Lactose intolerance recommendations


Lactose intolerance is caused by the inability of the lactase enzyme to separate the two galactose molecules that lactose contains. When the activity of this enzyme is very low lactose cannot be digested so it passes into the large intestine and is fermented by bacteria in the intestinal flora.

This can cause abdominal pain, flatulence and diarrhea. It may be a temporal secondary deficit caused by an infection or altered bowel wall and after a temporary period without lactose, once it is recovered, lactose can be tolerated again.

The primary deficit is the loss of capacity of lactase which separates galactose molecules. This deficit may be partial, when patients tolerate small amounts of dairy and can consume small amounts of milk in tea, coffee or milk chocolate. In contrast, patients with complete deficits do not tolerate dairy or derivative products.

One of the biggest sources of lactose is milk from cows, goats, sheep or buffalo. Patients should also avoid yogurt, custard, puddings, curds and other products containing significant amounts of milk. Individuals may decide to replace regular milk for lactose-free milk or soya milk, rice, almonds, oats, potatoes, quinoa, coconut and hazelnuts. Cheese contains lower levels of lactose than milk and can be consumed by some individuals with less severe lactose intolerance.

Some individuals may benefit from lactase substitute. Commercial lactase enzyme is available and can be added to milk or can be taken before dairy meals with flour.

A person’s daily requirement of calcium is around 1,000/1,200 mg. A diet that excludes milk and dairy products should be supplemented with calcium products.

Examples of foods that contain calcium include cabbage, broccoli, kale, dried fruit, soybeans, okra, almonds, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, salmon and sardines. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need 1,300 mg of calcium per day and they should supplement their diet with calcium.

A supplement of vitamin D is also needed for calcium to be absorbed properly.
Allergy recommendations index.



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