The harsh reality is that not everyone is able to enjoy our nutritious and delicious dairy products due to difficulty digesting milk. While we’re making a big change in the milk that we’re producing to help resolve this problem, another piece of the puzzle is helping people with digestive problems understand where on the spectrum their stomach issues fall. People who have trouble digesting milk could be lactose intolerant, dairy protein intolerant, or have a dairy allergy. While they may all seem the same, there are different problems and solutions to tackle with each.
Lactose Intolerant: Sometimes Used As An Umbrella Term
Most individuals who have trouble digesting dairy use the term “lactose intolerant” to encompass the problem, whether self-diagnosed or diagnosed by a doctor. Lactose intolerance begins when the body stops producing the lactase enzyme, typically after weaning off of breast milk at a young age. The prevalence of this enzyme can also be influenced by a genetic history of milk drinkers. The symptoms of a true intolerance to lactose include stomach pains, bloating, and irregular stool.
The only way to know for sure if you have lactose intolerance is by testing with the help of a doctor. A doctor can help you consume lactose that is isolated and not in milk to help rule out an intolerance to protein. They can either test the hydrogen levels of your breath, indicating a reaction to the lactose or measure glucose levels to see if your body is processing the monosaccharides in the lactose. If you’ve self-diagnosed and you find that taking a lactase enzyme doesn’t help your issue, there could be another problem.
Dairy Allergy: A More Serious Problem
While lactose and protein intolerances are more of a digestive system problem, a true dairy allergy is a trigger to the immune system to overreact to the proteins in milk that cause a different affect than an intolerance. This reaction reveals itself in ways similar to any other food allergy. Symptoms often include a rash or hives, congestion, respiratory restriction, or even anaphylaxis.
A simple blood test from your doctor can help you determine whether you suffer from a dairy allergy. Unfortunately, there is no alternative to solving a dairy allergy problem other than avoiding dairy altogether. Taking a lactase enzyme or drinking milk from cows that only produce A2 beta-caseins will not protect you from a negative allergic reaction.
Protein Intolerant: The Lesser Known Issue
Some individuals who consider themselves to be lactose intolerant could actually be suffering from a different intolerance, a protein intolerance. Just as some bodies have trouble breaking down lactose, others struggle to break down one of the casein proteins in milk. Because the symptoms of the intolerance are very similar, a protein intolerance is often mistaken as lactose intolerance. When the body is unable to process the A1 beta-casein, they often express symptoms of digestive problems just like a lactose intolerance but could also be accompanied by other general allergic reactions like a skin rash, congestion, and general fatigue.
The good news is, there could be a way to still consume your favorite tasty beverage without the negative side effects! We’re very excited to be part of the solution for those who are allergic to the A1 beta-casein in most cow’s milk brands. We recently shared our initiative with our partner farms to own herds of cows that produce only the A2 beta-casein, a more digestive-friendly protein. By eliminating the production of the protein that most individuals have a reaction to, they can get back to enjoying the natural nutrients of cow’s milk.
Milk can be one of the most nutritious whole foods available, but it’s more important to know what you can and cannot consume safely. While we wish the whole world could enjoy our great tasting dairy products, we would never want anyone to risk a severe reaction!
Here is some additional reading to know more about the various reactions to dairy that you could be experiencing and how A2A2 milk could help: