Lactose intolerance is a condition whereby people cannot consume significant amounts of lactose without unpleasant symptoms. Lactose is the sugar found in milk, and it’s what causes many of the symptoms that result from lactose intolerance. Here are some things you need to know about lactose intolerance:
Causes of Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which is responsible for breaking down lactose into glucose and galactose.
Lactase is produced by the cells lining the small intestine. When these cells are damaged or destroyed, as can happen with certain diseases or conditions, the body can no longer produce enough lactase to digest lactose.
There are a number of different causes of lactose intolerance. The most common cause is primary lactase deficiency, which is an inherited condition that affects people of all ages.
Secondary lactase deficiency can be caused by certain diseases or conditions that damage the small intestine, such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and viral gastroenteritis.
Some medications, such as antibiotics, can also cause secondary lactase deficiency. And finally, pregnancy and aging can also lead to decreased production of lactase.
Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance is a common digestive problem where the body cannot digest lactose, a type of sugar found in milk and dairy products.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance can range from mild to severe and include bloating, gas, stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.
People with lactose intolerance are unable to produce enough of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose.
Glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream, while galactose is metabolized by the liver. When there isn’t enough lactase to break down all the lactose consumed, it enters the large intestine undigested where bacteria ferments it, leading to symptoms like gas and bloating.
Lactase production typically declines as we age, so adults are more likely to experience symptoms of lactose intolerance than children.
However, it’s important to note that some people are born without the ability to produce lactase (congenital lactase) while others develop lactose intolerance later in life (secondary Anastasia).
There is no cure for lactose intolerance, but avoiding dairy products is often all that’s necessary to prevent symptoms.
Some people with milder forms of lactose intolerance may be able to tolerate small amounts of dairy or certain types of dairy products that are easier to digest, such as yogurt or cheese.
In addition, there are now several types of lactase supplements available that can be taken before consuming dairy products.
Treatment for Lactose Intolerance
If you have lactose intolerance, it means that your body can’t digest lactose, a type of sugar found in milk and other dairy products.
Lactose intolerance is different from a milk allergy. A milk allergy is an immune reaction to one or more proteins found in milk. People with a milk allergy may experience symptoms such as hives, wheezing, and nausea when they consume milk or products containing milk.
Lactose intolerance is not an immune reaction. It’s caused by a lack of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose, two simple sugars that can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream.
Without enough lactase, lactose stays in the digestive system where it pulls water into the intestine and causes diarrhea. Lactose intolerance can also cause gas, bloating, and stomach cramps.
Most people with lactose intolerance can eat some dairy products without problems. The amount of dairy you can tolerate depends on how much lactase your body makes and how sensitive you are to the effects of lactose.
Some people with lactose intolerance can drink small amounts of milk or take Lactaid pills (which contain the enzyme lactase) before eating dairy products. Others need to avoid dairy entirely.
How to Deal with a Keto Diet and Intolerance
If you’re lactose intolerant, you may be wondering how to deal with a keto diet. After all, many dairy products are high in carbs and can kick you out of ketosis.
There are a few things you can do to make sure you can still enjoy the benefits of a keto diet while dealing with intolerance.
First, make sure you’re getting enough fat. Many people find that they need to increase their fat intake when they cut out carbs. This will help keep you satiated and prevent cravings.
Second, choose dairy products that are lower in lactose. This includes aged cheeses, butter, ghee, heavy cream, and sour cream. These products are easier to digest and won’t cause as much digestive discomfort.
Finally, consider taking a lactase supplement before consuming any dairy products. This enzyme helps break down lactose, making it easier for your body to digest.
How do you know if you have lactose intolerance?
If you have an intolerance, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms after consuming milk or other dairy products:
– Abdominal pain and cramping
If you suspect that you may be lactose intolerant, it is important to see a doctor for a diagnosis. They can perform an intolerance test, which involves drinking a liquid that contains high levels of lactose and then measuring the amount of hydrogen in your breath.
How to Deal with Intolerance if you have it
If you have an intolerance, you may be wondering how to deal with it. There are a few things you can do to make sure you can still enjoy dairy products without having to worry about the side effects.
First, you can choose to eat dairy products that are lower in lactose. This includes hard cheeses, yogurt, and buttermilk. These products are easier on your digestive system and won’t cause as many problems.
You can also take lactase enzymes before you eat anything with lactose in it. These enzymes help your body break down the lactose so that it’s easier to digest. You can find these enzymes at most health food stores.
Finally, if you’re really struggling with intolerance, you may want to consider avoiding dairy altogether. There are plenty of non-dairy alternatives available these days, so you don’t have to miss out on your favorite foods.
Lactose intolerance is a common condition that can cause symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea.
If you think you might be lactose intolerant, it’s important to see a doctor so they can confirm the diagnosis and rule out other potential causes of your symptoms.
There are many ways to manage intolerance, including avoiding dairy products, taking lactase supplements, and eating fermented dairy products like yogurt and kefir.
With a little trial and error, you should be able to find a management strategy that works for you and allows you to enjoy many of the foods you love.