Did you know lactose is the major sugar in the milk of all mammals?
Dairy products are an important part of a healthy diet in a human being as they provide a high amount of calcium and a complete set of proteins. However, a few people might experience discomfort after consuming some amounts of dairy products. Approximately 5-15% of Great Britain’s population suffer from this intolerance which may cause unpleasant symptoms in the digestive tract.
Lactose intolerance is a deficiency in the production of the enzyme lactase which breaks down this disaccharide into glucose and galactose (monosaccharides – single sugars) allowing the molecule to pass through the layer of cells that line the small intestine. Lack of the enzyme causes undigested lactose to remain in the large bowel where microbiological fermentation occurs, causing occurrence of symptoms in the digestive tract.
Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance:
- Appear after consuming milk or other milk products (yogurt, cream, cheese)
- May not appear immediately after consumption: it may take minutes to hours to develop
- Severity depends on the quantity of lactose consumed and a person’s individual level of tolerance to it
- Most common symptoms are: migraine, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, excessive flatulence, gases, abdominal bloating and nausea
There are several laboratory tests that allow lactose intolerance to be identified and distinguish it from milk allergy. The most common one is the hydrogen breath test where a breath sample is analyzed for the presence of hydrogen after consuming some quantity of this sugar. In a case of intolerance, bacteria in a digestive tract act on undigested lactose producing hydrogen which is absorbed, taken to the lungs, and appears in a breath sample.
However this technique is not specific for this intolerance. That’s why our gold standard, clinically proven ELISA blood test for food intolerance is able to clearly identify your intolerance to lactose. Read more about our food intolerance test. Being diagnosed with this intolerance does not mean one should completely stop eating food containing this disaccharide as that condition is dose-related. As everyone is unique, our team of expert nutritionists in Edinburgh can determine your personal tolerance level as the key element in the management of lactose intolerance. Beside the fact that there is no way to increase the level of lactase produced by the cells, some friendly bacteria in your gut are capable of metabolizing lactose without causing uncomfortable symptoms. A diet which is able to target those friendly bacteria is one of the strategies that we follow at NutriPanda to cope with lactose intolerance.
Feel free to contact our nutritionists at NutriPanda in Edinburgh.