In this article I want to share the slight knowledge about milk allergy (cow’s milk allergy) in baby. Cow’s milk allergy (CMA) is one of the most common food allergies in childhood. It represents an important health problem, such as disorders in the digestive tract or in organs as a result of an immunologic reaction. This allergy is normally outgrown in the first year of life, however 15% of allergic children remain allergic.
Milk allergy is an adverse reaction to proteins that are present in milk. Milk of all ruminant species, such as cow, goat, ewe, contains the same or very homologous proteins which share the same structural, functional and biological properties. Mother whose baby intended to be allergic to cow’s milk should be careful due to consuming food which contains CM as one of the ingredient. Breast milk from mothers who have consumed products containing CM might be another threat for the development of CMA due to the absorption of cow proteins, caused finally it will be released in human breast milk. On the other hand, breast milk could be acted as a protection to prevent allergic occurrence in baby along with the duration of breastfeeding up to at least 4 months.
So, what is the exact protein in cow’s milk that causing allergy in children? There were at least three main proteins that responsible in causing allergy in children. It is comprised of lactoglobulins (LG), caseins (CN) and alfa-lactalbumin (ALA) as the major allergens. However, there are also proteins that are present in low quantities such as bovine serum albumin (BSA), lactoferin (LF) and immunoglobulins (Ig) have shown to be of great importance in inducing milk allergies.
There are many methods to reduce allergenic properties of cow’s milk protein. One of the most common methods is heat treatment, but it remains controversial due to loss of tertiary protein structures which do not always result in decreased allergenic potential.
The other method is hydrolysis of cow’s milk protein using the appropriate enzymes, such as endopeptidases and exopeptidases, in order to digest the protein into smaller fraction of short peptides. Hydrolysis process of cow’s milk protein can be distinguished in partial hydrolysis (pHF) and extensive hydrolysis. However, enzymatic hydrolysis became a standard procedure for the production of milk formulae with hypoallergenic properties.
Indeed, we, as the parents, should be cautious if our beloved baby shows allergic symptoms. It’s better to consult the allergy problem to the doctor in order to get an appropriate preventive or curative action. Please, do not underestimate allergic condition, including cow’s milk allergy.