Dairy May be the Culprit

February 18, 2013

dairyAs someone who was diagnosed as being Lactose Intolerant, I have been aware of the dangers of ingesting dairy products. Long gone are the days when I would be doubled over in pain with acute intestinal discomfort, skin rashes and a general feeling of not being well. The cure was simple, stop eating dairy. What I didn’t know was that it would take over a month for my body to detoxify from the milk products I had been eating for decades.

In my communications with friends, family, clients and colleagues, I became aware that no one seemed to understand what dairy can do to a person who does not have the lactase enzymes which breaks down lactose in dairy foods.

In addition to the generally known symptoms, lactose can be a major contributor causing dark under eye circles and under eye puffiness.

Dairy allergies are fairly common. In addition to dark eye circles and puffy eyes, other symptoms may include indigestion, nausea, cramps, diarrhea, rashes, hives, congestion, tightness in the chest and asthma attacks. Some people develop these adverse responses because they are allergic to the casein or whey proteins that are found in milk. A closely related condition, lactose intolerance, occurs in people who lack the lactase enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk.

A variety of conditions can cause dark circles or puffiness under your eyes. Genetics, nasal congestion, environmental allergies, eczema, lack of sleep, alcohol abuse, poor hydration and nutritional deficiencies can all contribute to the appearance of dark circles under the eyes. For some people, dark circles may occur as part of an allergic or hypersensitive response to particular foods. The darkness occurs because the skin under the eyes becomes inflamed. While over 140 foods cause allergic responses, about 90 percent of food allergies are caused by just a few types of food, dairy products are at the top of the list.

When dairy is taken into the stomach, it then passes into the intestine, which is a very large organ devoted to the digestion and absorption of the food we eat. Food is then broken down by digestive enzymes into small molecules of soluble substances which can then be adsorbed into the blood stream and metabolized to produce energy. For those with dairy intolerance, some undigested large molecules of milk will inevitably get into the blood stream, reach a sensitized organ and produce a multitude of symptoms, including skin rashes, dark circles and lesions such as eczema. The body becomes stressed trying to defend itself thus producing mild to severe symptoms.

The best approach is to begin eliminating dairy from your diet. See how your body responds. If you are seeing an improvement in your overall health and energy level, dark circles, puffiness and any skin reactions you may have, then you are on the right track. Monitor your dark circles and other symptoms. If they improve, then slowly reintroduce dairy back into your diet. If the circles and other symptoms return, then eliminate that food from your diet altogether.