What is a Cow's Milk Protein Intolerance?

Cow's Milk allergyCow's milk is made up of fats, sugars (called lactose) and cow's milk proteins. A milk protein intolerance (or cow's milk allergy) is caused by the immune system reacting against cow's milk proteins and recognising them as "foreign".


This is more common than a lactose intolerance, which is the inability to break down the sugar in cow's milk properly, described in the following section.


The immune response in cow's milk allergy can be mediated by the IgE-antibody, causing a typical immediate reaction, or can be caused mainly by a non-IgE response, causing a delayed reaction.


 This article has been co-written with Paediatrician and Allergy Specialist, Dr Claudia Gray (MBChB (UCT), MRCPCH (London), MScClin Pharm(Surrey), DipPaedNutrition (UK), PostgradDipAllergy (Southampton), Certified Paediatric Allergologist (SA))

Dr Gray works at the allergy clinic at the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town, and has a private practice at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town, contact 021 531 8013.