Allergy to lactose, seafood, peanuts, eggs, wheat, soy … Food allergy comprises a complex interaction between genetics, the intestinal barrier, the immune system, the microbiota, environmental factors, poisons and pesticides , in addition to excessive medications for animals that are consumed by humans. Among the foods responsible for allergies, cow’s milk deserves to be highlighted, as it is usually the first to be introduced in the children’s diet.
What is cow’s milk protein allergy (APLV)?
Allergy to cow’s milk protein (APLV) consists of an immune reaction of the person’s body to a cow’s milk protein. It is the most common food allergy in childhood, affecting between 2% and 5% of children . The symptoms are varied, and may be gastrointestinal, respiratory or skin.
In general, in the process of food allergy, the organism of some people, when in contact with certain proteins, recognizes them as foreign substances and starts to release antibodies in the blood stream, called GSE or inflammatory cells, which can cause these respiratory reactions, dermatological or gastrointestinal .
During exclusive breastfeeding , many babies with APLV may experience some symptoms, as these children are very sensitive and may have allergic reactions. This does not mean that they are allergic to breast milk, but that they are reacting to the small amounts of cow’s milk proteins that can be passed through the mother’s milk.
In this case, the pediatrician will advise the mother to suspend all dairy products and their derivatives from their diet . And, if this withdrawal improves the baby’s symptoms, it is very likely that the child will have APLV.
What causes cow’s milk protein allergy?
The cause of APLV is not completely clarified, it is known that several factors can contribute to its emergence, such as:
– Cow’s milk protein is a large, heavy protein and the baby’s intestine is still immature, causing inflammation in the intestinal mucosa. In this way, the first symptoms appear during the first year of life;
– Genetic predisposition (about two thirds of children with APLV have cases of allergy in first-degree relatives).
– Extremely careful families, with excessive hygiene , in such a way that children end up not having contact with any type of allergen and, therefore, the body does not have the need to develop its immune system, and this leads to greater susceptibility to allergic diseases.
– Ethnicity and changes in diet are other causes that can also be associated with the development of this allergy.
What are the main symptoms of APLV?
The signs and symptoms of cow’s milk protein allergy depend on the type of response of each person’s immune system, so they can be milder, moderate or severe.
Cow’s milk has more than 20 proteins, but the ones responsible for causing allergy are: casein, alpha-lactoalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin or whey . To combat this foreign body, the body begins to release a series of enzymes and substances in the form of a cascade, producing an allergic reaction that can vary from mild to severe.