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Is Gluten Related To Dairy? Here's Everything You Should Know

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A common myth people have is that gluten is related to dairy. A remember a zillion types I have said my son has a gluten allergy and someone has turned around that means no wheat and no milk? A lot of people ask question on social media and have been misguided that “Off Gluten” means off milk.

Let me break both down in simple terms:

Lactose Intolerance is when the body is unable to digest the sugar in milk and this is called “lactose”.

This condition occurs when the small intestine doesn’t produce enough enzymes called lactase to digest milk sugar called lactose. Lactase turns milk sugar into two simple sugars glucose and galactose which is absorbed into the bloodstream through intestinal lining.

Lactose Intolerance is of three types primary, secondary and congenital or developed.

Primary is the most common one individuals who develop primary lactose intolerance start life producing plenty of lactase — a necessity for infants, who get all their nutrition from milk. As children replace milk with other foods, their lactase production normally decreases. Over a period of time can consume a certain amount of dairy or dairy products.

Secondary is this form of lactose intolerance occurs when your small intestine decreases lactase production. This is the kind you have if it’s linked to Celiac Disease or Crohns disease. This one can be out grown once the gut heals.

The last one is congenital or developed lactose intolerance. This is very rare but is often noticed in premature births as insufficient of lactase levels. This disorder is passed from generation to generation in a pattern of inheritance called autosomal recessive, meaning that both the mother and the father must pass on the same gene variant for a child to be affected.

Gluten Allergy is a reaction to wheat, rye, oats and barley. If you have full blown gluten allergy it is called Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is caused by a gene that gets triggered off either by a virus/ it is still being understood what really causes it. Celiac is an autoimmune disease that has no cure and you can’t grow out of it and requires nothing except a very strict “gluten free” diet for a lifetime. In a gluten allergy the small intestines get eroded and thus the nutrients leak out of your gut.

A person diagnosed with gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease may or may not have lactose intolerance and if the condition exists it is called “secondary lactose intolerance”. Once a person’s gut heals properly they can out grow the lactose intolerance partially or completely. In conclusion gluten allergy/Celiac Disease isn’t related to Lactose Intolerance. Lactose Intolerance can be out grown but Celiac is a lifelong situation. Lactose Intolerance is usually harmless and has no real life issues except it is uncomfortable.  A caution: very serious lactose intolerance does exist but the numbers are few.

The main reason both are mixed up is that some of the symptoms are very similar like bloating, nausea, stomach pain and diarrhea. A caution: that a lot of times Celiac Disease is misdiagnosed as a Lactose Intolerance. It is imperative to check your TTG and IgA if you have no relief from stopping dairy.

I will conclude by quoting “Knowledge is power until it is applied” Dale Carnegie

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