Lactose Intolerance

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Lactose Intolerance

Milk Allergy, Lactose Intolerance, and You

 

For many people, a warm glass of milk at bedtime induces sweet dreams and a good night's sleep.

 

But for the 40 million Americans who are lactose intolerant, ingesting even a tiny amount of milk, or milk by-products, can create a gastric nightmare.

 

According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), Lactose intolerance is the inability of the body to digest lactose, the major sugar found in milk.

 

The major cause of lactose intolerance is a shortage of the enzyme lactose, which is normally produced in abundance by cells that line the small intestine. Lactose is important to proper digestion because it breaks down milk sugar into two simpler forms of sugar called glucose and galatose, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream.

 

When this lactose production by the body is reduced below minimum levels, the onset of symptoms will begin to surface. 

 

Symptoms of lactose intolerance usually occur with 30 minutes to one hour of ingestion and often include severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, excess flatulence and bloating, among others.

 

Symptoms can be mild or severe, depending on just how much lactose a person has inadvertently ingested.

 

IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, can also be confused with, as well as a cause of, these types of gastric disturbance events as well, so check with your doctor if you are unsure of which problem you are experiencing.

 

Although lactose intolerance is a nuisance, it does not pose a serious health threat and can be easily treated by dietary changes.

 

 In the planning of meals, people with lactose intolerance should make sure that each day's diet includes enough calcium, since dairy products are not included. Many non-dairy foods are high in calcium, including dark green vegetables such as broccoli - or fish with soft, edible bones, such as salmon and sardines. 

 

 A recent breakthrough in the field of plant-based, pre-digested calcium is now available in a natural nutritional supplement form called algae-cal. You can find it in the OSTEO K2 formula available from IVLProducts.com.

 

A holistic dietician can also be consulted to help you plan meals that will provide the most nutrients with the least chance of causing discomfort.

  

People who suffer from lactose intolerance should always be on the lookout for "hidden lactose." Some products labeled non-dairy, such as powdered coffee creamer and whipped toppings, may actually include ingredients that are derived from milk and therefore do contain lactose.

 

That's why it's so important that you learn to read food labels with care, looking not only for milk and lactose, but also for words such as whey, curds, milk by-products, dry milk solids and non-fat dry milk powder. If any of these words are listed on the label, the product contains lactose.

 

Did you know lactose is also used as a filler in more than 20 percent of prescription drugs (including many types of birth control pills) and in about 6 percent of over-the-counter medicines?

 

This may not matter to you if you take medication only occasionally, but if you take it every day, it could cause symptoms.

 

Complicating matters is the fact that lactose may not be listed under the inactive ingredients on the label. To find out if what you're taking contains lactose, ask your doctor or pharmacist, or contact the drug's manufacturer.

 

The degree of intolerance differs with each person. The best way to assess your tolerance is first to get all lactose out of your system by avoiding all lactose-containing foods for three to four weeks.

 

Then start with very small quantities of milk or cheese. Monitor your symptoms to see how much or how little dairy food you can handle without experiencing discomfort. Once you know your limits, management becomes a lot easier.

 

Fortunately, there are some supplements on the market which can be helpful to some people with lactose intolerance, such as:

  • Lactose enzyme tablets or drops that contain the enzyme that breaks down lactose, thereby reducing the amount your body must digest on its own. You can also add drops directly to liquid dairy products, but they take up to 24 hours to break down the lactose in the product. You can also take tablets just before a meal or snack.

 

  • Plant-based Calcium replentishment supplements can also be helpful for people who have lactose intolerance and are unable to eat dairy products in any form, thereby losing an important source of calcium. 

 

  • Special foods are now available that can make life easier for the lactose intolerant.

 

Visiting your local health food store to review the latest supplements and foods that are available to treat lactose intolerance can be very helpful and rewarding.

So, to be safe, be sure to remember to read your food labels closely, avoiding any and all milk-based products.

Hopefully, it will pay big dividends to your continued good health and comfort!

 

 

About the Author

David Flores is a natural health researcher for Institute for Vibrant Living, a top retailer specializing in all-natural supplements, vitamins, and minerals for many health and nutrition challenges.  To learn more about the products offered by the Institute for Vibrant Living visit http://www.ivlproducts.com

 

If you found this helpful you might like to visit http://www.theivl.org where you'll find more free healthy living articles to help improve your health today.

Lactose Intolerance
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