How to manage Lactose Intolerance for lifetime?
Lactose intolerance is the inability or insufficient ability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products. Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which is produced by the cells lining the small intestine. Lactase breaks down lactose into two simpler forms of sugar called glucose and galactose, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream.
Let’s Move on to types of Lactose Intolerance
[cro_callout text=”What is Primary Lactose Intolerance? Primary lactose intolerance mostly affects your digestive system. It begins in the small intestine, where cells don’t produce enough of the enzyme that helps break down lactose, the sugar in dairy products. This means that the body can’t absorb that sugar, so it moves on to the large intestine, where it’s fermented by bacteria. This fermentation causes symptoms like gas and bloating. It might also lead to abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Most of the time, these symptoms are mild. For some people, diarrhea is severe enough to prevent the intestines from properly absorbing nutrients in food, which can lead to weight loss.” layout=”1″ color=”#E9510E”]
[cro_callout text=”What is Secondary Lactose Intolerance? Secondary lactose intolerance is a condition in which the body can’t digest a sugar called lactose, which is found in dairy products. Usually, your body produces an enzyme called lactase that breaks down this sugar, but certain conditions like illness or injury cause the small intestine to produce less lactase. This means that the body can’t digest the sugar as well. Secondary lactose intolerance usually causes digestive issues like diarrhea and stomach cramps after you eat or drink any dairy products.” layout=”1″ color=”#EB5777″]
How do I identify if I have Lactose Intolerance?
Method 1 of 4: Familiarize Yourself With the Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance.
Try to notice when your abdominal pain occurs. If it occurs after you eat foods with milk or milk products, this can be a sign that you are lactose intolerant.
Watch for diarrhea and flatulence (gas), both are common symptoms of lactose intolerance and will occur after you eat milk products.
Watch for less common symptoms, such as nausea and abdominal bloating.
Method 2 of 4: Try to Self-Diagnose Using the Elimination Diet
Fast overnight and then drink a glass of milk in the morning.
- After you drink a glass of milk in the morning, nothing further should be eaten or drunk for three to five hours. The milk should produce the symptoms of lactose intolerance during this time period and if it does, then the person is lactose intolerant.
Use fat free milk when trying this test.
- Using the fat free milk will help eliminate the possibility of the fat in the milk being the cause of the stomach problems.
Drink only 8 to 16 ounces of milk during the test.
- Drinking too much milk can make a person nauseous. If a person is not even used to drinking 8 to 16 ounces of milk, this small amount can make the person feel nauseous as well. This is one of the problems with this test as a person has to ingest at least 8 to 16 ounces for the symptoms of lactose intolerance to occur. If you do not drink this much milk in your diet, this may not be the right test for you to try.
Know that this test will not eliminate milk allergies.
- Using this test will not eliminate the possibility that the problem is a milk allergy. A milk allergy is very rare, but it is very different than lactose intolerance. However, a milk allergy occurs primarily in infants and young children. You can use pure lactose instead of milk to do the challenge if you are concerned that the problem may be a milk allergy.
Method 3 of 4: Try Using the Hydrogen Breath Test
Ask your doctor to order a Hydrogen Breath Test.
- You will be sent to a lab if your doctor cannot perform the test in the office. The Hydrogen Breath Test is performed after fasting the night before.
- Using only pure lactose is the only way to ensure the efficiency of the test. You will be given 25 grams of lactose, which is the same as a 16 ounce glass of milk. The pure lactose will be taken with water.
- If an intolerance to lactose is present, the lactose will not be digested and will be converted instead into hydrogen or methane gas. Tiny amounts of the hydrogen will travel from the colon to the lungs and can later be detected in your breath.
- You will provide breath samples for analysis every 15 minutes. The samples will be tested for the presence of hydrogen or methane gas. If these gases are found, then the person is lactose intolerant.
- The breath test does have some problems associated with it. It can be a very long and boring test for some people. It also has the same problem with the milk challenge, as people need to be given the proper amount of lactose. Using too much can give false positives, as can a bacterial overgrowth in the bowels.
Method 4 of 4: Do the Blood Glucose Test or the Stool Acidity Test
Fast the night before you take the blood glucose test. You will then need to ingest pure lactose the morning after the overnight fast.
- After the lactose is ingested (usually around 0.75 to 1 gram of lactose per kilogram of a person’s body weight), blood samples are drawn and analyzed for glucose.
- The blood glucose test is often not used because many blood samples have to be taken and this can result in a lot of false positives.
