7 Tips for Managing Lactose Sensitivity
7 Tips for Managing Lactose Sensitivity
Is ice cream no longer your friend? The dairy foods you once enjoyed as a child may now make you feel bloated and uncomfortable. Most infants have plenty of lactase, an enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose for digestion. But by adulthood, it is thought that 70% of people no longer produce enough lactase to meet their dairy-consumption needs. If you suspect or know you are sensitive to lactose, you’re not alone, and—fortunately—scientists have shared ways to help quell symptoms. Here are seven effective ways to manage symptoms and live more comfortably.
First, What are the Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common symptoms are:
- Nausea (sometimes with vomiting)
- Abdominal cramping
Of course, these symptoms could also be caused by other foods, so it’s helpful if you can do a DNA screen to determine whether the root of the problem really is the lactose and/or cow-milk protein (casin) contained in dairy edibles, or if symptoms may be related to something else.
Bloat-Busting Diet Tips for Lactose Sensitivity
1. Use alternatives to cow milk like nut, sheep, and goat milk, but be wary of soy
Soy may not be a healthy substitute for milk. Research has found that unfermented soy might make it harder for the body to absorb nutrients.
2. Try eating aged cheeses, since they contain less lactose
A good way of determining how much lactose is in cheese is to check the amount of sugar on the nutrition label. If there’s more than 2g of sugar, there’s a greater amount of lactose.
3. Try eating yogurt
Yogurt is one of the few dairy products that is often well tolerated in lactose-intolerant people. The probiotics in the yogurt may help digest and break down the lactose
Lifestyle Tips that Can Really Help
4. Gradually increase your lactose intake over time
This has been shown to improve lactose tolerance. You can start with hard cheese, move on to softer cheeses, then give yogurt a try. Finally, try milk last. You can also increase exposure by starting with small quantities of the food and slowly increasing the quantity of consumption over time.
5. Try lactase-reduced milk
Some companies add the lactase enzyme to milk to break down the lactase and make it more tolerable for those who drink it. Use caution and start with small portions, because the amount of lactase that is broken down varies depending each company’s process
Supplements to Ask About
Research has determined these supplements may be helpful to those experiencing sensitivity(ies) to lactose. The following are suggestions only. Before taking any supplements or changing your existing regimen, please consult your medical provider.
At least 10 billion CFU strains of Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus Reuteri, and Lactobacillus acidophilus have all been shown to have positive effects on lactose tolerance. Inclusion of a probiotic during an elimination and reintroduction and gradual build-up phase might improve lactose tolerance.
7. Lactase enzyme
A lactase enzyme with 6,000 lactase units or more before meals can improve symptoms of lactose intolerance by 70-80%. Research has found that lactase from K. lactis was better at breaking down lactose than lactase from A. niger.
The Bottom Line
Keep in mind that sensitivity levels vary as do severity of symptoms, so once you’ve determined you have an issue with lactose, you may not have to give it up altogether. Sensitivity to lactose is unfortunate if you’re a dairy lover, but there are many delicious workarounds that can help you to still indulge in the yumminess.
Feel free to leave a comment and tell us what you think!
“Lactose Intolerance” https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/lactose-intolerance/Pages/facts.aspx
"Lactose digestion from unmodified, low-fat and lactose-hydrolyzed yogurt in adult lactose-maldigesters." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=1559509
"Improved clinical tolerance to chronic lactose ingestion in subjects with lactose intolerance: a placebo effect?" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=9414969
"The effect of oral supplementation with Lactobacillus reuteri or tilactase in lactose intolerant patients: randomized trial." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=20391953
"Beneficial effects of long-term consumption of a probiotic combination of Lactobacillus casei Shirota and Bifidobacterium breve Yakult may persist after suspension of therapy in lactose-intolerant patients." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=22402407
"The effects of the DDS-1 strain of lactobacillus on symptomatic relief for lactose intolerance - a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover clinical trial." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27207411
"Effect of exogenous beta-galactosidase in patients with lactose malabsorption and intolerance: a crossover double-blind placebo-controlled study." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15674309
"Serum diamine oxidase activity is associated with lactose malabsorption phenotypic variation." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27593109