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acousticmom

Eliminating Dairy

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My 12-year old son (diagnosed 12/05) has been gluten-free for almost 2 months now. His GI advised that I limit his dairy intake for a few months, since it causes trouble for many celiacs, and that he may be fine with dairy after being gluten-free for awhile.

His horrible stomach aches totally stopped when he went gluten-free (thank God!), and he hasn't had any problem with dairy, so I haven't really restricted it. But I think I read somewhere about casein sensitivity as an autoimmune response, and I'm wondering if the dairy elimination is more important than I first understood. (I couldn't say what I read or where--guess I OD'd on gluten homework this week, because right now it's all mush in my head.)

Carol

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My personal theory is that it cannot hurt to give up the dairy. I don't have anything concrete to back that up except that dairy is hard for most people to digest. We are the only animals that consume milk beyond infancy and it causes digestive problems for many people.

I know that giving up gluten is hard and giving up one more major food group seems almost impossible, but I really think it's best to stick to simple foods while healing.

That being said, I have been lactose intolerant for years and was only diagnosed as gluten intolerant last year. After 4 or 5 months being gluten free, I seem to be able to handle small quantities of dairy ok. I still have not tried regular milk or ice cream (so afraid of what that will do to me) but I can handle yogurt and small amounts of cheese ok now.

I'd say, if your son can handle it, eliminate or at least reduce the dairy for awhile. Again, it can't hurt.

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I just figured out about 6 weeks ago that my 12-year-old son is lactose intolerant. He can drink lactaid milk OK but has very little tolerance for any lactose - he even has a problem with hard cheeses.

He notices the difference and chooses to avoid most dairy. The pills help but not with ice cream a lot, his one real dairy vice.

However, he has to make his own choice at school. He often picks the lunch item (I get a list from the cafeteria) with the least amount of milk in it.

That said, you can go dairy free for a few days to a week to see if there is any improvement and then add it back in and watch his reactions. If he is OK, maybe it isn't too bad for him - if he isn't OK (shows symptoms), then keep it out of his diet.

This doesn't sound like going gluten free because it is damaging his body, this is an intolerance that he may or may not have.

I am NOT a doctor and I am of the opinion that if it isn't damaging your body or making you sick, then why give it up???? and from what I have seen in the past, I am not in the majority on this board.

In addition, I have noticed that going lactose free for my youngest son (12) has not fixed all his problems - I think there is a gluten thing going on too and his asthma/allergist may be doing a blood test on our next follow up visit in March. That is, if I can wait that long to try him gluten free.

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This doesn't sound like going gluten free because it is damaging his body, this is an intolerance that he may or may not have.

That was my question. Is it just intolerance that we're concerned about? If that's the case, I'd agree that if dairy doesn't bother him, let him eat it.

But when I was reading about the different tests Enterolab offers, their description of the milk protein sensitivity test says a positive result means the "immune system considers cow's milk proteins foreign, causing a reaction that may damage the intestine and other tissues of the body."

I'm wondering--if you can have gluten sensitivity without symptoms, is it also possible to have casein sensitivity (and intestinal damage, etc.) without symptoms? Or does consuming dairy when you go gluten-free contribute to a delayed-onset allergy to it?

Carol

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Gluten damages the villi in the small intestine where the enzymes are to break down lactose. When the villi are damaged, individuals cannot digest lactose, which causes problems. Lactose shouldn't cause problems after the intestines have healed. However, some people with celiac disease though (like myself) appear to be intolerant to casein the milk protein. I've read that the structure of casein is very similar to gluten and it can be mistaken for gluten when injested, causing problems. I've also read that casein can also damage the small intestine. I hope this helps.

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I watch my dairy intake, I found that since I went gluten-free dairy bothers me..when I do eat small amounts I take a lactose pill..not the ones you can get at the drug store, they did nothing, I ordered some great ones online from a lactose intolerant site

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Guest nini

I had to eliminate dairy initially, but was able to reintroduce it after about six months of healing... I noticed I was lactose intolerant before the celiac dx, and my dr. said it would more than likely go away...

my thought is, if he's not having a problem with dairy, why eliminate it? You could always try a short term elimination trial and see if it makes any difference in anything, ie: concentration, or anything that may seem inconsequential at first...

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My 12-year old son (diagnosed 12/05) has been gluten-free for almost 2 months now. His GI advised that I limit his dairy intake for a few months, since it causes trouble for many celiacs, and that he may be fine with dairy after being gluten-free for awhile.

His horrible stomach aches totally stopped when he went gluten-free (thank God!), and he hasn't had any problem with dairy, so I haven't really restricted it. But I think I read somewhere about casein sensitivity as an autoimmune response, and I'm wondering if the dairy elimination is more important than I first understood. (I couldn't say what I read or where--guess I OD'd on gluten homework this week, because right now it's all mush in my head.)

Carol

I had trouble with dairy from infancy. In the last 25 or so years I figured I was lactose intolerant. In my testing for celiac (which I have) I also discovered I had casein sensitivity. This doesn't go away, and it can be just as damaging as gluten to the intestines. If your son has celiac or gluten sensitivity, it would be useful to find out if he is also casein sensitive. For me, dairy can cause exactly the same symptoms (perhaps even worse) than gluten does. It's a real pain to have to avoid dairy, but sometimes gluten and casein sensitivty go hand in hand. Not always, though. My mom, who has the severest form of celiac, has never had any problems with dairy, not even at the time she was diagnosed. Many people have trouble with dairy while their villi are in a damaged state, but after the villi heal the dairy problem goes away. Casein is different: it's a sensitivity you are stuck with for life.

We're all different, but my point is this: you need to know about the casein. Enterolab can do stool tests for casein sensitivity. If your son does not have a sensitivity to casein, then perhaps the issue is just a temporary one that freedom from gluten will eliminate eventually.

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