Whey Intolerance

Whey Intolerance - Symptoms and Causes

Today we are delving into all thing’s whey intolerance. We will take a look at what whey is, what foods it’s found in, what the intolerance symptoms are, and what you can do about it. As we always say, an intolerance is different from an allergy. A person who is allergic to whey would have a violent and immediate response to consuming it, which could end up being life-threatening. This is not the case with an intolerance. Let’s start with the basics about whey:

What is Whey

Whey is one of the two main proteins found in dairy foods. Casein is the other primary protein (read more about casein intolerance). Casein makes up 80% of the protein in dairy, and whey makes up the other 20%. The two can be separated, and you can often find ‘whey protein supplements’ on health food store shelves.

The whey portion of milk is the liquid that is left behind after the milk is curdled or processed during cheese manufacturing.

Aside from being made into protein supplements, whey is also used to make cheeses and other products for us to eat. Ricotta cheese is high in whey, but its also a part of most other cheeses, yoghurts, butter and the like.

Note: whey contains lactose and should therefore avoided if you have a lactose intolerance.


What is Whey intolerance?

A whey intolerance is when a person’s digestive system reacts to the presence of whey, causing inflammation and reactions to occur.

The digestive system may not be able to break down the whey (and or casein) effectively, which results in the symptoms of bloating, flatulence, cramping and diarrhoea. It can also be due to an under-functioning gut.

It has been estimated that up to 4.9% of young children in the western world may have a whey or casein allergy, but the prevalence of intolerances is currently unknown.

What are the main symptoms of whey intolerance?

When people are intolerant to whey protein, the symptoms are most often digestive in nature. The main ones that occur include:

  • Bloating
  • Stomach cramping
  • Smelly wind
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation

Other common symptoms include:

  • Excessive mucous production
  • Feeling as though you have a head cold due to mucous build-up and runny nose symptoms.
  • Headaches
  • Sore joints
  • Acne

Like with all food intolerances, these symptoms don’t manifest immediately after consuming dairy foods. They can take up to 48 hours to be fully present, which can make it tricky to figure out what food is causing the issue.


How can a whey intolerance be diagnosed?

There are several methods of diagnosing food intolerances.

We have previously discussed elimination diets, and this is a good option to try. It can, however, be a lengthy process and may not give you definitive results if not adhered to strictly.

Your doctor may also be able to organise a skin prick test for you. This can be painful and invasive.

Our best recommendation is to click HERE and order yourself a food intolerance test. All you need to do is send us a few strands of your hair, and we will test them against 700+ items to ascertain which ones your body may be intolerant too. You can expect your test results within 3 days of us receiving your hair sample.

What causes whey intolerance?

This is an excellent question and one that does not have a definitive answer. However, what we do know is this; a leaky gut that has intestinal permeability going on is very often associated with all types of food intolerances. If the gut lining is permeable, food particles can get through to the bloodstream, where they are never meant to be. This causes inflammation and reactions to occur.

Another factor may be the bacterial balance within the gut. We have previously written an article titled ‘SIBO and food intolerances’, which goes into this topic in detail. In a nutshell, if the bacterial balance within your digestive system is out of balance, your whole digestive system will not function optimally. This can cause all manner of health issues to arise, including food intolerances.

What foods contain whey

The foods with the highest whey content are

  • Ricotta cheese
  • Whey protein powders
  • Cottage cheese
  • Yoghurts
  • Unprocessed milk

It’s also present in most types of cheese, just in lesser amounts. All dairy foods will have a small percentage of whey present, and it’s often used in things like salad dressings, baked goods, and infant formulas.

What can I do if I have a whey intolerance?

IF you adiagnosed with a whey intolerance, there are two main things to look at first. They are:

  1. Your diet
  2. Your gut health

With your diet, you want to make sure that you have removed ALL sources of dairy and whey. Make sure that you check the labels of any sauces, dressing and processed foods that you have in your cupboards. Removing the culprit is essential for the initial healing phase.

Where your gut health is concerned, it is important to work with a Naturopath or holistic nutritionist who will create a gut healing plan just for you. You can expect that it may contain things like pre and probiotics, gut healing nutrients and herbs, stress management, sleep hygiene and other dietary and lifestyle changes as necessary.

In conclusion

Today’s article has looked at whey protein intolerance and all the ins and outs of this. We’ve learnt that whey is a protein component of dairy, and it occurs when a person cannot digest this protein properly. The main symptoms are digestive in nature and include lots of bloating, flatulence, stomach cramps and diarrhoea. Like all intolerances, it can have many other varied symptoms too.

We discuss the main foods where whey is found, and what you can do if you are diagnosed with a whey intolerance. In order to get this diagnosis, the quickest and best way is to take our Food intolerance hair test. It is entirely non-invasive and quick, and the results have been life-changing for many of our happy customers. We’d love for you to be our next satisfied customer, and turn your life around for the better.

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