Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Calling time on formula milk adverts

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 18 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l1200

Rapid Response:

Maternal masked cow's milk allergy Re: Calling time on formula milk adverts

Maternal cow's milk allergy

Mohammad A. Emran writes that he has had more than one mother telling him that her baby had an allergic reaction to her breast milk and asks what in the world are the mothers eating? A common reason breast fed babies have colic is maternal masked food allergy to common foods including to cow's milk.

I did not know in 1961 that when my first baby cried with painful colic every night for his first 6 weeks that it was due to what I was eating (including wheat) and drinking (mostly coffee with cow’s milk).

In the 1970s my migraine patients had a 10 times reduction in the number of headaches after they had stopped taking the pill or HRT, ergot or other headache medications, or smoking but some of them still got headaches.1 Dr John Mansfield was using a lamb and pears exclusion and re-introduction diet to reveal masked food allergies. When 60 hospital migraine patients followed his lamb and pears diet, drinking only spring water from glass bottles, all 60 improved, 85% becoming headache- free and medications were not needed.2 Hormonal contraceptives increase the risk of zinc and magnesium deficiencies and impair liver clearance and increase the number of masked food allergies.3 The commonest masked food allergies are to wheat, milk, eggs, corn, coffee and oranges.

I have seen cases of women breast feeding whose babies were crying continuously with severe colic. Mansfield’s high protein stone age rotation diet revealed and excluded common masked allergens including to cow’s milk. The babies usually stop crying and gain weight while overweight mothers can lose weight.

It is strange that the importance of masked food allergy is not appreciated nor is the common contamination of foods and drinks with toxic metals and pesticides.

1 Grant ECG. Food allergies and migraine. Lancet 1979;1:966-969.
2 Grant ECG. Oral contraceptives, smoking, migraine and food allergies. Lancet 1978;2:581-582.
3 Grant ECG. The pill, hormone replacement therapy, vascular and mood over-reactivity, and mineral imbalance. J Nutr Environ Med 1998;8:105-116.

Competing interests: No competing interests

27 March 2019
Ellen CG Grant
Physician and medical gynaecologist
Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, UK