Do your children have frequent digestive issues, or other allergy symptoms, such as rashes, a stuffy or runny nose? Have you ever asked yourself whether these symptoms are related to lactose intolerance or dairy allergy?

These symptoms may indeed be related to a lactose intolerance or dairy allergy.

One basic difference between a food intolerance and allergy is that the immune system doesn't kick in with an intolerance.  For example, lactose intolerance is the result of a lack of the enzyme “lactase.” Lactase helps your body digest the milk sugar “lactose.” This is why some people can tolerate small amounts of dairy products without problems. Lactose intolerance is not a true allergy.

Fortunately, there are two simple tests to check for lactose intolerance. If one of these tests show that the problem is lactose, this will be much simpler to deal with.


Two tests can detect lactase deficiency. One is the Hydrogen Test, and the other is the “Lactose Tolerance Test.”

1. The Hydrogen Test

Pros – Simple to administer if the equipment is available.

The hydrogen breath test is the preferred method. It measures the amount of hydrogen in the air you breathe out.

  • You will be asked to breathe into a balloon-type container.
  • You will then drink a flavored liquid containing lactose.
  • Samples of your breath are taken at set times and the hydrogen level is checked.
  • Normally, very little hydrogen is in your breath. But if your body has trouble breaking down and absorbing lactose, breath hydrogen levels increase.

Cons – Doesn't readily distinguish the type of sugar that is not tolerated.

2. The Lactose Tolerance Test

This test is similar to the glucose tolerance test, which is given to test for gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

The patient drinks 50 grams (about two ounces) of a lactose containing beverage. If blood glucose rises, this means the lactose is being digested. If, however, blood glucose stays the same, this means the lactose is intact, a sign that lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose for complete digestion and metabolism is lacking.

Most people aren't born with lactase deficiency. It is more common for lactase deficiency to develop after “weaning.” Some ethnic groups are more susceptible to lactose intolerance probably because cow's milk isn't a common staple. For example, in Asian countries and Latin American countries.


A dairy, or cow's milk, allergy, on the other hand, is the result of an immune system reaction to one of the two proteins in cow's milk products.

IgE is the most common immunoglobulin reactant, however, IgM, IgA, and a few other immunoglobulins may react as well.

When a person has a true allergy to cow's milk* or other dairy products, they can't eat or drink them AT ALL.

Because both types of intolerance can cause digestive upset, including diarrhea, cramping, nausea, and vomiting, it can be difficult to tell the cause. Lactose intolerance is one of the most common intolerance. It is also the cause of much confusion.

For your convenience, I created a short e-book on the difference between lactose intolerance and cow's milk allergy.

Click here for the FREE Booklet, “Lactose Intolerance or Cow's Milk Allergy, How to Tell the Difference.”

Below is a delicious breakfast recipe that is completely Cow's milk free. Feel free to substitute any non-dairy milk for the soy and any type of nut butter will do as well.

Note that you can go into the free app on android or Apple and the QR code in the recipe will work for you.


Medline Plus Lactose Tolerance Hydrogen Test

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*Children and adults who are allergic to cow's milk are usually allergic to other animal milks as well, though not always. For example, goat milk is discussed as a potential replacement. However, besides the fact that goat's milk protein is also likely to cause an allergy in a person who has had an allergic reaction to cow's milk, there is the fact that goat's milk is deficient in the B vitamin Folate (folic acid).


Free Dairy-Free Milks & Milk Subs Guide




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