Chronic constipation is a common problem in children.  The usual treatment prescribed is fiber supplements and laxatives.  If that fails, more potent and higher doses of laxatives are used, but that still may not work.  Years go by and many kids are still suffering; it may even extend into adulthood.  Although a link between dairy product consumption and chronic constipation in children was suggested as early as the 1950’s, there was still a widely-held mistaken belief that most chronic constipation in infants and young children was psychosomatic (it was all in their head), that they had some GI disorder or were anal retentive.  So what happened when researchers tried removing cow milk protein from the diet of infants who presented with chronic idiopathic constipation (of unknown cause).  Within just three days, 21 of the 27 children were cured of their constipation. When a diet free from cow milk was used, symptoms completely regressed.  What’s more is that reintroduction of cow milk to the diet resulted in a clinical relapse in 2 subsequent cow milk challenges. (The constipation reappeared within 24 to 48 hours both times following cow milk reintroduction).  After about a month on the cow milk free diet, not only did their constipation resolve but they were also seemingly cured of their eczema and wheezing!  The researchers concluded that many cases of chronic constipation in young children may be due to an underlying cow’s milk protein allergy.  A subsequent larger, higher quality study in the New England Journal of Medicine that looked at cow’s milk versus soy milk confirmed these findings.  Children suffering from chronic constipation that did not respond to treatment with laxatives many of who had anal fissures (a tear in the anus) and inflammation and swelling. The ressearchers gave them either cow’s milk or soy milk for two weeks and then switched it around.  Constipation resolved while the kids were avoiding cow’s milk in 2/3 of the children; the anal fissures and pain were cured.  None of the children receiving cow’s milk had any improvement.  In the cured children, the relation with cow’s milk protein hypersensitivity was confirmed in all cases by a double-blind challenge with cow’s milk.  All those lesions, including the most severe anal fissures, disappeared on a cow’s milk-free diet and reappeared within days after the reintroduction of cow’s milk back into the diet.  The results of that study may explain the 8-fold risk of developing anal fissures in children drinking more than a cup of milk a day.  Cow’s milk may also contribute to recurrent diaper rash in infants.  In adults too, removing milk from the diet may help cure anal fissures, reintroducing cow milk brought their pain from 0 back up to 8 or 9 (on a scale of 1 to 10).  Whereas the previous studies only removed cow milk, there was a more recent study that removed all dairy sources and achieved a 100% cure rate. Constipation is by far not the only problem dairy causes in children, casomorphins (opioite-like peptides produced by cow’s milk) from the cow’s milk protein beta-casein may contribute to the cause of such conditions as: autism, crib death, type I diabetes, postpartum psychosis, circulatory disorders, and food allergies.  Delayed psychomotor development and muscle spasticity was associated with elevated levels of bovine casomorphin found in cow’s milk based formula-fed infants.  Thus delayed psychomotor development and diseases such as autism may be partly caused by the inability of some infants to adequately eliminate bovine casomorphin.



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