Casein is a phosphoprotein found in milk. Casein makes approximately 20% of cow milk and proteins. This protein is used in many other foods and it serves as a binding agent. Chemically, it is a salt of calcium, and it has no ionic change. Edible casein is used in medicine and various food products, but a significant number of people is casein allergic and may experience numerous negative effects after consuming casein containing food.
Understanding casein allergy
Symptoms of the casein allergy may resemble those of lactose intolerance but they are not the same. Casein allergy is an immune reaction to casein protein in which the human body refers to the protein as to the foreign substance. The immune system fights against the protein, trying to eliminate the reputed danger, and an unpleasant allergic reaction occurs. In food intolerance, the body can’t deal with a certain food properly, and the reaction is not connected with the immune system.
The best way to make sure if one is allergic to casein is to conduct at least two weeks long casein restricted diet. During this period patient should avoid casein containing foods and check the labels in order to confirm that the food is casein free. Patients should pay special attention not only to food products but also to cosmetic products, paints and bonding agents. It is important to understand that although a product may be labeled as a lactose free or milk free, it may still contain casein as a bonding agent. Soy cheese, for example, contains casein although it is milk free.Symptoms of casein allergy
Casein allergy may include a number of symptoms ranging from mild to severe ones. In some rare cases, patients’ life may be in danger. Most common symptoms include skin rashes, stomach cramps, bloating, hives and abdominal pain. It is not unusual for patients to experience a dramatic but unintentional loss of weight. In rare cases patients may experience an anaphylactic reaction that leads to the symptoms similar to asthma and rapid collapse in blood pressure or loss of consciousness.
Casein allergy is more likely to happen in individuals whose parents or siblings already suffer from this kind of allergy. The general recommendation to parents with family history of casein allergy is to avoid feeding their children younger than a year with milk and other milk products.
Medical treatment of casein allergy involves the use of Benadryl, Corticosteroid creams or ointment, and Epinephrine. The other part of treatment includes avoiding the danger of calcium deficiency. People allergic to casein can compensate sufficient calcium levels from other non-dairy foods like broccoli, nuts or sardines.