Lactose is the sugar that occurs naturally in cow’s milk (dairy). Approximately 70% of the world’s adult population is lactose intolerant. Lactase, the enzyme that allows us to digest lactose, the sugar in milk, levels start to decline naturally in the small intestine of all mammals after they are weaned. Some humans retain the ability to produce lactase throughout their lives (called “lactase persistence”), but most do not. Therefore, when an adult eats foods that contain lactose, it is not unusual for them to experience abdominal bloating and pain, fullness, cramps, borborysmus (“noisy gut”), flatulence, loose stools, and diarrhea. Symptoms will vary from individual to individual, depending upon a variety of factors.
Many medical experts now believe dairy (the source of lactose) to be one of the more pro-inflammatory foods in our diet, and that dairy intake may also contribute to insulin imbalances. Lactose intolerance has been found in several peer reviewed studies to increase the need for oral thyroid hormone supplementation in hypothyroid patients. Patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis were found in one study to experience an improvement (i.e. a decrease) in their TSH levels when the lactose in their diets was restricted.
Consumption of cow’s milk by sensitive individuals has also been linked to a variety of other conditions, such as chronic constipation, anal fissures, mental illness such as bipolar disorder and schizoprenia, arthritis, chronic sinusitis, nasal polyps and asthma, atopic eczema/dermatitis, and a condition called allergic tension-fatigue syndrome.
Treatment of lactose intolerance would involve reducing the amount of lactose consumed, taking a lactase supplement (such as “Lactaid©” or Xymogen’s new “Lactitol©”) concurrently with lactose-containing foods, or, ideally, the complete elimination of lactose from the diet. For individuals who are also allergic to the proteins in milk, complete abstinence is the only effective treatment.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.