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What Is a Casein Test?

A casein test can determine whether a person is allergic or sensitive to casein, which often causes stomach cramps.
Reading labels carefully can help to identify hidden casein, even in products labeled as non-dairy.
Milk contains the protein casein.
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  • Written By: Christina Whyte
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2014
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A casein test is used to determine if a person is allergic or sensitive to casein, a protein in milk. There are a couple of different ways to test for this allergy. If the test shows that the person is allergic to casein and does not have some other milk sensitivity instead, he or she will need to make some lifestyle modifications. Casein sensitivity or allergy can have a variety of symptoms that range in severity.

There is a casein test that is done at a doctor's office by withdrawing blood and testing it for the antibodies for casein. Several casein tests over a period of time may be needed in order to get an accurate result. A skin casein test may also be done, in which a small amount of casein is inserted into the skin to see if an allergic reaction occurs.

Cutting out milk products completely for at least a week can also serve as a casein test, and is a good first step for someone who thinks that a casein sensitivity might be a possibility. People who are looking to cut casein out of their diets to test for a sensitivity or because they have been diagnosed as allergic need to carefully read labels on foods to check for milk ingredients and the word casein anywhere on the ingredients list. Foods that are labeled as vegan do not contain casein, but lactose free foods are not necessarily casein free.

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The severity of this allergy varies. Some people have stomach cramps, rash, stuffy nose, itching, and other uncomfortable but non-threatening symptoms. A small number of people are extremely sensitive to the point that they may go into anaphylactic shock that could lead to death if milk is consumed. The degree to which a person will need to avoid contact with casein can also vary, from being able to consume small amounts of it sometimes to such a degree of sensitivity that food processed on the same surface as milk products can cause an allergic reaction.

A number of infants are allergic to milk, including casein allergy, but outgrow it within a few years. It is possible for an allergy to develop at any age, so a casein test can be done whenever the allergy is suspected. Lactose intolerance is the most frequent reason for people to have problems with milk products, and a true casein allergy is rare.

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ceilingcat
Post 3

Unfortunately for people with casein allergies, casein doesn't just occur in food. Casein is actually used for a bunch of different things. There is casein based paint, glue, and even casein based plastics! I think casein is also used in a lot of protein supplements too.

I assume someone with a serious casein allergy would have to avoid these things. If you have a reaction from touching a surface that came in contact with milk, I assume using products made from casein is probably a big no-no.

SZapper
Post 2

@Azuza - Avoiding dairy is pretty difficult, but it can be done. Unfortunately if you want to avoid dairy you have to avoid most pre-packaged foods and cook most of your food at home. Or, as the article said, look for packaged foods that are vegan. A lot of these foods are also gluten free and good for Celiac diets.

Anyway, I don't personally know anyone who has a sensitivity or allergy to casein. However, I know a few people who are lactose intolerant. One of my friends told me they went through allergy testing when their sensitivity was first discovered. I assume they did this to see if they were sensitive to lactose or casein, which is good to know.

Azuza
Post 1

This is really interesting! I had no idea that there was anything else in milk that people could be sensitive to besides lactose. I hear about lactose intolerance all the time, and the grocery store near where I live has a wide variety of lactose free dairy products. However, I've never heard of casein sensitivity.

I'm sure going on a casein diet is pretty difficult. As the article said, just because something is lactose free doesn't mean it's free of casein. Not to mention the fact that dairy in a lot of stuff.

I recently tried to cut down on the amount of dairy I was eating, and I was shocked at how many products contain dairy. It's very hard to avoid.

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