Lactose intolerance is more prevalent than we think. Unfortunately, millions of people cannot digest a specific sugar in milk and milk products.
The inability to break down this sugar is called lactose intolerance. Though lactose intolerance is not a severe condition, it may be awkward and uncomfortable for some people. Even though there is no cure for lactose intolerance, you can control it by watching your milk and milk product consumption.
What Is Lactose Intolerance
Lactose is a sugar that is naturally found in milk. When we consume milk or milk products, lactase found in our small intestines breaks down lactose. Next, the small intestines assimilate lactose into the body.
In contrast, persons who are lactose intolerant do not produce enough lactase. Therefore, because their small intestines do not produce enough lactase, their body cannot break down lactose.
The lactose will be sent to the colon and combined with normal bacteria and fermented. They experience symptoms after consuming dairy, such as gas or bloating.
Types Of Lactose Intolerance
There are 4 kinds of bacteria: primary, secondary, congenital, and developmental lactose intolerance.
Primary Lactose Intolerance
Primary lactose intolerance is age-related and the most prevalent kind of lactose intolerance. Most individuals have adequate amounts of lactase when they are born since it is required to digest breast milk. However, lactase production may decrease the older a person gets because people add more variety to their diet as they age and consume less milk.
Secondary Lactose Intolerance
Secondary lactose intolerance results from medical conditions and injuries. For example, diseases associated with the intestines like celiac or inflammatory bowel may cause lactose intolerance.
In addition to this, surgery or damage to your small intestine may result in lactose intolerance. Luckily lactase levels can be repaired once the rudimentary condition is addressed.
Congenital Lactose Intolerance
Though it does not occur often, lactose intolerance can be inherited.
If both parents have recessive genes for lactase, the defective gene will be transferred to the child, rendering them unable to produce lactase. This condition is called congenital lactose intolerance.
The child will not be able to consume human milk or formulas that have lactose. Furthermore, if this condition goes undiagnosed or is not treated early, it may become a life-threatening illness due to dehydration and electrolyte depletion associated with diarrhea. Fortunately, this problem can be easily solved by feeding the baby lactose-free formula.
Symptoms Of Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerant, individuals experience symptoms within 30 minutes to 2 hours of consuming milk or milk products. Common lactose intolerance symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, and gas.
The Alternative To Lactose
Some people can consume small quantities of milk, while others consume dairy with food. However, there are alternatives to lactose.
There are several brands of lactose-free dairy products. There are also supplements that can break down lactose.
If you want to remove milk and milk products from your diet, you can get your calcium, vitamin D, and other nutrients from almonds, kale, dried beans, collards, kale, tofu, and calcium-enriched orange juice or soy milk.