Milk intolerance: symptoms and remedies

Milk intolerance: symptoms and remedies

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L'milk intolerance, what other name by which lactose intolerance is called, can it be defined as the inability to digest the main sugar found in milk and other dairy products, such as lactose.

This condition, which can be very annoying, is in turn caused by a lack of lactase, the enzyme responsible for the metabolism of lactose in the small intestine. This is a very common scenario, which in some populations ends up involving a preponderant slice of adults, and which in the majority of international territories is limited to a percentage of around 5%.

Also keep in mind that people can to develop intolerance to milk at any time in their life, and some people develop it over time, even without having some symptoms at a young age.

Finally, before proceeding further in our analysis, consider that milk intolerance, understood as lactose intolerance, is different from milk allergy, which instead is a reaction to milk proteins, and which is also different from celiac disease, which is instead an autoimmune disease caused by gluten, with harmful effects if ingested.

Symptoms and causes of milk intolerance (lactose)

People may be genetically predisposed not to produce the lactase enzyme, or the condition may result from disease or injury to the small intestine, including surgery or infections. It follows that the causes of milk intolerance they can be different. Its symptoms are rather common.

In fact, in milk-intolerant adults, lactose is fermented and metabolized by colon bacteria to produce gas and short-chain fatty acids. This results in abdominal cramps, swelling, diarrhea, flatulence is nausea. The severity of the symptoms largely depends on how quickly the lactase available in the digestive system runs out.

Although the reduced lactase levels could cause improper lactose absorption, only people with low lactase levels who exhibit the common symptoms would be adequately considered lactose intolerant. Most people with lactase deficiencies show no perceptible signs or symptoms.

How is milk intolerance diagnosed

Milk intolerance becomes a suspect in people who complain of frequent abdominal symptoms - such as cramps and bloating - after consuming milk and other dairy products. Symptoms usually appear from 30 minutes to two hours after ingesting a dairy product.

The initial diagnosis of lactose intolerance can be very simple, as the quick way is to have the patient avoid lactose products for a certain amount of time, usually about two weeks, and check what happens. when food products in this category are reintroduced again. If the symptoms return, then the person is probably a little lactose intolerant.

At this point, most patients do not require any "referral" to a specialist, or diagnostic laboratory tests. However, i symptoms of milk intolerance they can overlap with other gastrointestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease.

It is therefore possible to use other, minimally invasive tests to confirm the initial diagnosis of lactose intolerance.

Treatment of milk intolerance

Obviously, the simplest remedy to treat themilk intolerance is… to remove any element that contains lactose from your diet. However, it is also true that by doing so, patients would end up depriving themselves of calcium and vitamin D.

It is therefore possible to resort to the use of specific products that contain lactase, and which can be taken before meals to help relieve or eliminate symptoms. In this way, many people claim to be able to process dairy products without any difficulty. Some people also claim that taking probiotics can help them digest lactase better, but there isn't much evidence to support it.

It is usually in this context that one's considerations can be traced back to a study conducted a few years ago by scientists at the North Carolina School of Medicine and North Carolina State University, which found that probiotics can also be a useful treatment, noting that the 70 percent of adults in the sample who took prebiotics for 35 days had reduced abdominal pain when they resumed drinking milk. Ninety percent of the subjects also showed a significant increase in lactose fermenting bacteria.

Finally, we highlight that themilk intolerance it can be treated with simple dietary modifications. The simplest way is for a person to reduce the amount of milk or daily products in their diet, or to divide the milk from the dairy products that one has a habit of ingesting daily, in several small portions, and consuming them with other foods. Processed dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese are usually better tolerated because lactose has been partially metabolized by bacteria during their preparation.

Foods high in lactose, in addition to the milk, are smoothies and other milk-based drinks, milk-based foods, whipping cream, cheese, ice cream, puddings, custard, butter, cream soups, cream sauces.

It should be borne in mind that there are now many on the market products that are lactose-free. This is a good option for those who don't want to give up their favorite dairy products. In addition, there are additional options such as rice, soy and almond milk, which can be used as an alternative to cow's milk. Some dairy products may also be easier to digest, such as fermented milk products, such as yogurt, goat's milk, milkshakes, and aged cheeses.

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