new to the gluten free journey?


Is Dairy Sabotaging Your Gluten-Free Healing?

Research Identifies Dairy as a Problem For Those With Gluten Sensitivity

Many people embarking on a gluten free diet continue to consume milk, butter, cheese, and other dairy products without considering the correlation between dairy and a gluten free diet and the potential for having an inflammatory reaction. However; researchers have identified that dairy proteins can affect as much as 50% of those with gluten problems. This is one of the reasons I recommend both a gluten and dairy free diet for those diagnosed with gluten sensitivity. A summary of the research findings is listed below:

Patients with coeliac disease (CD) on a gluten-free diet may still have gastrointestinal symptoms. On clinical grounds, cow’s milk (CM) protein sensitivity may be suspected…A mucosal inflammatory response similar to that elicited by gluten was produced by CM protein in about 50% of the patients with coeliac disease. Casein, in particular, seems to be involved in this reaction. Source: Clin Exp Immunol. 2007 Mar;147(3):449-55.

Why You Should Consider a Gluten and Dairy Free Diet

In my clinical experience with patients, dairy is one of the biggest problems contributing to persistent symptoms of disease. The study above identifies the protein, casein, as the biggest culprit. 50% of the study participants had an inflammatory reaction when exposed to dairy.

There are many research findings and clinical observations as to why this can happen:

  1. Processing of dairy alters the casein protein creating a molecule that resembles gluten, thus creating an inflammatory response.
  2. Eating dairy processed with the enzyme, microbial transglutaminase (AKA meat glue), can increase inflammation and cause an immune reaction in people with gluten sensitivity.
  3. Cows are supposed to eat grass, hay, etc. They are not designed to process the huge quantities of corn and grain based foods that they are fed. Some would speculate that these grain based proteins might make their way into the milk, thus creating an inflammatory reaction.
  4. Leaky gut – gluten can cause intestinal permeability. When this happens, people often times become allergic to the staple foods in their diet. As milk is a major staple used by those on a gluten free diet, many develop an allergic response to dairy.
  5. Digestive enzyme deficiencies – those with gluten induced intestinal damage of long standing nature tend to lack the capacity to be able to break down the sugars and proteins in dairy (AKA – dairy intolerance). This type of problem can cause tremendous GI distress, gas, distention, bloating, and pain. The undigested dairy materials can putrefy (become rotten) while in the gut. This in turn can create secondary inflammatory reactions. This can also lead to disruption in the healthy bacterial counts of the gut. As these bacteria are largely responsible for regulating immune response and inflammation, disrupting their numbers is a common cause of GI disturbance.

There are a number of problems with mass produced modern dairy products.

  • The food for the cows are GMO (primarily corn and other grains)
  • Recombinant bovine growth hormone
  • Cows kept in tight quarters, little exercise, and exposed to massive quantities of antibiotics and hormones
  • Ultra pasteurization of the dairy denatures and destroys much of the protein and nutritional value.
  • For a more comprehensive breakdown on the topic click here ->> Is Dairy Safe On a Gluten Free Diet

gluten and dairy free diet

Should You Be on a Dairy and Gluten Free Diet?

I would encourage those with gluten sensitivity to be on a gluten and dairy free diet for at least 6 months when initially going gluten free. This will allow for the prevention of allergy development, but also allow for reduced digestive stress on the GI tract. Humans lose the ability to digest dairy as they age. If you want to use dairy with your gluten free diet, I would encourage you to follow these rules:

  • Insist that your dairy sources are grass fed only
  • Comes from animals who are not drugged with antibiotics and other stimulating hormones
  • Use dairy that has not been altered by the industrial enzyme, microbial transglutaminase
  • Buy from a local farmer
  • Buy dairy in the raw form. If you want to pasteurize it, you can do so on your own stove top.

What Can I Eat on a Dairy and Gluten Free Diet?

