Lactose intolerance and allergy to cow's milk are commonly thought of as being the same thing, but they're not.
A study last month (August 2003) confirmed that children who are allergic to the proteins in milk can tolerate lactose, the sugar found in milk, as long as it's not contaminated with the proteins.
The Italian research team evaluated tolerance of lactose derived from bovine ingredients in 24 children with cow's milk allergy. Skin-prick tests were used to assess any allergy to cow's milk proteins, lactose, soy formula, and soy formula plus lactose.
The researchers found that all of the patients were indeed sensitized to fresh cow's milk, lactalbumin, and/or casein. None had an allergic reaction to soy formula, soy formula plus lactose, or lactose alone.
Based on these findings, the research group suggests that milk-sourced lactose may thus be acceptable as a sugar for processed foods, nutritional supplements, and weaning formulas or as an additive (in medications) for children with cow's milk allergy.
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