Mare’s Milk Allergy Test
Latin name: Equus spp.
Source material: Frozen mare’s milk
Common names: Mare’s milk, Horse milk
Mare’s milk is a food which may result in allergy symptoms in sensitised individuals.
Mare’s Milk Allergy Test: Allergen Exposure
Mare’s milk is the milk obtained from a female horse. It is rarely consumed by humans outside of Central Asia, however it is used in the commercial production of some ointments and cosmetic products.
On average a mare may produce around 500 litres of milk annually, compared to around 10,000 litres for a cow. Mare’s milk therefore remains an expensive commodity and is not produced on an industrial scale. It is estimated that around 30 million people worldwide consume mare’s milk annually.
In Central Asia a traditional beverage, kumis, is made from fermented mare’s milk, and is similar to kefir. However, even in the areas of the world where kumis is popular today, mare’s milk remains a very limited commodity, and large scale production generally uses cow’s milk in its place.
Powdered mare milk is available in several European countries, such as Germany, France and Italy. In recent years it has grown in popularity as a substitute for cow’s milk, being lower in fat and higher in lactose, which is believed to aid mineral absorption.
Traditionally, mare’s milk has not been used to make cheese, as the addition of rennet doesn’t result in the formation of curds. However with growing interest in mare’s milk and mare’s milk products, cheesemakers have discovered that using camel rennet in place of cow’s rennet produces curds in mare’s and donkey’s milk, allowing them to be used in cheesemaking and also for the production of yoghurt.
The average cheese yield remains low for mare’s milk, at around 4%, as it has a low solid content. By comparison, cheese yield from cow’s milk is around 11%.
Mare’s milk is believed to have a number of health benefits, including as a remedy for skin or digestive problems. Peer-reviewed papers have suggested it can reduce the symptoms of atopic dermatitis or eczema.
Mare’s milk is particularly rich in whey protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin C.
Mare’s Milk Allergy Test: Allergen Description
The major allergen present in mare’s milk is casein.
Mare’s Milk Allergy Test: Potential Cross-Reactivity
In some cases homologous milk proteins of different species can lead to cross‐reactivity in sensitized/allergic individuals.
Cross reactivity to cow’s milk has been reported. Reports suggest the cross-reactivity is linked to sensitisation to casein.
Heat labile proteins, such as a-lactalbumin and b-lactoglobulin, of mare’s milk showed no relation to the corresponding cow’s milk proteins.
Mare’s Milk Allergy Test: Clinical Experience
Cow’s milk allergic patients using ointments containing mare’s milk have suffered severe clinical symptoms.
In a study of 25 children allergic to cow’s milk, 2 children had positive skin test responses to mare’s milk. Another study showed that mare milk was tolerated by 96% of children with cow’s milk allergy.
Because mare’s milk contains relatively high levels of lactose, it should be avoided by those who are lactose intolerant.