Dairy – Friend or Foe

As I have explained in my previous posts, I am an acute migraine sufferer. I have spent a huge amount of money and time since I began getting migraines, looking into the various reasons why my head has been so painful.  It has taken years and a lot of pain to reach the place I am in today.

I have always loved dairy products, particularly cheese and yoghurt. I would have yoghurt every day and I drank milk in various drinks on a regular basis. I had no clue this may be causing my body harm. Are milk and dairy products not the main we get calcium into our bones?

Much like most of the marketing around food these days we have to be careful where we are getting our sources from. If you dig a little deeper you will see the advocates for milk are often the companies making the most profit from dairy products. Coming from a marketing background myself I know the ‘jargon’ used in order to entice people to buy your product. It is a very clever system and don’t let it fool you.

It was in my early thirties when I reached a period when my head was so bad. I struggled on a daily basis for five years constantly going to the doctor, only to be told there was nothing they could do. I had a common migraine and unless I went on medication which I usually had a severe allergy to then I was a migraine sufferer period.

I was determined to look into why this was happening to my body.

I went to see a qualified nutritionist (I will explain about these food practitioners in a further post) and this was a huge turning point in my life. I then had an allergy test with the Cambridge Nutritional Sciences.

In the patient guidebook you are sent with your test results it gives a description of exactly what they are testing for, see below:

Reactions that do not produce an immune response are often referred to as ‘food intolerances’. They can be caused by sensitivities to certain chemicals/additives found in food, or more commonly due to enzyme deficiencies.

IgG stands for Immunoglobulin (type G). Immunoglobulins are a class of proteins that function as antibodies produced by the immune system in response to foreign bodies entering the body. There are several different types of immunoglobulins with IgA, IgE, IgG, IgM being the most well-known.

Generally, foods are broken down during digestion into their component parts e.g. amino acids, glycerides etc. These pass harmlessly through the gut into the bloodstream. However, occasionally small fragments of partially digested or undigested foods are able to pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream where they are recognised by the immune system as being ‘foreign’. The immune system responds by making IgG antibodies to these foods.

Needless to say I was off the charts with dairy with a reading of 114.  (0-23 is Normal; 24-29 is Borderline and 30+ is Elevated).

I was utterly horrified. I had been eating and drinking a source which my body was highly intolerant to and causing myself further illness. When I look back the most horrendous part of all of this, was when I felt a migraine coming I would take two Anadin Extra, (these tablets have been a life saver for me during my life and career) and I would wash these down with a glass of milk, thinking I was lining my stomach, as aspirin can be hard on the stomach lining.

I was basically causing more inflammation and making my stomach and migraines worse!

My migraine would go from my stomach and back to my head every time I was eating something I was intolerant to. It was like being in a health nightmare.

People who are lactose intolerant can’t digest the main sugar —lactose— found in milk. In normal humans, the enzyme lactase stops being produced when the person is between two and five years old. The undigested sugars end up in the colon, where they begin to ferment producing gas that can cause cramping, bloating, nausea, flatulence and diarrhoea.

Regardless, research has shown that milk and dairy products have been linked to allergies, skin conditions such as acneheadaches and migrainesarthritis, and congestion or shortness of breath and asthma, as well as gas, tummy aches, diarrhoea or bloating from difficulty digesting the lactose

If you are suffering from any of the above illnesses or like me you are a migraine sufferer. I would seriously consider looking into the food you are eating. Is it helping or making your condition worse?

I no longer suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome); I put this down to giving up wheat, gluten and dairy. My stomach is at last at peace and as a consequence my head is so much better.

I am still on my journey of getting rid of my migraines entirely but I have also helped my whole health and wellbeing in changing my eating habits. This you cannot put a price on.

I hope to write a future post on intolerance tests and what they cover and go into more detail how you go about this. I hope this has touched on the way food can affect your body?

I always welcome feedback if you have any comments please do share.

Stay safe and stay well.

References CNS Patient Guidebook

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