Perform the stool acidity test. You will be given a small amount of lactose to ingest. Several stool samples are then taken and tested. Even though this test works well, the breath test is usually preferred over this test as it is easier to conduct.
[cro_callout text=” Now that I am Lactose Intolerant, I will be calcium and Vitamin D deficient for my whole life ! ” layout=”1″ color=”#DC042B”]
The answer is ofcourse NO !!
Most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate some amount of lactose in their diet. Gradually introducing small amounts of milk or milk products may help some people adapt to them with fewer symptoms. Often, people can better tolerate milk or milk products by taking them with meals.
The amount of change needed in the diet depends on how much lactose a person can consume without symptoms. For example, one person may have severe symptoms after drinking a small glass of milk, while another can drink a large glass without symptoms. Others can easily consume yogurt and hard cheeses such as cheddar and Swiss but not milk or other milk products.
People who still experience symptoms after dietary changes can take over-the-counter lactase enzyme drops or tablets. Taking the tablets or a few drops of the liquid enzyme when consuming milk or milk products may make these foods more tolerable for people with lactose intolerance.
Parents and caregivers of a child with lactose intolerance should follow the nutrition plan recommended by the child’s doctor or dietitian.
Some studies have found that people with lactose intolerance are at higher risk for osteoporosis, while others have not. Regardless, people with lactose intolerance should follow the same basic strategies to build and maintain healthy bones, and pay extra attention to getting enough calcium.
Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption and bone health. It is synthesized in the skin through exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is also found in some foods, such as fish oil, egg yolks, fortified margarine, and breakfast cereals. While many people are able to obtain enough vitamin D naturally, older individuals are often deficient in this vitamin due, in part, to limited time spent outdoors. They may require vitamin D supplements to ensure an adequate daily intake.
[cro_callout text=”What do Studies Suggest?” layout=”1″ color=”#52BFD3″]
The role of lactose intolerance and lactose-free diets on bone health is not yet clear. Many people who are lactose intolerant, or think they are, avoid dairy products and do not get enough calcium and vitamin D. Dairy products are especially good sources of these nutrients, which are needed for bone health. People who do not get enough calcium over their lifetime are more likely to get osteoporosis or thinning bones. Despite these facts, research has yet to clarify whether lactose intolerance increases the risk of osteoporosis.
[cro_callout text=”Let’s read some of our viewer’s Lactose Intolerant stories” layout=”1″ color=”#BA265B”]
I wasn’t aware that there is something called Lactose Intolerance, During my childhood, I skipped breakfast and avoided milk. Not because of the taste but the way it reacts in stomach, It’s weird. I felt nauseous and flatulence, sometimes I couldn’t focus on work, Sheela Ahuja, Mumbai
After having milk I always felt the flatulence and heavy and it ruined my whole day. Now that there are options these days to choose fat free, low fat foods so I just buy them and have it, Meena Bodhak, South Mumbai.
My kid used to always run away when I use to serve him milk in the breakfast. Initially I thought its his kiddish behaviour but when I visited the doctor, I was shocked to know about lactose Intolerance
[cro_callout text=”Can I have milk products even if I am Lactose Intolerant?” layout=”1″ color=”#EB5777″]
Studies have shown that people who have at least some intestinal lactase can increase their tolerance to lactose by gradually introducing dairy products into the diet. These people can often eat small portions of diary products without developing symptoms. The key for them is to consume small amounts of dairy products at a time so that there is enough lactase available in the intestine to digest the lactose. When the lactose is fully digested, symptoms do not develop.
Also, certain sources of dairy products may be easier for people with lactose intolerance to digest. For example, ripened cheese may contain up to 95 percent less lactose than whole milk. Yogurt containing active cultures also lessens gastrointestinal symptoms. A variety of lactose-reduced dairy products, including milk, cottage cheese, and processed cheese slices, are also available. Lactose replacement pills and liquid are also available to help with the digestion of dairy products.
Lactose-free and lactose-reduced milk and milk products, available at most supermarkets, are identical to regular milk except that the lactase enzyme has been added. Lactose-free milk remains fresh for about the same length of time or longer than regular milk if it is ultra-pasteurized. Lactose-free milk may have a slightly sweeter taste than regular milk. Soy milk and other products may be recommended by a health professional.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 recommend that people with lactose intolerance choose milk products with lower levels of lactose than regular milk, such as yogurt and hard cheese.
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