• Lactose Intolerance

    Lactose Intolerance

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  • What is Lactose Intolerance

    It is a condition that makes it hard for your body to digest milk and milk products( also called dairy products). If you have lactose intolerance and you eat dairy products, you can get diarrhea, belly pain, and gas.

    Lactose intolerance can affect anyone. But it is most common among Native American, Asian, Asian Indians, and black people.

    In people who do not have lactose intolerance, the body makes a protein called "Lactase" that breaks down lactose, the main form of sugar found in milk. In people who do have lactose intolerance, the body either does not make enough of the enzyme, or the enzyme does not work as well as it should. Also, some infections, such as you might get with food poisoning, can damage the enzyme. But if that happens, the problem usually goes away within a few weeks. Luckily, people with lactose intolerance can take an enzyme supplement to help with their problem.

  • How common is Lactose Intolerance

    Almost 60 to 70 per cent of people in India are lactose intolerant. The frequency is higher among healthy populations from southern India than from northern India. The lower frequency in the north Indians is apparently due to the fact that they are descendants of the Aryans who have been dairying for long and are known to be lactose tolerant. So, the genetic mixing is responsible for greater lactose tolerance amongst them.

    Europeans have higher percentage of lactose absorption in the whole world. People of African, Asian, African-American have lower frequency of lactose absorption and are most likely to be affected at an earlier age. The absorption capacity goes on decreasing as we grow up. It is least in old age.

  • What causes Lactose Intolerance

    Lactose intolerance occurs when the small intestine does not produce enough of an enzyme called lactase. Your body needs lactase to break down, or digest, lactose (the sugar found in dairy products).

    Lactose intolerance generally develops in individuals as they age. People tend to become lactose intolerant around their teenage years, or during adulthood (ages 30 to 40). Generally, lactose intolerance most commonly runs in families and is related to one’s family’s genes. Lactose intolerance can also be brought on by infections, chemotherapy, penicillin reactions, surgery, pregnancy, or from the avoidance of dairy products for a prolonged period of time. Additionally, specific ethnicities are more likely to suffer from lactose intolerance than others.

    On rare occasions, newborns are lactose-intolerant. Usually newborns outgrow the condition as they get older.

  • What are the symptoms of Lactose Intolerance

    The symptoms happen only after you drink milk or eat dairy foods. They can include:

    • Abdominal Pain
    • Bloating
    • Gurgling Sound of Intestine
    • Gas
    • Nausea
    • vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  • What are the complications of Lactose Intolerance

    Dairy products such as milk are an important part of a healthy diet. They contain calcium, protein and vitamins such as vitamins A, B12 and D. For adults, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium is 700mg.

    Lactose is also important because it helps your body to absorb a number of other minerals, including magnesium and zinc. These vitamins and minerals are important for the development of strong, healthy bones.

    If you are lactose intolerant, getting the RDA of important vitamins and minerals can prove difficult. This may put you at increased risk of developing the following conditions.

    • Osteopenia, a condition where you have a very low bone mineral density. If osteopenia is not treated, it can develop into osteoporosis.
    • Osteoporosis, a condition that causes your bones to become thin and weak. If you have osteoporosis, your risk of getting fractures and broken bones is increased.
    • Malnutrition occurs when the food that you eat does not give you the nutrients that are essential for a healthy functioning body. If you are malnourished, wounds can take longer to heal and you may start to feel tired or depressed.
    • Weight loss. Excessive weight loss can damage your health, and it can also lead to conditions such as osteoporosis.
  • Is Lactose Intolerance basically a food allergy?

    No. There are people who are allergic to milk and dairy foods. But the symptoms of a dairy allergy are often different from those of lactose intolerance. In the case of an allergy, the body reacts to the protein in milk, rather than to the sugar. Plus, allergies involve the body's infection-fighting system, called the immune system whereas Lactose intolerance does not.

  • Is there a test for Lactose Deficiency/Lactose Intolerance

    Diagnosis of Lactase Deficiency

    • H2 Breath Test: Detection of H2 in the exhaled air as bacteria in the bowel use lactose generating hydrogen (H2). Confirmed by an increase in breath hydrogen of > 20 ppm(parts per million) after ingestion of 50 g lactose is diagnostic
    • Lactose Tolerance Test (LTT): Detection of reduced or missing rise in blood glucose. An abnormal LTT denotes failure of the blood glucose to rise thirty minutes after ingestion of a 50 g lactose load
    • Stool acidity test: Detection of stool pH as the fermenting of undigested lactose creates lactic acid and other acids that can be detected in a stool sample
    • New Tests: Genetic testing of blood or saliva.

    Diagnosis of Lactose Intolerance

    • Lactose Challenge Test : Take 500 ml of Milk (25 grams of Lactose), ideally at home, followed by fasting till 1-3 hours . If you have symptoms such as abdominal pain, gas, cramps, bloating or diarrhea; you are likely to be lactose intolerant
  • Should I see a doctor ?

    Yes. If you think you might have lactose intolerance, tell your doctor. He or she can ask you questions to make sure that there are no other problems.

  • How is Lactose Intolerance treated?

    In most cases, people cut down on or avoid sources of lactose and start replacing them with lactose-free alternatives but one of the biggest concerns for these people is to make sure they get enough of the nutrients found in milk products, especially Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Protein, and Riboflavin .Calcium is especially important for women, because it keeps bones strong and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.Thus avoidance of milk and milk products is strictly not recommended.

    Eating fewer products containing lactose, or avoiding them completely, can mean you miss out on certain vitamins and minerals in your diet and increase your risk of complications.

    Lactase substitutes such as Lactase enzyme tablets or drops replace the lactase your small intestine isn't producing, and can reduce your symptoms by helping your body break down any lactose in your diet more easily. These can either be added to milk or taken just before eating a meal containing lactose. The important thing to know is that each product works a bit differently for each person. Plus, none of them can break down every last bit of lactose, so some people still have some symptoms even with an enzyme supplement.

    For the Natural & Safe management of Lactose Intolerance, Yamoo tablets (Lactase enzyme chewable tablets) have been introduced for the first time in India that helps break down lactose, and thus help relieve the symptoms of Lactose Intolerance.