Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest/metabolize lactose, which is a sugar mainly found in milk and milk products.
Symptoms develop within half an hour to 2 hours of lactose ingestion.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance include-
Lactose intolerance never causes constipation.
It occurs because of a deficiency of an enzyme that is required to digest lactose in the small intestine. It may decrease in cases of-
Certain digestive diseases such as :
Stomach or intestinal infections and injuries to the small intestine as from surgery, any trauma, chemotherapy, etc. may reduce the amount of enzyme needed to process lactose properly.
Some children even have a congenital deficiency of this enzyme. In this case, infants are unable to break down the lactose present in breast milk.
The most common way that people self-diagnose lactose intolerance is by an elimination diet- a diet without any lactose.
Some tests that can detect an intolerance:
The patient consumes a lactose solution and then blood samples are taken to measure his/her glucose levels.
If blood glucose levels remain the same, this indicates that glucose has not entered the blood. This is because the lactose has not been successfully broken down into glucose.
The best treatment for a person with lactose intolerance is to avoid food items containing lactose. Some tablets of lactase are also available to take alongside food items that contain lactose.
Living with lactose intolerance usually involves dietary modifications.
For example, you can replace milk with vegetable-based milk or take a lactase capsule before ingesting any dairy product.
Alternatively, you can consume lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk and dairy products.
Calcium deficiency is a serious side effect of lactose intolerance. So try to incorporate calcium-rich foods into your diet.
Homeopathic remedies can efficiently deal with lactose intolerance without causing any side effects and eliminating the tendency altogether. Some useful remedies are Aethusa cynapium, apis, china, nat carb etc.
Add lactose-free alternatives of milk and milk products to your diet along with some supplements to avoid any nutrient deficiency.
Foods to avoid:
Foods that commonly contain lactose include: