What’s Lactose Intolerance?

I’ve been asked again about “Lactose Intolerance” so I thought of re-sharing some general information about the topic!

Lactose (milk sugar) intolerance results from an inability to digest lactose in the small intestine. Lactose is digested in the small intestine by an enzyme called “Lactase”. The level of the lactase enzyme varies between individuals, as does the severity of symptoms caused by lactose intolerance. Some people may suffer severe symptoms after consuming small amounts of lactose. Others may be able to tolerate small amounts of lactose (sx. Small amounts of milk in tea). Symptoms vary from mild abdominal discomfort, bloating, excessive wind (flatulence) to abdominal cramps and diarrhea.

Nutritional Advice
Some lactose-intolerant people are able to tolerate certain dairy products in small amounts, thus the diet ought to provide enough nutrients found in dairies (such as calcium, riboflavin, and vitamin D).

Special Consideration
Tolerance of lactose is variable. Some people can eat small amounts of lactose without having symptoms while others need to avoid it completely.
•Low-lactose diet: generally eliminates only milk and milk products. However, some can tolerate milk in small amounts (2 oz) throughout the day or as part of a meal. Some can tolerate small amounts of yogurt. These patients can experiment to find a level of lactose they can tolerate. Some people can build up their level of tolerance by gradually introducing the lactose-containing foods.
•Lactose-free diet: all lactose products must be eliminated, including foods that are prepared with milk, both at home and in commercially packaged foods. These people may be able to use 100% lactose free milk or soy milk. Labels should always be read carefully.

Lactase Digestive Aids and Products: Many people can drink milk in which the lactase has been partially or completely broken down. The following products may be available at a pharmacy or grocery store.

LACTAID and Dairy Ease enzyme products
•Drops: These are added to milk. Five, 10, or 15 drops per quart of milk will generally reduces lactose content by 70%, 90%, or 99% respectively over a 24-hour period
•Caplets/Capsules: A person chews or swallows 1 to 6 of these when starting to eat foods containing lactose

Non-fat or 1% low-fat is 70% lactose reduced

DAIRY Ease Milk
•Available in non-fat, 1%, or 2% low-fat – all are 70% lactose reduced

SOY Milk
Calcium-fortified soy milk has no lactose, is low in fat and is a good source of Vitamin D.

Disclaimer: Always check with your doctor, pharmacist, registered dietitian, or any other physician for individualized recommendation and guidance on the use of medications.

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