Eating dairy and gluten free doesn’t have to feel restrictive. It is important to pay close attention to food labels while shopping. Anything that has ingredients saying “natural flavors”, may be hiding dairy or gluten based ingredients. With that said, there are food items that are naturally dairy and gluten free. Fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, legumes, nuts, and seeds are all excellent options. As always, be cautious of cross contamination.

Tips for your journey

In order to eliminate gluten and dairy from your diet, you have to understand what kind of symptoms they can cause if you have an intolerance and where they are most commonly found in everyday foods. It is extremely important to continue to educate yourself on the foods that work for your diet and the foods that don’t. This will help you make better choices when you are eating in, shopping, or eating out at a restaurant. 

It is also important that you aren’t afraid to tell others your dietary needs. Communication is key when you are eating somewhere that isn’t your own home. Expressing your dietary needs to your friends, family, and restaurant staff will help ensure that you are eating foods that will support your diet. Plus, it will help you avoid any painful symptoms if cross contamination or mistakes occur.

Lastly, it is important that you monitor your symptoms to ensure that this diet is working for you. If you are recording your symptoms, you will be able to tell whether or not going gluten and dairy-free is working for you and that the cause of your symptoms isn’t something else. It may take a few weeks for you to see a difference, but after a few weeks if you are still having symptoms, it may be time to reevaluate your diet. If those symptoms are still occurring, you may have to start eliminating different foods until you find what works for you and your body.

Go and watch the Devil in the Milk interview with Dr. Ford here. For more research on dairy and gluten, click here <<<

Always looking out for you,

Dr. O – The Gluten Free Warrior

16 Responses

  1. According to Shari Liebermann, lactase, the enzyme responsible for splitting up lactose, is produced by the vili in the gut. If the gut is leaky, no lactase is produced. I found that switching to soya milk made no difference to my symptoms, as I am intolerant to soya, but lactose-free milk made them a lot better.

    1. Soya, or anything soy, is most likely Genetically Modified since soy is the number one genetically modified crop in the U.S.. Also, soy protein is VERY DIFFICULT for the human gut to break down. Also, soy is a phytoestrogen and is a thyroid suppressor. I’m NO FAN of soy! Try grass-fed raw Camel’s milk. Dessert Farms (Online) is the only place I know of.

      1. Kate,
        Lactase pills only help with lactose. Dairy has several proteins that are also problematic for those with celiac and gluten sensitivity. Dairy Shield is what I would recommend.
        All the best,
        Dr. O

        1. A2 milk is lacking β-casein. In Australia, they also sell a lactose-free A2 milk (but not in the US). As I am lactose intolerant AND casein intolerant, I drink A2 and take Lactaid tablets and I have no ill effects.

  2. Hemp nuts are a good option for making milk-like products. The problem with a lot of commercial almond and coconut products is the processing and added ingredients. Unfortunately, goat milk is not much better than bovine milk. All milk is produced for the nurturing of the young and contains genetic (mRNA, etc…) information intended for the species it originates from.

    Messenger RNA (mRNA) is a large family of RNA molecules that convey genetic information from DNA to the ribosome, where they specify the amino acid sequence of the protein products of gene expression. Consuming such from milk of other animals, interferes with our own genetic makeup.

  3. I’m so thrilled that a Gluten-free group is highlighting the dairy intolerance issue for Coeliacs and Gluten intolerant patients! Allelujah! After my Coeliac diagnosis in 2012, I was on a strict Gluten-free diet for 12 months and I felt no better. Worse than that, I suddenly developed the most punishing migraines that would last for 3 days without relief. I’m an Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist so I was perplexed that I could not effectively treat myself. I just had to slow down, take pain-killers and wait for the 3 days to pass. The onset of the migraines was becoming more regular – only 1 or 2 days between migraine attacks – while the severity was increasing and affecting my lateral neck muscles so that even lying down was not comfortable. After 1 year of these strange new migraines, I sought an Endoscopy and visited a Gastro Specialist. Well, the Specialist was useless and refused to accept the validity of the Endoscopy due to only 3 – not 4 – scrapings being taken of the Small Intestine. Can you believe it! After storming out of his office in tears, I took a close look at the Endoscopy I had brought along, and suddenly saw the words “Low Lactase Enzymes”, something the Doctor had not seen fit to highlight to me, as if of no importance! I put myself on a strict Dairy-Free diet, along with the Gluten-Free diet I had been on for 1 year already, and guess what? The migraines vanished overnight! Now I only get a hint of a migraine when I accidentally ‘dairy’ myself. I’m lucky that my reactions are so sharply differentiated: swollen throat for Gluten; migraine for Dairy, simple… I implore any Gluten intolerant patients reading this to simply do the Elimination/challenge test for Dairy: go off all forms for at least 3 weeks, then reintroduce a small amount, and observe your body’s reaction. Honestly it could be the missing piece of your Health Jigsaw puzzle.

