Casein Allergy

Casein Allergy: What Is Casein?

The word “casein” means milk protein. There are many types of caseins. The most common type is caseinate which is made from cow’s milk proteins. Other types include soybean, pea, hemp and rice caseins. Each type contains different amounts of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins).

There are two main types of caseins: caseinates and hydrolysates. Hydrolysates contain a combination of amino acids found only in the hydrolyzed form. For example, whey protein isolate contains all the essential amino acids while casein does not have any essential amino acids present in its structure. Whey protein isolate is a good source of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) whereas casein is not.

Casein is one of the most popular food ingredients used in dairy products. It is usually added to cheeses, ice cream, yogurt and other dairy products. Dairy foods containing casein are called casein-containing foods or CLA foods. They are often referred to as “milk alternatives.”

How Does Casein Affect Your Health?

Cases of allergic reactions associated with milk proteins have been reported since ancient times. At that time, these proteins were not separated from the milk. Nowadays, it is possible to identify and eliminate allergic reactions.

The most common symptoms caused by casein are:

The gastrointestinal tract can be inflamed by casein and this causes the loss of appetite and fatigue.

The respiratory system can also experience inflammation and wheezing.

Can You Be Sensitive But Not Allergic?

Yes, it is possible to experience a casein sensitivity without being allergic to it. You may have experienced such symptoms after drinking one glass of milk (or eating a plate of pasta). In such cases, you are experiencing a casein intolerance and not an allergic reaction.

Sensitivities can also lead to inflammation of the respiratory system and the stomach. There are many more sources of casein besides milk. These are usually hidden under different names on ingredient labels.

In general, having a casein intolerance means that your body has difficulty digesting caseins. This may lead to a number of symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, stomach upset and also skin problems.

There are many people with mild sensitivities to casein. They experience milder symptoms than those who have a serious allergy to milk proteins. It is common for people to have low-grade reactions to milk and other foods without even realizing it. Allergies are not the only potential cause of food reactions.

Most people have no idea that they are experiencing an intolerance to foods like milk. The symptoms are very similar to a number of other common problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Research shows that many people have a mild intolerance to casein. There are many ways in which you can deal with this problem. Some people cannot digest milk very well and suffer from stomach pain, nausea or diarrhea.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Safety of casein hydrolysate formula in children with cow milk allergy. by HA Sampson, J Bernhisel-Broadbent, E Yang… – The Journal of …, 1991 – europepmc.org

Cow’s milk allergy in adults is rare but severe: both casein and whey proteins are involved by HY Lam, E Van Hoffen, A Michelsen… – … Experimental Allergy, 2008 – Wiley Online Library

A potential role for CD25+ regulatory T-cells in the protection against casein allergy by dietary non-digestible carbohydrates by B Schouten, BCAM van Esch, GA Hofman… – British Journal of …, 2012 – cambridge.org

The challenge of cow milk protein allergy by EI El-Agamy – Small Ruminant Research, 2007 – Elsevier

… hydrolyzed casein formula containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG reduces the occurrence of other allergic manifestations in children with cow’s milk allergy … by RB Canani, M Di Costanzo, G Bedogni… – Journal of Allergy and …, 2017 – Elsevier

Delayed-Type Hypersensitivity Underlying Casein Allergy Is Suppressed by Extracellular Vesicles Carrying miRNA-150 by M Wąsik, K Nazimek, B Nowak, PW Askenase… – Nutrients, 2019 – mdpi.com

… cells specific for bovine αs1-casein from the same patients allergic to cow’s milk: Existence of αs1-casein–specific B cells and T cells characteristic in cow’s-milk allergy by H Nakajima-Adachi, S Hachimura, W Isea… – Journal of allergy and …, 1998 – Elsevier

Tolerance and growth in children with cow’s milk allergy fed a thickened extensively hydrolyzed casein-based formula by C Dupont, E Bradatan, P Soulaines, R Nocerino… – BMC pediatrics, 2016 – Springer