Many people who go gluten free also go on a casein free diet.  Casein is a dairy protein most often associated with cow’s milk consumption.  You might have read or seen information on the gluten/casein free diet (GFCF) on internet forums for parents who have children with autism, ADD, and ADHD.  Many of these children tend to see improvement when going gluten free and see additional improvement removing casein.

Many breastfeeding moms are told that their babies are allergic to their breast milk.  A recent study sheds more light on a possible mechanism behind this…

Cow’s milk proteins (CMPs) are among the best characterized food allergens. Cow’s milk contains more than twenty five different proteins, but only whey proteins alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, bovine serum albumin (BSA), and lactoferrin, as well as the four caseins, have been identified as allergens. Aim of this study was to investigate by proteomics techniques cow’s milk allergens in human colostrum of term and preterm newborns’ mothers, not previously detected, in order to understand if such allergens could be cause of sensitization during lactation. Term colostrum samples from 62 healthy mothers and preterm colostrum samples from 11 healthy mothers were collected for this purpose. The most relevant finding was the detection of the intact bovine alpha-S1-casein in both term and preterm colostrum. Using this method, which allows direct proteins identification, beta-lactoglobulin was not detected in any of colostrum samples. According to our results bovine alpha 1 casein that is considered a major cow’s milk allergen is readily secreted in human milk: further investigations are needed in order to clarify if alpha-1-casein has a major role in sensitization or tolerance to cow’s milk of exclusively breastfed predisposed infants.

Source: J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2012 Jul-Sep;26(3 Suppl):39-42.

The Gluten Free Warrior’s Comment:

Dr. Peter Osborne

Cow dairy is one of the most common allergens in the U.S.  Babies are no exception to this rule.  Milk is often viewed as an essential staple food for kids.  We have been told over and over again that we need dairy for calcium, and although dairy does contain calcium, there are many other foods rich in calcium as well.

Today’s modern dairy comes from genetically tampered with cows.  The casein in the dairy from these cows is resistant to digestion and has been linked to autoimmune disease.  The casein from these cows for many causes the same types of symptoms we see gluten cause.  This same type of casein is one of the most common dairy based protein allergies known.

In my clinical experience, I have never seen a baby be allergic to mother’s milk.  The typical scenario is that the mother is consuming foods that the baby is reactive to.  Once the mother changes her diet, the baby’s symptoms tend to dissipate.  The study above demonstrates that on of the most allergenic dairy proteins (casein) passes into mother’s milk.  The take away message is that if the baby is having allergy symptoms while breastfeeding, mom should look at her diet and make adjustments.

Common symptoms of allergy reaction in infants are:

  • Hives
  • Eczema
  • Colic
  • Chronic diaper rash
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Sneezing fits after meals
  • Chronic facial rubbing (can indicate itchy eyes)
  • Chronic gas

Bottom line – if you suspect that your baby is allergic to your breast milk, don’t stop breast feeding.  Instead look at your diet  for foods that could be a problem for the baby.  The most common food problems are gluten, dairy, sugar, beans or legumes, shellfish, and cruciferous vegetables. For more information on how gluten can affect children go here <<<

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Gluten Free Warrior Commentary

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5 responses on “Casein – Does Cow’s Milk Mimic Gluten

  1. Sindre Nygaard-Andersen says:

    I see that you mention cruciferous vegetables. I can understand that, because many people with gut issues, including myself have some trouble with those vegetables. Also they contain goitrogens, which can be a problem for people with hypothyroidism. And, I have to say, they doesn’t taste that great. The problem is if you don’t eat those vegetables, and you don’t eat dairy, it’s becoming pretty hard to get your calcium. This is really frustrating to me.

    • Christine Cassedy says:

      Hi! Have you tried nut milk on cereal or to make smoothies? I hope you can use almonds, cashews or walnuts as another way to get calcium into your diet since you don’t like certain veggies.

  2. Nilofer says:

    My two biggest migraine triggers are gluten and milk products. I too worried about not getting enough calcium so I drink a green drink every morning and make sure to have greens/veggies at lunch and dinner too. To make sure that I have enough calcium/magnesium I top it off by having 1/2 a tablet of New Chapter’s “Bone STrength” in the morning and evening. This is much less than the suggested dose but since I eat so many veggies, it is enough. It is sourced from algae so a whole food supplement. It also has D3 and K2 so should be absorbed properly.

  3. Becky says:

    I was certain that Gluten was my problem. Never ate much diary until quitting Gluten. Just got my Us Biotek allergy test back. To my surprise on on scale of 0-6 all diary and eggs was about a 5. Gluten/wheat came back at a 1. This was IgG pecans were high as well.
    Talk about confused.

  4. Carol Gutierrez says:

    How about goat or sheep cheese?

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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Peter Osborne, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Osborne and his community. Dr. Osborne encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.

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