Children may be able to outgrow milk allergies

By Sheryl Kay • Published: October 18th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Managing a healthy diet for children can be a challenge. And it’s far more complicated when kids have allergies, particularly to products found in many foods, like milk.

For years, studies have shown that children with milk allergies fall into two groups — those who are able to eat foods that contain baked milk and suffer no reaction, and those who do show allergic responses. However, no research has looked at the long-term effects of incorporating baked milk into a child’s diet until now.

A study recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology evaluated 88 children who were diagnosed with milk allergies. The researchers spent five years conducting food challenges to test if children’s tolerance to milk products changed over time. First the children were given muffins that contained powdered milk. If they did not have a reaction, cheese pizza was next on the menu, followed by skim milk. If the kids made it through a challenge without allergic effects, the new food was added to the child’s diet.

Of the children who passed the initial muffin test, about 60 percent were able to consume the added foods without experiencing an allergic reaction. The researchers also found that controlled exposure to the baked milk products appeared to hasten the rate at which children outgrew their allergies to milk in uncooked forms.

The investigators did note that only trained health professionals should conduct food challenges. Children who do not pass a baked milk test often suffer from a much stronger allergic reaction than children who do, and there is no way to accurately predict who will have the severe response.

Ultimately, the researchers’ aim to provide parents with guidelines that might help alleviate milk allergies in their kids.

And that would be an achievement to moo about.