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Lots of discussions are taking place across the world about the differences between milk allergies and lactose intolerance these days, so we're here to set the record straight and clear up any possible confusion. To be clear: each of these illnesses share a very similar set of symptoms, but a milk allergy can be life-threatening, and detection from a trusted doctor/physician is strongly recommended for accurate and concise results.
Milk allergy is sometimes referred to as dairy allergy, but this term should be used with caution. Dairy is a category of products that contain cow’s milk. Since this is a product category – not a single ingredient (such as milk) – it is not listed in ingredient statements on processed foods. The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act requires that products containing milk list it as an ingredient, and so when teaching others about this allergy, using the term milk instead of dairy can help them better read ingredient labels. The term “dairy allergy” can also cause confusion with egg allergy since eggs are usually located near the dairy product case in the grocery store. Using the specific term – milk allergy – helps to eliminate this confusion.
Unlike food allergies, food intolerances do not involve the immune system. People who are lactose intolerant are missing the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products. As a result, individuals who are lactose intolerant are unable to digest these foods, and may experience symptoms such as nausea, cramps, gas, bloating and diarrhea. While lactose intolerance can cause great discomfort, it is not life-threatening.
There are three main tests a doctor may perform in order to diagnose your specific ailment, which include:
For both of these conditions, you’ll need to avoid or limit most dairy products, but it is important to make sure you are getting enough calcium.
If you have lactose intolerance, you may be able to tolerate small amounts of dairy. You can try hard cheeses and yogurt products, which tend to be lower in lactose than milk. There are also a variety of dairy-free foods that are high in calcium, including spinach, almonds, and dark leafy green vegetables.
If you have milk allergy, you need to read labels and avoid foods that have any dairy, including the ingredients casein, whey, lactulose, lactalbumin, and ghee.
If you or your child has symptoms that may be due to milk allergy or lactose intolerance, talk with your doctor. He or she can diagnose the problem and advise you on how best to avoid dairy while maintaining good nutrition, which is important no matter how young or old you are.
We recently stumbled upon this fantastic article written by Dr. Margaret Swenor via Detroit News about probiotics and gut health, and we couldn't help but share it with our viewers:
"While bacteria may be best known for causing sickness, it turns out they’re also vital to preventing it, and improving overall health and well-being. In fact, a normal healthy digestive system boasts an estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species – that’s our gut microbiome. Now, a growing body of research suggests that probiotics – commercially prepared beneficial bacteria – may help keep your microbiome healthy, boosting immunity and wellness, preventing traveler’s diarrhea, and helping you process antibiotics.
Gut bacteria break down the foods we eat into essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are then released into the body to provide energy. They also secrete substances that act as a defense system to protect the body from invasion of infections, as well as the insults of antibiotics and medications, poor dietary choices and exposure to environmental toxins.
Who wouldn’t want more beneficial bacteria circulating in their gut? Probiotic supplements may be the most common route to ingesting more healthful bacteria, but there’s a lot you can do to promote a healthy microbiome. Here’s how:
In addition to supporting gastrointestinal health, preventing and managing diseases ranging from infectious diarrhea to IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), some early, promising studies suggest probiotics and healthy prebiotic components may also protect against skin conditions, yeast infections, and allergies.
This is a rapidly growing field of modern medicine that yields more scientific questions than answers. But it’s possible that in the future probiotics will be one important way to prevent and treat disease.
A final note on supplements: If you have a serious medical disease or weakened immune system, talk to your doctor before supplementing with probiotics."
We recently discovered this wonderful article from Rodale Wellness detailing some of the lesser-known benefits of having probiotics into your diet, and decided to share it with our beloved readers.
"To put it simply: Bacteria follow the food you eat. The easiest way to manipulate your gut flora is by enriching your diet with a variety of probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are the actual bacteria that live in your gut. Prebiotics are the substances that the bacteria eat. Food sources are the best way to get both of these, since the diversity of the bacteria in supplements is not as smart as nature; your second choice could be a high-quality, specific-flora supplement.
Once you've established a healthy colony, you have to care for it. Just as you wouldn't plant a garden and not feed or water it, you can't just pour some kefir on top of a bad diet and expect those beneficial microorganisms to grow and flourish. You need to feed them! Fiber from a balanced diet is one way to nourish your gut microbiome.
