Most people associate dairy related health issues with a condition called lactose intolerance. This condition is an inability to digest lactose (milk sugar) in dairy products. It leads to abdominal cramping, pain, gas and bloating, and ultimately diarrhea. This is a fairly obvious and easy to diagnose condition as the symptoms commonly occur immediately after eating a lactose containing food. Dairy’s negative health consequences are much more broad reaching than just lactose intolerance. Dairy allergies (completely different process than lactose intolerance) are much broader reaching in the population and the conditions associated with these allergies are often much more serious in nature as compared to lactose intolerance.
Dairy allergies are caused by a delayed immunological response against a protein found in dairy products. This delayed response can mean you might eat a dairy product one day, and not experience a symptom for several days associated with that dairy product. You could eat a piece of cheese today, and get a rash or sore muscle 5 days later from it. There is no immediate cause and effect with a dairy allergy and therefore they commonly go undiagnosed. Unfortunately there are no conventional medical tests currently that can identify delayed onset dairy allergies.
Common conditions associated with delayed onset Dairy Allergies:
Research money comes predominantly from Industry. There are few industries more powerful than the pharmaceutical industry and the food industry. Why would a pharmaceutical company provide research dollars to promote a dairy free diet to cure reflux, when they could spend that money on research showing how antacid medications can MANAGE reflux? Dairy as an unhealthy dietary choice is not a popular opinion with the industry powers associated with the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.
“WHERE ELSE WILL I GET MY CALCIUM?”
As mentioned earlier, we have an innate fear that if we don’t drink enough milk we won’t have enough Calcium in our diets for bone growth and health. This is usually the first question I get asked with I suggest a client may have an issue with dairy… “where else will I get my calcium from?”
Dairy products come from cows. These cows have a bone mineral density almost 4 times that of a human. These cows have enough calcium in their diets to produce this bone mass, AND enough extra calcium in the milk they provide for us so we can have adequate calcium levels. Cows are mammals just like humans. Physiological, hormonally and biochemically we are almost identical to them. Cows never drink milk after they are weaned from their mother’s breast milk and they have ample calcium in their system to provide to us. Where do the cows get their calcium from? They eat nothing buts grains and grasses. Think about that!
For most people, a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, etc can provide ample calcium for healthy growth and development. If someone has a metabolic or hormonal need for more, supplementation is a simple solution with none of the other potential health risks associated with delayed onset allergies.
In addition to the possible health issues associated with delayed onset dairy allergies, there are other significant concerns with dairy products and how they are produced. With the discovery and promotion of various hormone treatments in 1930’s and 1940’s, the dairy industry took full advantage and has since “medicated” the cows with various hormones and antibiotics to increase the beef mass and milk production mass from the cows, and to prevent infection in the cows to maximize their production. Unfortunately these hormones and other additives end up in the milk we drink and beef we eat. Dairy products are a huge source of “extra” hormone in our diets and can be associated with early onset of puberty in young women and other hormonal disorders through their lives. Although these concerns can be alleviated somewhat by choosing organic sources of dairy products, those products won’t alleviate the dairy protein allergy concerns mentioned previously.
Review the list of possible dairy issues above and ask yourself if you might be in the middle of your own “Dairy Dilemma.” Milk may NOT be doing your body good !
By Dr. Scott Woodworth, ND