Many people ask the same question: what is an allergy and what is an intolerance? Well, if you have undergone intolerance testing with TMI Testing, then you will know by now. If you are considering getting tested with TMI Testing, then continue to read on, as we explain what the benefits are of intolerance testing and allergy testing.
Allergies and Intolerances
The terminology used for allergies and intolerances is frequently applied in an interchangeable manner. This is wrong, however, as an allergy and an intolerance are completely different. This is particularly relevant when discussing a milk allergy, milk intolerance and lactose intolerance. Whilst a milk allergy and a milk intolerance are immune-mediated requiring blood allergy testing or intolerance testing, lactose intolerance is enzyme-mediated meaning symptoms occur due to an insufficiency of the enzyme lactase and in this case, a breath test is required. Think you may have any of these? Intolerance testing can help.
Lactose intolerance is an inability to break down the sugar element, lactose, in the milk due to an insufficiency of the enzyme lactase. There is an inability within the body to break down and absorb the lactose results in the production of gases, hydrogen and methane. In turn, these gases are exhaled and levels can, therefore, be tested to identify the subsequent symptoms and conditions.
Whilst milk allergies, milk intolerances and lactose intolerance can result in similar symptoms, they are not the same. A milk allergy can be life-threatening, an intolerance can be nauseating and consistent, whilst causing the body severe pain. So, if you are suffering from headaches, constant fatigue and are feeling nauseous on a regular basis, then you may have an intolerance to milk or lactose.
The dietary implications of these conditions depend upon which one you have. With a milk allergy, it is recommended that you eliminate all milk products from your diet on an on-going basis.
In the case of milk intolerance, your results may indicate that you are intolerant to certain milk products but not others, for example, milk but not cheddar cheese. This is due to the differing levels of proteins and bacteria in the various milk products. An initial period of elimination of 4 weeks is recommended, following this you may be able to successfully reintroduce the items however this is an individual preference, and many people choose to continue abstinence or reduce their intake of the intolerant milk products as they feel better for it.
With lactose intolerance, it is not always necessary to remove all milk products, this is because certain milk products, such as aged hard cheese, butter or probiotic-rich plain yoghurt have very little lactose in them, but this depends upon the severity of your lactose intolerance.
Overall, in summary, there are some crucial differences between the three conditions. Milk allergy and milk intolerance are immune-mediated, meaning they produce antibodies against proteins in the food and can, therefore, be tested using IgE antibody allergy testing or IgG intolerance testing. Lactose intolerance is an insufficiency of the enzyme lactase resulting in the inability to break down the milk’s sugar and can be tested for using a breath test.
If you suspect your symptoms relate to a milk allergy or milk intolerance, then head over to www.tmitesting.com and have a look around our range of intolerance tests, all of which can help you to identify whether you have a milk intolerance or are lactose intolerant.