13 Home Remedies for Lactose Intolerance

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Some people don't make enough  lactase enzyme to digest the lactose in milk and other products.

Many folks relish the thought of downing a frosty-cold glass of milk, polishing off a bowl of creamy ice cream, or biting into a piping-hot slice of cheesy pizza. For 30 to 50 million Americans, though, indulging in these dairy delights can trigger gas, bloating, and cramping. The common condition these people share is lactose intolerance.

Milk and other dairy products are a major source of nutrients, so being unable to tolerate an entire food group can make some children and even adults feel they are missing something important. But there are ways you can receive all the calcium your body needs without triggering any unpleasant consequences.

Lactose is the sugar in milk, and an enzyme called lactase is normally responsible for breaking down lactose in your digestive tract after you've consumed milk or a food made from it. Some people, however, don't make enough lactase enzyme to tackle the lactose they consume. They may be missing a little or a lot of the enzyme. Depending on the degree of enzyme deficiency, consuming dairy products, such as ice cream or cottage cheese, can trigger bouts of nausea, cramps, bloating, gas, or diarrhea, usually 30 minutes or so later.

But lactose intolerance is not an all-or-nothing proposition. It's normal for the level of lactase in the intestinal tract to begin declining after three years of age. How steep that decline is varies greatly among individuals, accounting for a spectrum of symptoms ranging from none to a lot of diarrhea, cramping, and gas. The severity of symptoms depends on just how low your levels of the critical enzyme are. In rare cases, children are born without the ability to produce lactase. For most people, though, lactase deficiency is a condition that develops naturally over time. Many people may not experience symptoms until later in life.

One of the most common misconceptions about lactose intolerance is that it is a milk allergy. Though the two are often confused, the difference is a critical one.

The inability to completely digest lactose rarely translates into the need for a milk-free diet. But if you have a milk allergy, even minute amounts can trigger a serious reaction. Symptoms of a true milk allergy include a runny nose, puffy eyes, skin rash, vomiting, tightness in the throat, and difficulty breathing. There is no connection between having a milk allergy, which is due to an immune response to a protein, and having lactose intolerance, which is an enzyme deficiency.

Lactose intolerance is most common in adults, whereas milk allergies are seen mostly in children. Essentially all children who develop a milk allergy develop it in their first year or so, and the vast majority will eventually outgrow it. In the end, very few people carry milk allergies with them into late childhood or adulthood.

If you suspect you may be lactose intolerant, check with your physician for a proper diagnosis.

As mentioned above, how you change your diet to avoid dairy depends on the sensitivity of your body. In the next section, we will show you home remedies that can help ensure you receive your daily dose of calcium.

For more information about remedies for stomach problems, try the following links:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Home Remedy Treatments for Lactose Intolerance

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. It's a good idea to have a meal or snack with your milk.

Fortunately, most people who are lactose deficient don't have to completely cut dairy foods from their diets. In fact, it's been estimated that about 80 percent of people with lactose intolerance are still able to drink enough milk for good nutrition.

Just how diligent you must be in avoiding lactose depends entirely on how sensitive you are. Below are a few home remedies that may help you minimize your lactose intolerant symptoms.

Consider lactase products. There are a number of different lactase products on the market to help the lactose intolerant continue to include milk or other dairy-based products in their diet. A lactase enzyme powder can be sprinkled or a few drops of the liquid form can be added to milk that will predigest the lactose for you. (Keep in mind, however, that you must add the drops 24 hours in advance of drinking the milk to give the drops time to work). Another option is ingesting a lactase tablet immediately after eating a dairy product.

Determine your level of lactose intolerance. The degree of intolerance differs with each person. The best way to assess your tolerance is first to get all lactose out of your system by avoiding all lactose-containing foods for three to four weeks. Then start with very small quantities of milk or cheese. Monitor your symptoms to see how much or how little dairy food you can handle without experiencing discomfort. Once you know your limits, management becomes a little easier.

Check the milk percentage. Fat slows the passage of lactose through your digestive system, giving your body more time to work on digesting it. So if you have trouble tolerating skim milk but don't want all the fat and calories from whole milk, try drinking one percent or two percent milk instead.

Stick with small servings. While you may not be able to tolerate an eight-ounce glass of milk all at once, you may have no discomfort from drinking a third of a cup in the morning, a third of a cup in the afternoon, and a third of a cup at night.

Don't eat dairy foods alone. If you eat some cheese or drink a little milk, plan to do so with a meal or a snack. Eating dairy on an empty stomach can worsen your symptoms.

Hidden sources of lactose. Lactose is used in a lot of processed foods where you might not expect to find it. To identify hidden sources of lactose, check the labels before you buy. You should also know that bread, cereals, pancakes, chocolate, soups, puddings, salad dressings, sherbet, instant cocoa mix, candies, frozen dinners, cookie mixes, and hot dogs may all contain lactose. While the amounts of lactose may be small, people with low tolerance levels can experience symptoms from them.

When perusing ingredient labels, it's not just milk that you have to watch for. Whey, curds, milk by-products, dry milk solids, nonfat dry milk powder, casein, galactose, skim milk powder, milk sugar, and whey protein concentrate are all words that indicate the presence of lactose.

.

If you absolutely cannot tolerate milk, read the next section for home remedies in the form of other food and drinks that are a good source of calcium.

For more information about remedies for stomach problems, try the following links:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Natural Home Remedies for Lactose Intolerance

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Eating sardines is a good way to get calcium in your diet.

If you've been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, you may be disappointed at the thought of giving up milk. But before you get too discouraged, here are some easy home remedies from your kitchen that you can try to get some relief.

Home Remedies From the Cupboard

Cocoa powder. Studies indicate that cocoa powder and sugar, or chocolate powders, may help the body digest lactose by slowing the rate at which the stomach empties. The slower the emptying process, the less lactose that enters your system at once. That means fewer symptoms. Also see

the information on chocolate milk, below.

Sardines. They're high in calcium, which might be lacking in your diet if you're not drinking milk or consuming calcium-rich milk products. These foods are also high in calcium: canned salmon (or any other canned oily fish with bones), tofu, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, cooked dried beans, dried apricots, and sesame seed products.

Home Remedies From the Refrigerator

Chocolate milk. The calcium in chocolate milk is just as well absorbed as that in regular milk, and you may tolerate flavored milk better than plain.

Hard cheese. If you find yourself drawn to the cheese aisle at your grocery store, pick hard cheeses, like Swiss, cheddar and Colby: The harder the cheese, the lower its lactose content. Skip the soft cheese, including cream cheese, cottage cheese, and any product that's processed or spreadable.

Soy milk. It's a shock after you're used to cow's milk, but it won't cause lactose intolerance. If you can't get used to the taste, try using it in recipes and products such as pudding where adding milk is required.

Yogurt. Research shows that yogurt with active cultures may be a good source of calcium for many people with lactose intolerance, even though it is fairly high in lactose. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, evidence shows that the bacterial cultures used in making yogurt produce some of the lactase enzyme required for proper digestion. If you can tolerate yogurt, it's to your advantage to include it in your diet.

Living with lactose intolerance doesn't have to mean you permanently can't drink milk or avoid all dairy-based products. With proper planning and precaution, many lactose intolerance sufferers can enjoy the foods they want to eat. Try the home remedies in this article to see which work for you.

For more information about remedies for stomach problems, try the following links:

David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.