First of all, let's back up a little to protein intolerance or hypersensitivity in general.

Also, I'll give you a disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, and this is just a summary of the data I've pieced together from various information sources and personal experience. Probably the best way of finding out more information is reading about celiac disease, which is a wheat gluten sensitivity that seems to operate in much the way my sweetie's dairy intolerance does.

There are various types of allergies and sensitivities, and the stuff I'm describing here is not technically an allergy -- there is no life-threatening IGE antibody reaction. But it can be fairly devastating in the long term. In these conditions, the body simply can't digest wheat or milk protein, and

(a) having these indigestible proteins around messes with the intestinal lining, leading to vitamin deficiencies and bowel problems. If you don't digest your food right, you lose the nutrients you need to keep going.

(b) furthermore, with the intestinal lining messed up, protein goes into the bloodstream -- causing, in some cases, autoimmune conditions and mysterious systemic symptoms as the immune system attacks the protein. This is called "leaky gut syndrome."

My partner wasn't having weird autoimmune symptoms. I'm not sure this says anything; he's a freak who only sniffles for two days when he catches the flu. But when he went to the doctor about all this, years ago, the doctor noted a high protein level in his bloodstream, though they had no clue what it meant.

Another of our friends has a gluten sensitivity, and had just the weird autoimmune symptoms, no obvious digestive problems. SO -- it can vary from person to person.

Dairy and wheat sensitivities have been implicated in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Systemic Lupus, and other nasty mysterious syndromes such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. B Vitamin deficiency (symptoms here) is a particularly common warning sign that protein sensitivities may be responsible. It's worth trying . . .

How do I know if dairy is the problem?

How fast will I get better? A caution to the impatient

Ingredients to look out for

More hints on hidden dairy

Replacing the cow