May 01 2021
Lactose intolerance is defined as a condition in which symptoms of digestive disturbances are present. Some of the common symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating, diarrhea and gas. It is said to be lactose intolerance if these symptoms occur after the consumption of foods that contain lactose. Lactose is a major component of milk and dairy products. For the body to be able to digest lactose properly, there must be an adequate production of the enzyme lactase in the small intestine. The main sources of Lactase are Milk, Whey, Curds, Milk by-products, Dry milk solids, and Non-fat dry milk powder. The main function of Lactase is the breaking down of lactose into glucose and galactose. These compounds are easily absorbed by the body. The condition known as lactose intolerance occurs when the body’s ability to make lactase diminishes.
It has been established that all dairy products do not cause unpleasant symptoms of lactose intolerance. Consumption of dairy products such as yogurt and kefir that are rich in live and active cultures does not produce these symptoms. The presence of the active cultures in these products helps in breaking down lactose before its consumption. As the duration of fermentation of food increases, the lactose content in it will also be reduced.
Causes of Lactose Intolerance
The body’s inability to effectively digest lactose leads to lactose intolerance. This may occur due to either malabsorption or reduced levels of lactase production in the digestive tract. Lactose intolerance may manifest due to the presence of various factors such as:
- Genetics and Family History
In some cases, the inability to produce lactase may be congenital. Studies show lactose intolerance is linked to genetics due to which its symptoms may appear during the teenage years.
With advancing age, the production of lactase decreases. This may cause intolerance in individuals who otherwise never had previous symptoms and signs of lactose intolerance.
- Illness and Stress
lactose intolerance in some individuals may also occur from triggers such as surgery, injury, illness, and the side effects of certain medications. The presence of underlying conditions such as gastroenteritis, IBS, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease and disorders of the digestive tract, including candida overgrowth and leaky gut may increase the risk of developing lactose intolerance. In some cases, taking medications such as antibiotics for a prolonged duration may damage gut health and lead to lactose intolerance.
Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance
The most common symptoms of lactose intolerance include Diarrhea, Gas, Stomach bloating, swelling in the abdomen, Stomach pain, cramping, Nausea, Vomiting, Headaches, migraines, and Acne. After the consumption of dairy products, the warning signs of lactose intolerance can start anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. These symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some of the foods that should be avoided in those with lactose intolerance include
Milk, Cream, Butter, Evaporated milk, Condensed milk, Dried milk, Powdered milk, Milk solids, Cheese, Whey, and Curd.
The following foods are useful in the management of lactose intolerance:
- Using Organic Fermented Dairy
Fermented dairy enhances the digestibility of the lactose, fats, and protein that are present in dairy products. It is also helpful in improving the digestion of other foods. Organic kefir is similar to yogurt. Kefir contains various nutrients such as thiamin, B12, folate, and vitamin K. The main function of Vitamin K2 is facilitating the metabolism of calcium and developing stronger bones which are important in people who suffer from lactose intolerance. Consumption of Organic fermented dairy also helps in increasing the levels of magnesium in the body. Magnesium deficiency is one of the most commonly occurring symptoms in people with digestive tract disorders such as celiac and Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) and lactose intolerance.
- Take Digestive Enzymes to have a high content of Lactase
In individuals who are suffering from lactose intolerance, Lactase is the enzyme that is lacking in the digestive tract. Studies show that digestive enzyme supplementation helps break down fats, carbs, and protein. It is also effective in boosting the functioning of the digestive system.
- Goat milk
In many individuals with lactose intolerance, drinking goat milk may be easier on the digestive system than cow milk. Goat milk contains adequate amounts of fatty acids in the composition. It is also more readily absorbed and assimilated into the body. The presence of smaller fat particles in goat milk and lower concentrations of lactose makes it easily digestible. Also, goat milk is richer in various nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, iodine, potassium, biotin, and pantothenic acid.
- Supplementing with Probiotics
Using probiotic supplements is a major ingredient of a lactose intolerance diet. The live or active cultures that are present in yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables help in maintaining a healthy and functioning digestive system. Increasing healthy bacteria in the gut lining may help stimulate greater lactase production, and thus aid in the process of digestion.
- Incorporating Calcium-Rich Foods in the diet
Consumption of calcium-rich foods helps in promoting cardiovascular health. Adequate amounts of calcium in the body also play an important role in the management of body weight. Calcium-rich foods such as raw milk, yogurt, kefir, dark greens like cooked kale, raw cheese, sardines, and broccoli are effective in those with lactose intolerance. Calcium is also needed for promoting the proper functioning of the brain. It also improves insulin sensitivity. Calcium is a fat-soluble vitamin that is stored in the liver. Various conditions such as antibiotic use, intake of prescription cholesterol medications, inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), and leaky gut may affect the levels of calcium in the body.
- Addition of Foods that are rich in Vitamin K
Consumption of proper amounts of vitamin K is essential for optimal calcium absorption. It is vital for maintaining bone health. In addition to calcium deficiency, people who are lactose intolerant may also suffer from the deficiency of vitamin K. Foods that are rich in vitamin K include green leafy vegetables, scallions, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cucumbers, and dried basil can be added to the diet to provide symptomatic relief in lactose intolerance.
Alvizia multivitamin supplements contain both calcium and vitamin K.