  4. Thank you for The specifics on that relationship. I have recently gone off milk completely – did have an occasional cappuccino – but realized it’s not helping my leaky gut healing. I am on a TRUE gluten free diet as recommended by dr. Osborne.
    But I am Also getting more and more allergic reactions to foods including salads and vegetavles – nausea being the major symptom with upset stomach day after. It is Berit. Quite difficult but have throught that goat and sheep milk and cheese could be eaten as that was not cow casein – but apparently not ? Thanks

    1. Reactions from gluten are not the same as reactions from allergies. I think you may be confusing cause and effect. Your reactions to vegetables and such are most likely just because your digestive system is so inflamed at that moment when you eat it. But the gluten is at the root of the problem. Also, please realize that staying away from gluten is a complex and difficult task, much research is needed. Don’t just trust a doctor or nutritionist to guide you on this. Most in the medical field are still clueless as to the details when it comes to gluten issues. Just read a lot of what is on forums are saying… for the first three years, become a fanatic about staying away from grains, dairy (even yogurt and cheese can contain digestive irritants in the form of gums), legumes including peanuts, don’t eat things that are premixed, box mixed, package mixed… For the first three years the only way to be sure something is really safe to eat is to make it yourself and stick to one ingredient ingredients. Such as: a potato, an egg, a piece of meat, a vegetable…. nothing with a premade sauce or preseasoned or marinated… nothing from a restaurant or deli…. for three long years act like an over protective mother looking out for your gut. After that and a lot of reading and research, then you can determine how you choose to eat, and begin introducing things you think are safe, one at a time. Trust me, I’ve watched so many people go through these processes.

  5. Have ulcerive colitus. I fid it difficult to eat.
    No salad, no milk pruducts, no gluten free. So what is left to eat carbs. Really lauretta

    1. Do a lot of your own research. I personally believe many disorders such as yours and celiac disease are related. When the gut is inflamed and irritated, even damaged organs go along with this often, almost anything you eat might cause a negative reaction. You need to find nutritious food that you can digest, for me it was steamed yams, organic rice, earth 2 O water with micro nutrients in it. For three years I lived on only a small number of foods that I knew did not inflame my digestive system. In the mean time, I studied foods and digestive systems, and chemicals in foods, and how foods are manufactured…on and on I did my own research. Then when I felt healthy again, I carefully introduced foods into my diet. My whole family was sick, and I was working, and at that time no one even knew what gluten was. But now my family is strong and healthy, even my grand children have better nutritional lives because of what I did. The journey is difficult, but the reward is great.

      1. Is there any way to see your research? I would love to see it rather than do all the looking myself. Plus, sounds like you are particularly educated now about things and would recognize particularly good articles, etc.

  6. What is Gluten? And why is it dangerous in virtually all our foods? How can you avoid Gluten sensitivity if it is in virtually everything we eat? For instance I am suffering seriously from Eczema and it looks as if gluten might be implicated. I have eaten dairy including milk on my morning cereal, muesli, all my life and I am now aged 83. Is that why I have just caught Eczema 3 months ago?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sing up to our newsletter for 10% off your first order!

Receive the latest strain releases, exclusive offers and 10% OFF welcome discount.