July 08, 2013
Milk is a good source of calcium and protein but not all adults can tolerate milk and other dairy foods. That’s because they may have a common condition called lactose intolerance. What is lactose intolerance and why does it make it so hard to tolerate dairy foods?
Lactose is a natural sugar in milk and dairy products. Lactose is two simple sugars, glucose and galactose linked together. To break down lactose into a form that can be absorbed by intestinal cells, you need ample quantities of an enzyme called lactase. Lactase is an enzyme secreted by cells in the small intestine that splits lactose into each individual sugar.
When there’s not enough lactase to do the job, lactose can’t be completely digested or absorbed. As a result, it moves undigested into the large intestine creating a variety of gases that trigger the symptoms of lactose intolerance – bloating, diarrhea, flatulence and cramping.
Lactase deficiency is extremely common. Three out of four adults worldwide have some degree of lactose intolerance. Some people experience symptoms when they consume even small amounts of lactose while others are symptom-free unless they consume a lot of dairy. This reflects differing levels of the lactase enzyme. Needless to say, adults who experience symptoms of lactose intolerance find the bloating and flatulence to be unpleasant and embarrassing.
Lactase is also produced by the bacteria found normally in the intestine. A clinical study from Purdue University showed that increasing the amounts of daily lactose intake trained the intestinal bacteria to produce more lactase in lactose intolerant people. People who have difficulty digesting lactose may find some relief with probiotics. The beneficial bacteria, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria produce lactase and can assist in the splitting of lactose into digestible sugars alongside the body’s natural mechanism – technical details of those studies can be found here.
Everybody’s body is different, and what may work for one person may not work well for others, but sufferers of lactose intolerance may want to try probiotics as a way of helping the body process dairy (although if you have concerns, or have an immune deficiency disease, you should consult with your doctor first). One approach would be to try probiotic supplements yourself, and slowly introduce small, daily quantities of dairy into your diet to see if it helps. After all, the very best test is whether it works for YOU!
August 13, 2019
August 13, 2019 2 Comments
We often get asked when is the best time to take probiotics – morning, evening, before or after food. Taking probiotics at any time is better than not taking them at all, of course, but taking probiotics at the right time can optimize the health benefits of this supplement. Staying on a regular routine can be difficult for some people, as hectic lifestyles can make it hard to do anything at the same time each day. Other people take so many medications that they simply add probiotics to the handful of pills they already take, with little regard as to.... [Read More...]
July 08, 2019
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a long-lasting or chronic disorder that causes muscle pain and an overall feeling of tiredness. People with this condition experience pain and tenderness throughout many parts of their body. It is often associated with other chronic conditions such as Chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and more. Anyone can get this but it does occur more frequently in women and often starts in middle age.