrated if feeding dairy milk in early life is the cause of the deficiency in antibodies; but it is known that the immune system is injured by too early exposure to animal protein.  Milk can permanently injure the gastrointestinal tract, and may be the offending agent in celiac disease, a distressing disease having sever abdominal and general symptoms.  Celiac disease is associated with food allergies in about one third of cases with the injury to the gastrointestinal tract being manifested by atrophic changes in the lining of the small bowel.  Annals Of Allergy  1953

     When an antigen from an outside source meets an antibody produced by the person, a chemical battle occurs in which the antigen is held in a clench by the antibody.  The clench is called a complex.  Infants given dairy milk have more circulating antigen antibody complexes than do infants not fed milk.  Breast-fed infants have been shown not to have circulating antigen antibody complexes, which are universal in dairy formula-fed infants!  Circulating antigen antibody complexes are capable of damaging various tissues such as renal tissues, blood vessels and joints, and can interfere with cellular immunity.  Such injury may predispose to serious degenerative disease such as arthritis, nephritis, or atherosclerosis later in life.  The child with recurrent runny nose and cough will often be relieved entirely of symptoms when milk and its products are eliminated from the diet.  Journal of the American Medical Association  November 7, 1966

     Attempts have been made to modify the manifestation of allergy types of diseases in infants by reducing the antigenic exposure during the early months of life.  Artificial formula feeding has been incriminated as a possible cause of asthma in infancy.  General anesthesia during the first two years of life may predispose to asthma and join with other factors to cause the development of other allergic types of diseases.  All elective surgery should be avoided to lessen the subsequent   risk of allergic respiratory disease.

     Several cases of occasional bloody urine have been reported to be caused by milk drinking in both adults and children.  Bloody urine invariably followed unboiled milk consumption in one child.

     A 5-month-old Chinese girl began vomiting blood clots.  Her symptoms cleared upon switching her from milk formula to Sobee (a soy preparation), and recurred within 48 hours of a trial feeding with milk.  Three such challenges with a test dose of milk were positive, and symptoms subsided following the discontinuance of milk  after each challenge.  Singapore Medical Journal  June 1970


     Six black children were reported to have failure to thrive, anemia, and pulmonary symptoms including wheezing and infiltrates in the lungs by x-ray, enlarged adenoids, and finally right heart failure.  They were found to have pulmonary hemosiderosis (deposits of blood pigments in the lungs) because of hyperreactivity to milk.

     Three patients with urticaria (hives) were shown to break out with skin lesions if they were fed as little as one-fifth of a teaspoon of milk.  For a long time, it has been believed by some investigators that the use of milk formula is somehow related to crib death (or sudden infant death syndrome.)

     Connecticut Health Department investigators recently sampled evaporated milks and found that all were contaminated with lead, containing an average of 0.36 ppm.  Milk samples from eight women living in the same area had no lead.  Hyperactivity in children has been associated with high lead levels in tissue and hair.  Hyperactivity is less common in breast-fed infants.  Treatments of all cases of hyperactivity in children should begin with removing milk from the diet.

     Milk allergy is not confined to childhood or infancy, but is very frequently seen in adults; the commonest type of food allergy in the United States today is milk allergy.  In adults we see nasal congestion, hay fever, asthma, middle ear afflictions, croup, headaches, dizziness, seizures, tension, fatigue, diarrhea, abdominal burning and pain, vomiting blood, loss of appetite, colitis, adult bedwetting, blood in the urine, pallor and facial swelling, skin allergies, itching and aching in the musculoskeletal system all associated with milk drinking.  The diagnosis of milk allergy can be made at any age, and is often delayed in onset, that is, it does not appear immediately upon drinking the milk or eating food containing dairy products or dairy by-products.  It is this particular characteristic of milk allergy that protects it from being suspected when one of the numerous symptoms of milk sensitivity appear in a child.  Apart from respiratory tract symptoms, the most frequently seen symptoms and signs of delayed-onset food allergy are probably headache, fatigue, pallor, dark shadows under the eyes, irritability and stomach ache.

     Longstanding painful shoulder has been caused by an allergy to milk and cheese in two patients, twelve years in one and twenty years in the other.  Headaches, fuzzy vision, and skin problems were associated symptoms in one of the patients.  Cheese was even more capable of producing symptoms   than milk. It is quite likely that many obscure symptoms in patients, causing much discomfort and disability, are related to food allergies—milk being the food most suspect as it is responsible for over half of all food sensitivities, all other foods together accounting for only about 40% of sensitivity symptoms.

A. & C. Thrash