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  • Writer's pictureUsairam Tapy

Milk Allergy vs. Lactose Intolerance. Got questions?

Worldwide prevalence of lactose intolerance in recent populations

People sometimes confuse lactose intolerance with a milk allergy.

  • Milk allergy is a food allergy, which is an overreaction of the immune system to a specific milk protein like Casein. When the milk protein is ingested, it can trigger an allergic reaction that may include a range of symptoms from mild symptoms (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, etc.) to severe symptoms (trouble breathing, wheezing, etc.). People allergic to milk must not eat dairy products without permission of a medical person.

  • Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products. The small intestine—the organ where most food digestion and nutrient absorption take place—produces an enzyme called lactase. Lactase breaks down lactose into two simpler forms of sugar: glucose and galactose. The body then absorbs these simpler sugars into the bloodstream.

  • Lactose intolerance is a condition in which people have digestive symptoms—such as bloating, diarrhoea, and gas—after eating or drinking milk or milk products.

  • Dairy milk is made up of lots of different components, for example, proteins (such as casein and whey), milk sugar (called lactose) and fat.

More frequently the reasons for lactose intolerance are Lactase Deficiency and Lactose Malabsorption

Lactase Deficiency: In people who have a lactase deficiency, the small intestine produces low levels of lactase and cannot digest much lactose.

Lactose Malabsorption: Lactase deficiency may cause lactose malabsorption. Undigested lactose passes to the colon. The colon, part of the large intestine, absorbs water from stool and changes it from a liquid to a solid form. In the colon, bacteria break down undigested lactose and create fluid and gas. Not all people with lactase deficiency and lactose malabsorption have digestive symptoms.

People have lactose intolerance when lactase deficiency and lactose malabsorption cause digestive symptoms. Most people with lactose intolerance can eat or drink some amount of lactose without having digestive symptoms. Individuals vary in the amount of lactose they can tolerate. How much in general you can consume if you are Lactose intolerant - Please check the next post or Health section at

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