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Casein Protein Intolerance

By Brady Williams

Food allergies can be found in adults and children and result when food triggers an abnormal response by the body's immune system, according to both Medline Plus and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. These reactions can be severe and can lead to death or illness. Medline Plus states that foods that are most likely to trigger allergic reactions in adults include fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts and eggs. Children are most commonly affected by eggs, peanuts and milk. Casein protein intolerance is a milk allergy that can cause a variety of symptoms.

Allergic Reactions

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, food allergies are common in people who have a family history of allergies. These reactions can be the result of a small amount of food that the body overreacts to. The AAAAI states that during an allergic reaction the body produces an antibody called IgE or clinically known as immunoglobulin E. The body simply cannot tolerate the food and fights it by releasing chemicals including histamine in an attempt to neutralize the allergen, according to MayoClinic.com. The Mayo Clinic website states that histamine is the cause of most allergy symptoms. In the condition of casein intolerance, the body reacts to the protein found in dairy and releases the histamine which causes the discomfort and the symptoms. This will occur each time casein is introduced into the body.

Milk Allergy

According to MayoClinic.com, milk allergies are common in children and can occur in both breastfed and formula fed infants. The staff at the Mayo Clinic state that milk allergies are caused by overreaction to milk protein. The two types of milk protein commonly involved include casein and whey.

Symptoms of a Milk Allergy

The Cleveland Clinic states the symptoms of a milk allergy caused by casein intolerance can include, Itching, hives, eczema, swelling, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, wheezing, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, fainting, or in severe cases anaphylaxis. These can occur quickly or even take hours to show up after drinking milk or eating dairy.

Risk Factors and Diagnosis

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology states that only an allergist can confirm the diagnosis of a food allergy. The allergist will perform a history and an examination to determine if risk factors exist. The allergist may also perform allergy skin tests to determine sensitivity to certain foods. The skin test will place a casein substance on the skin of the individual and will watch for a reaction including bumps, redness, or itching indicating an allergy.


The only true way to prevent a reaction from casein is to avoid milk and dairy products. In order to determine if a casein reaction is the cause of the allergic reaction an examination by a allergist is recommended. Milk allergies can become serious if even the smallest amount of casein is introduced into the diet. The Cleveland Clinic states that the Food and Drug Administration requires food manufacturers to list common food allergens on food labels in plain terms to make it easier to identify them.

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