Do I have lactose intolerance?
If there is a “revolution“ in your stomach and intestines after a glass of baked milk, it is not bad to visit a doctor and adjust your diet.
What is lactose?
Lactose (also known as milk sugar) is a carbohydrate of the disaccharides group, which is found mainly in milk and a large part of dairy products.
In order for the body to absorb lactose, it must be degraded to glucose and galactose. This is thanks to the enzyme lactase, which is produced in the small intestine.
In childhood, lactase is produced in the required amount and there are no problems with the use of milk. The child grows, begins to eat more other foods, respectively, the level of lactase gradually decreases. Usually a small amount of enzyme is enough for adults to properly digest milk if it is in moderation. But in some cases, the production of lactase decreases dramatically and problems begin. Lactase is too small to completely degrade lactose in the milk products taken. Milk sugar is not completely processed and sent to the colon. There it appears as excess waste and disrupts the activity of the available bacteria. Characteristic symptoms and the so-called “lactose intolerance” happened.
This phenomenon is not something unique. It occurs in over 65% of people, and in some nationalities and over 80%.
In our practice, we recommend for all adults to reduce the consumption of fresh milk.
Secondary lactose intolerance occurs as a result of certain diseases, in operations on the small intestine. With it with timely and competent measures and a correct diet can restore the normal state of the body. Normal as long as it is expected to be according to age.
Quite rare, but there is also congenital lactose intolerance – when passed from generation to generation.
In infants with congenital intolerance, diarrhea is obtained even from breast milk. If you do not notice the problem in time, there may be a risk to the child’s life.
Secondary lactose intolerance in infants is equally dangerous. This happened to one of our daughters as a result of treatment of a cold disease with antibiotics and thank God other doctors found it on time and after eating with special milks several months, lactase levels recovered.
How lactose intolerance manifests itself?
This condition is easily suspected by typical symptoms:
- Pain or cramps in the stomach.
- Increased gas formation.
- Nausea, and sometimes vomiting.
They are also characteristic of other diseases, so it is important to understand whether unpleasant sensations are associated with the use of fresh milk and dairy products. With a deficiency of lactase, symptoms are felt in the period of 30 minutes to 2 hours after drinking a glass of fresh milk.
To know for sure that intolerance is lactose, and not something else, it is best to consult a doctor. Methods of examination include analysis of fecal acidity and determination of the carbohydrate content in it, as well as various respiratory and other specialized tests.
If you have problems with lactose, this does not mean that you should abandon dairy products and fresh cheeses once and for all. There are already quite a few products with a reduced lactose content.
Even to be sure of your lactose intolerance, this does not mean that you should completely deprive yourself of any dairy products.
First, milk is one of the main sources of protein needed to build muscle. Milk contains calcium, which is necessary for bones, and potassium – helps to keep the cardiovascular system in good condition.
Secondly, lactose intolerance in different people manifests itself in different ways: some get unpleasant sensations even from a very small amount of fresh milk, while others can drink a whole glass without serious consequences. The majority of other dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese does not usually provoke such a violent reaction as fresh milk.
Completely refuse dairy products only if this is really necessary and is imposed by your attending physician.
If that’s not the case, try keeping a nutrition diary. Write down when, what and in what amount you ate and drank, and then how your body reacts to it. It is important to find your critical norm: it is quite possible that drinking milk in small doses does not cause you a problem, but after a few glasses and a little more you need not to plan anything serious for the next few hours, because you do not know if you will go to the toilet 😉.
If your body does not respond well even to milk added in the coffee, try to impose a regime with lactose-free dairy products – in them the milk sugar is degraded even in their production with lactase, in practice they do not differ from ordinary ones and contain the same vitamins and minerals. Replace the milk with yogurt or ayran and fresh cheese with ripe. There is a lactose-free mozzarella, skirella is an even better choice because of the small fat and high protein content. We recommend yogurt with a 2% fat content (because fat we get too much from other sources, and completely degreased milks become such in a chemical way and may contain inappropriate ingredients). In general, it is desirable to always read the labels of all dairy products you buy.
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