Gluten and Casein Cross Reactions? Successful Reintroduction of Dairy?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 24, 2011 at 5:05 PM

What's interesting is that prior to the 30-day elimination I only rarely ate dairy because I thought I had lactose intolerance (gas, bloating) to ricotta, softer cheeses, and diarrhea to milk. Lactaid would eliminate these symptoms when I ate ice cream, larger amounts of cheese or milk. I did fine (No Lactaid) with grass-fed and conventional butter, ghee, kefir and yogurt, and no more than 1 slice of cheese. I also thought dairy was giving me acne so I eliminated milk at the age of 26 and my acne disappeared. I replaced my milk with unsweetened almond milk.

Then post-Paleo (30 day elimination of legumes, grains, all dairy except eggs) I reintroduced dairy including grass-fed milk, riccota (not raw, however). I've even had conventional dairy while traveling with no issues. (At home I have grass-fed only though).

I had no issues and felt great reintroducing dairy. It's been nearly 6 months and I have no GI or skin symptoms or any other symptom for that matter. I've been able to eat homemade ice cream (no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, gluten, etc.) with no Lactaid and no symptoms - it's a rare cheat dessert! The acne did not flair up and has not since.

I theorize the old lactose intolerance was a cross-reaction between gluten or some other grain/legume and dairy that gave me problems. Or maybe it was the gluten that aggravated it to begin with. I do have psoriasis that flares up anytime I'm exposed to gluten - in fact that's how I can tell I've accidently ingested it when eating out. Another possibility is that gluten, grains, and legumes damaged my gut to give me lactose intolerance and now that my gut healed I can redigest dairy.

When I was born I got bad colic from cow's milk but did better on goat's milk (my mother was medically unable to nurse me). I tested negative for casein sensitivity as an adult.

I kept a food log for nearly 6 months while transitioning to Paleo (and anytime I reintroduce a new food/eat-out currently I document it in my planner).

I was wondering if anyone else had this type of response or knows someone who did. Any thoughts?

  • 8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

    asked by

  • Views
  • Last Activity
    1858D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

3 Answers



on May 24, 2011
at 05:40 PM

In sensitive individuals the immune reaction to the gluten protein causes damage to the villi that line the small intestine.

It is the cells of the villi that normally secret the lactase enzyme. The damaged villi can no longer produce enough lactase enzyme to break down the lactose and so the lactose ends up in your colon to be fermented by the bacteria there resulting in gas, bloating and diarrhoea.

Damaged villi also reduces the surface area of the small intestine that can absorb sugars.

Lactose intolerance is common in people with celiac disease and usually resolves after a period of time on a gluten free diet.

This assumes you are not naturally lactose intolerant.

Regression of lactose malabsorption in coeliac patients after receiving a gluten-free diet.

In a recent study by our group, it was shown that a large proportion of patients with lactose malabsorption and with no bacterial overgrowth are affected by silent coeliac disease (CD).

The present study shows that a large proportion of CD patients experience a regression of lactose malabsorption after receiving a gluten-free diet. This may be related to normalization of the brush border with an improvement of lactase enzyme activity. LBT (Hydrogen lactose breath test) should be performed after 12 months in CD patients on a gluten-free diet in order to assess the persistence/disappearance of lactose malabsorption, thus avoiding an unnecessary lactose-free diet.



on February 08, 2014
at 08:27 PM

Here is a page on an actual scientific study on cross-reactivity. http://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperInformation.aspx?paperID=26626

Hope that helps. I just found it today myself.



on September 27, 2011
at 07:51 PM

I've not seen any research supporting the idea of cross-reactivity. A lot of talk, but no research. I would be very interested to know if I've missed something.

Answer Question

Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!