Every day scientists are discovering more benefits of having teeming, diverse gut colonies. Some probiotic health and performance benefits we know for certain include:
1. Improved Energy
Probiotics and a healthy gut flora facilitate good and healthy digestion, allowing you to optimally absorb all the vitamins and minerals you need to perform and recover.
2. Increased Immunity
Research shows that probiotics is one of the most surprising ways to improve immunity and can help fight bad bacteria and fend off and reduce the duration of upper respiratory infections (such as the common cold) and gastrointestinal woes such as diarrhea. One particularly interesting study found that highly trained distance runners (who are prone to falling ill from overtaxed immune systems) had less than half the number of sick days when they pumped up their diet with probiotics.
3. Heat Tolerance
Though more research is needed, it appears that having a healthy level of probiotics also improves exercise performance in the heat. In one study, runners were tasked to run to exhaustion in a series of tests pre- and postprobiotic supplementation (specifically 45 billion CFU of lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and streptococcus strains). After supplementation, the runners improved their performance by a whopping 14 percent in hot conditions. It is likely that the gut lining is protected from damage, which allows digestion and the cooling system to function optimally.
4. Lower Inflammation
Research shows that probiotics can lower levels of inflammation in the body. This helps prevent numerous diseases and illnesses, including chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, as well as inflammation-based conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and irritable bowel syndrome.
5. Improved Well-Being
Probiotics have been linked to general health benefits of all kinds, including lower cholesterol; lower blood pressure; healthier blood sugar, body weight and body composition; and even better oral health. Healthy probiotic levels may also improve mood and some research finds that they may even help treat depression."
A bacteria found in breast milk and probiotic yogurt may be able to reverse some symptoms of autism, a study has found. The absence of a single type of bacteria in the gut has been linked to causing autistic traits such as problems with social interaction. But scientists discovered that by 'adding them back to the gut,' they were able to reverse some of the symptoms of the disease. The study follows previous research which found obesity during pregnancy could increase children's risk of developing neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism. Scientists from Baylor College of Medicine in Texas decided to explore the effects of probiotics, known to be good for gut health.
In the study, which used mice, scientists fed 60 females a high-fat diet, the equivalent of consistently eating fast food multiple times a day. After they produced young, the experts found the offspring showed behavioral deficits, such as spending less time in contact with their peers and not initiating mixing.
Researchers then tested the unique set of bugs, called the gut microbiome, to see if there were any differences between the gut bacteria of those on a high fat and those eating normally.
Dr Shelly Buffington, who was a co-author in the study, said their tests revealed 'clear differences.' 'The sequencing data was so consistent that by looking at the microbiome of an individual mouse we could predict whether its behavior would be impaired,' she said. They compared the mice by examining if the specific differences in the microbiome were the cause of social impairments in offspring of mothers fed a high-fat diet. Because mice eat each other's feces, the researchers housed the animals together so that they would acquire microbiota from their cage mates. The socially impaired mice born to mothers on a high-far diet were paired with normal mice and within four weeks the gut bacteria had appeared in the 'autistic' mice.
The experiment gave conclusive evidence that one or more beneficial bacterial species might be important for normal social behavior. It was found that one type of bacteria Lactobacillus reuteri - which is found in breast milk and probiotic yogurts - reduced more than nine-fold in the microbiome of mice born to mothers on the high-fat diet. But adding it to their water, restored their social behaviour.
'We cultured a strain of Lactobacillus reuteri originally isolated from human breast milk and introduced it into the water of the high-fat-diet offspring,' Dr Buffington said. 'We found that treatment with this single bacterial strain was able to rescue their social behavior,' Other behaviors related to autism like anxiety, were not reversed. But it was found that Lactobacillus reuteri did promote the production of the 'bonding hormone' oxytocin, which is known to play a crucial role in social behavior and has been associated with autism in humans.
Neuroscientist Mauro Costa-Mattioli, senior author of the study, said drugs or brain stimulation was what most research into the condition focused on and that this represented a 'new approach' and hailed the results as 'exciting'. 'Whether it would be effective in humans, we don't know yet, but it is an extremely exciting way of affecting the brain from the gut,' he said. 'We could potentially see this type of approach developing quite quickly not only for the treatment of ASD but also for other neurodevelopmental disorders.'
The study was published in the journal Cell. Content taken from the following article: