Calcium Lactate Milk Allergy


Calcium Lactate: Uses, Benefits, and Side Effects

Calcium lactate is a food additive that’s typically added to a wide variety of foods to enhance their texture and flavor or help extend their shelf life.

This compound can also be used as an ingredient in medications or certain types of calcium supplements.

This article reviews everything you need to know about calcium lactate, its potential benefits, side effects, and the foods most likely to contain it.

What is calcium lactate?

Calcium lactate is a white or cream, almost odorless food additive derived from lactic acid, a compound that cells naturally create when trying to produce energy in low oxygen conditions (1Trusted Source).

It’s produced commercially by neutralizing lactic acid with calcium carbonate or calcium hydroxide and most often used to stabilize, thicken, flavor, firm, or leaven foods. Calcium lactate is either referred to by its name or E number — E327 (2, 3).

Calcium lactate can also be added to calcium supplements or medications used to treat acid reflux, bone loss, a poorly functioning parathyroid gland, or certain muscle diseases.

It may also be added to animal feed or used to treat water to make it suitable for human consumption (4Trusted Source, 5).

Despite its similar name, calcium lactate does not contain lactose. As such, it’s safe for people with lactose intolerance.

SUMMARYCalcium lactate is a commercially produced food additive used to stabilize, thicken, flavor, firm, or leaven foods. It’s also used in water treatment facilities or added to animal feed, calcium supplements, or pharmaceutical drugs.

What foods contain calcium lactate?

Calcium lactate is commonly used as a food additive in packaged foods, such as (4Trusted Source):

  • nectars
  • jams, jellies, and marmalades
  • butter, margarine, and other types of fats used for cooking or frying
  • canned fruits and vegetables
  • beer

It’s sometimes also added to fresh foods, such as mozzarella cheese, fresh pastas, or precut fruit to help them maintain their firmness or extend their shelf life (4Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).

You can tell whether a food contains calcium lactate by looking for it on the ingredient label. Calcium lactate may also be labeled as E327 (3).

SUMMARYCalcium lactate can be found in a variety of packaged foods, including jams, beer, and cooking fats, as well as canned fruits and vegetables. It can also be added to certain cheeses, fresh pastas, or precut fruits.

Possible health benefits

Very few studies have specifically researched the health benefits of calcium lactate.

That said, it can be used as a main source of calcium in calcium supplements, and some studies link calcium-rich diets to stronger and healthier bones, though research is inconsistent (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).

Though sourcing your calcium directly from foods remains the best way to ingest this mineral, supplements can be a helpful tool for those who are unable to get enough calcium through their diet alone (7Trusted Source).

When consumed as a supplement, calcium lactate may provide benefits similar to those associated with other calcium supplements, including:

  • Stronger bones. When taken together with vitamin D, calcium supplements are thought to contribute to the development and maintenance of strong, healthy bones (7Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
  • Reduced blood pressure. Calcium-rich diets may help slightly lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) in those with elevated blood pressure. However, there seems to be little benefit among people with normal blood pressure levels (13Trusted Source).
  • Protection against preeclampsia. High calcium intakes during pregnancy may lower the risk of preeclampsia, a serious complication that affects up to 14% of pregnancies worldwide (7Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
  • Protection against colon cancer. Studies suggest that a high calcium intake from foods or supplements may reduce colon cancer risk. Still, more research is needed to confirm these findings (11Trusted Source).

Older studies further suggest that chewing gums containing calcium lactate together with the artificial sweetener xylitol may help protect against cavities. Yet, more research is needed to confirm these results (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).

Gram per gram, calcium lactate tends to provide smaller amounts of calcium than more popular forms of calcium, such as calcium carbonate and calcium citrate (18Trusted Source).

Therefore, to contain equivalent amounts of calcium, calcium lactate supplements may be larger than other types of calcium supplements, potentially making them harder to swallow. You may also need to take more pills.

Calcium lactate is likely less constipating than calcium carbonate, but it doesn’t provide any additional benefits beyond those associated with calcium citrate. This explains why it’s seldom used as a main ingredient in calcium supplements (18Trusted Source).

SUMMARYCalcium lactate is sometimes added to calcium supplements, which may help improve bone strength, oral health, and blood pressure, as well as perhaps even lower the risk of colon cancer in people unable to get enough of this mineral through their diet alone.

Safety and precautions

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), calcium lactate is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) and may be added to all foods except infant foods and formulas (2).

Calcium lactate is considered a safe source of calcium in calcium supplements. In addition, given that it contains less calcium than other forms, it’s less likely to cause the constipation or upset stomach commonly associated with supplements containing calcium carbonate (18Trusted Source).

That said, it’s important to note that excess intakes of calcium lactate may result in hypercalcemia, a condition characterized by dangerously high blood levels of calcium, which may cause heart or kidney problems (7Trusted Source).

It’s best to not exceed the safe daily upper intake levels (UL) of 2,500 mg per day for adults under 50 years old and pregnant or breastfeeding people, 2,000 mg per day for those 51 years or older, and 3,000 mg per day for pregnant or breastfeeding people younger than 19 (7Trusted Source).

Calcium lactate supplements may also interact with some medications, including diuretics, antibiotics, and anti-seizure drugs. Therefore, it’s best to seek guidance from your healthcare provider before taking such supplements.

Can you be allergic to calcium lactate?

Calcium lactate is used in foods as a baking powder and given medicinally, most commonly to treat calcium deficiency or stomach upsets. But is it dairy related?

Food Allergy & Research Education (FARE) in the US say on their website that calcium lactate does not contain milk protein so should not be avoided by people with a dairy allergy.

Despite the fact that lactate sounds like it comes from milk, it’s nothing to do with dairy, so it’s quite safe for someone with a dairy allergy to eat food with calcium lactate in the ingredients list.

I found an article on the web that I haven’t spotted before which has a great list of other things that do, may and definitely don’t contain any dairy, so I thought I’d share it here.

It’s a minefield reading ingredients labels and trying to avoid all the many variations of dairy containing ingredients, but here is one you don’t have to worry about, or so the experts say.

However I and many others think that they do react to lactic acid, regardless of whether it was grown on a lactose/dairy base. Just read the lactic acid post above to read over 30 comments from people who avoid lactic acid.

So is it safe to eat something that is a ‘salt made by the action of lactic acid on calcium carbonate’? Just because no milk protein remains, does this mean it won’t cause a mild reaction for those of us who are highly sensitive to milk?

I’m not aware of anyone with any problems with calcium lactate but they might be out there. I’m not sure if I have any problems either myself but I try to avoid most processed foods anyway.

Has anyone out there with a dairy allergy found they get a reaction from things containing calcium lactate.

Is Calcium Lactate Considered Dairy?

Calcium may interfere with absorption of other medications.

If you follow a vegan diet or have lactose intolerance, you need to avoid dairy products and foods containing them. Because “lactose” is also known as milk sugar, it is easy to confuse lactate as a dairy component as well. While dairy products are often rich in calcium, calcium lactate is, in fact, not a dairy product itself.

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Dairy Versus Calcium Lactate

Calcium lactate is a calcium salt taken to supplement the diet, either to treat a deficiency or to provide additional calcium for pregnant or breast-feeding women, if recommended by their doctor. It is also used to manage conditions like osteoporosis, osteomalacia, rickets or malabsorption syndrome. You need adequate calcium to form and maintain strong bones. Therefore, if you are concerned about your calcium intake, having to avoid dairy is no reason to avoid calcium lactate. If should not be taken without checking with your doctor, however, as calcium lactate is not recommended for people with certain medical conditions.

Dairy, Cheese and Milk Allergies: How to Avoid Milk Based Products and Ingredients

Advice on avoiding milk, milk proteins (casein), and other dairy ingredients, when your child has food allergies.

By A. Anderson

Dairy includes all mild, cheese and by-products from cow’s milk, Dairy is often divided into two types: lactose (the sugar) and casein (the protein). Lactose intolerance is not an allergy and while it can be uncomfortable for the digestive system, it will not produce anaphylactic shock. Lactose-free (dairy-sugar-free) dairy products still contain dairy protein so lactose-free foods should not be consumed by those allergic to dairy.

To make matters more complicated, some products are labeled as “non-dairy” but contain dairy in the form of casein. Casein is cow’s milk protein which is exactly what a child reacts to when an anaphylactic response is triggered. So a parent might pick up some rice cheese that says “non-diary” on the front label, but the ingredient label might include casein, which is dairy protein. Therefore this “non-diary” rice cheese could cause anaphylactic shock if fed to a child who is allergic to dairy. I have learned this from experience. Although I have never accidentally fed my children this kind of “non-diary” cheese, there have been plenty of times I have stood in the grocery store reading the back label of a “non-diary” cheese and found the milk protein or casein ingredient. I think it is wrong that manufacturers can market their product this way because it is misleading and dangerous. I saw a news story on television where a mother accidentally gave her pre-teen son this kind of cheese and it produced an allergic reaction.

I have found through my own experience of reading labels that dairy is included in almost all pre-packaged cakes, cookies, crackers, breads and cereals. It is commonly under the name of non-fat milk, lactic acid or whey in these products. I have found that any product which says, “calcium enriched” normally uses dairy as the source of that supplement. For instance, calcium lactate can be found in apple juice and orange juice that says calcium enriched.

My husband discovered that some deli meats and hot dogs contain dairy form the processing stage. Even some tuna fish contains dairy. He asked our local supermarket deli service people whether the meat-slicers are used to slice both meat and cheese. They responded that they try to use one for meat and one for cheese, but if the cheese slicer is busy, they will slice the cheese on the slicer normally used to meat. So we don’t buy meat from the deli for our sons because it may contain cheese residue.

I have found that some cosmetics, hair products, soaps, and lotions contain dairy products. For instance, I was using hair products and found that they contained lactic acid, a diary ingredient. I stopped suing these products because perhaps some dairy residue was being left around the house from my hair.

Diary is or may be in all of these ingredient names as well: Artificial flavoring (maybe), beverage whitener, butter, butter oil, calcium caseinate, calcium lactate, caramel, casein, caseinate, cheese, cream, custard, curd, demineralised whey, fromage frais, galactose, ghee, lactobacillus (unless specified that derived from a non-dairy source), lactalbumin phosphate, lactalbumin, lactate, lactic acid, lactoglobulin, milk powder, lactose, malted milk, margarine, milk solids, natural flavoring-flavors (maybe), non-fat milk, non-fat milk solids, potassium caseinate, ready sponge, skim milk powder, sodium caseinate, sour cream, sweet whey powder, vegetable fats, whey, whey protein, whey solids, yogurt.

There may be other ingredients that contain dairy or are derived from diary. Please use this list as a starting point only, not as a comprehensive list. The information is general in nature and is provided for informational purposes only. Be sure to verify your list with your child’s doctor. The above ingredient lists were obtained from various sources.

SUMMARYCalcium lactate is generally considered a safe food preservative. As a supplement, calcium lactate may interact with some medications. Excess intakes of calcium lactate supplements may cause hypercalcemia.

The bottom line

Calcium lactate is a commercially produced food additive that’s used to stabilize, thicken, flavor, firm, or leaven foods. It’s mostly found in packaged foods, such as jams and canned goods, but it can also be added to fresh cheeses, pastas, or fruit.

Calcium lactate may also be found in some medications or used as the main source of calcium in certain types of calcium supplements. It’s generally considered safe, regardless of the form its ingested in.

That said, an excess calcium intake from supplements can be dangerous. For this reason, it’s best to seek guidance from a health professional regarding how to safely take one.

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