Understanding Lactose Intolerance: Facts, Misconceptions, and Management Strategies
Experiencing pain or gastrointestinal distress after consuming dairy products may be a sign of lactose intolerance. Lactose is a natural sugar found in milk and milk products that is typically broken down by an enzyme called lactase in the small intestine. However, those with lactose intolerance have insufficient lactase production, leading to undigested lactose in the colon that can cause discomfort, including bloating, gas, pain, nausea, and diarrhea, as it is fermented by bacteria. Visit this website to learn more.
Understanding the Difference Between Lactose Intolerance and Milk Allergy:
Lactose intolerance and milk allergy are two conditions that often get confused with each other, despite being very different. It is important to differentiate between the two because a milk allergy is a severe autoimmune condition that can be life-threatening, while lactose intolerance is simply the inability to digest lactose properly.
Factors That Increase the Likelihood of Lactose Intolerance:
Lactose intolerance is a condition that affects many people, and there are factors that can increase the likelihood of experiencing it. One such factor is age. As we get older, our natural levels of lactase decrease, making it more difficult for our bodies to digest lactose properly. Additionally, certain populations, such as Asian Americans, African Americans, and Mexican Americans, are more susceptible to lactose intolerance due to a genetic component.
Diagnosis of lactose intolerance:
Lactose intolerance can be diagnosed through various methods. If you suspect that you have lactose intolerance, your doctor may ask you to remove all dairy products from your diet for a few weeks to see if your symptoms improve. Alternatively, you can take a blood test or breath hydrogen test for a more definitive answer. Both tests involve consuming something with lactose and then checking your blood or breath for signs that your body is not digesting it properly.
The importance of calcium in a lactose-free diet:
If you are lactose intolerant and need to reduce or eliminate dairy products from your diet, it is crucial to find alternative sources of calcium. Calcium-fortified nondairy milk like soy, tofu processed with calcium, kale, almonds, broccoli, and calcium-fortified cereal are good options to include in your diet to ensure you are still getting enough calcium.
Lactose intolerance is a common condition that can cause discomfort and digestive issues after consuming dairy products. By understanding lactose intolerance and its management strategies, individuals can maintain a healthy and balanced diet without sacrificing their comfort or well-being.