December 26, 2008

Dairy and Allergies

(If you are a researcher and would like to use my ideas, please let me know. My info is in the Profile section.)

Dairy and allergies

It is widely believed that dairy increases congestion, and people with allergies, including myself and several I’ve talked with, notice relief from symptoms when we avoid dairy.

I searched PubMed and Google, but found only one study of the congestive effects of dairy. (Am Rev Respir Dis. 1990 Feb;141(2):352-6, accessed 12/25/08.)

“Those who believe "milk makes mucus" [~ 27.5%] or reduce milk intake with colds reported significantly more cough and congestion symptoms, but they did not produce higher levels of nasal secretions. “

The authors clearly believe the patients who felt more congested from drinking milk with a cold felt this way because they expected to, but I have a different interpretation.

Does dairy cause inflammation?
Inflammation in the sinuses or lungs feels like congestion. The subjects who felt more congested but did not produce more mucous may have been experiencing inflammation.

If dairy does cause inflammation, this would explain why people with allergies notice an increase in symptoms from eating dairy products. It would also explain why inflammatory diseases are common in America, where our culture has us eating dairy all the time.

My suggestions for more research:
- Determine whether dairy does cause inflammation. There are many people who avoid dairy, I’m sure several would be happy to volunteer. If dairy is determined to cause inflammation, answer these corollaries:
o Does dairy cause inflammation in everyone, or only some?
o If it causes inflammation only in some, what is the determining factor?

Does dairy cause allergies?
This theory is only partially developed. Something causes the immune system to react to normally benign substances.

Dairy food is not intended by nature for humans, it’s intended for baby cows. It’s not a natural food for us. Since it’s usually given to babies and children with immune systems that are still developing, could dairy be a root cause of allergies?
- There would have to be studies done on populations that do not feed their children non-human milks and compare the rate of allergies.
- Or, comparisons of allergies in genetically similar children who are and who are not fed dairy products.