Tuesday, April 29, 2008


· Foods that cause any discomfort
· Medications containing lactose filler if you are lactose intolerant, provided substitutes are available.

Lactose intolerance, the inability to digest milk sugar, is very common. Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk and milk products. It has to be broken down by an enzyme called lactase into glucose and galactose before it can be absorbed and used by the body. If you don’t have enough enzyme to handle the lactose in the food you eat, you will experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and cramps after the ingestion of lactose-containing foods. This is because the unabsorbed lactose passes into the colon, where it is consumed by bacteria. The by-products of this bacterial activity are gases such as hydrogen and methane, which are responsible for the discomfort. The condition can be diagnosed by measuring the amount of hydrogen exhaled before and after ingesting lactose. An excessive amount of hydrogen confirms lactose intolerance.
Adults who can digest milk are a minority in the world population. This genetic trait probably enabled their forebears to absorb extra calcium in a habitat where there was little sunlight available to develop vitamin D in the skin.

Transient or permanent lactose intolerance may follow an illness that injures the intestinal lining such as gastrointestinal illness, celiac disease, of inflammatory bowel disease. It can also follow treatment with antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs. In some cases the intolerance is temporary and will disappear when bowel health returns to normal. In other cases, lactose intolerance is a
"threshold intolerance". This means you can handle small amounts of lactose but increasing doses cause a problem.

Don’t confuse lactose intolerance with milk allergy, which is hypersensitivity to the proteins in dairy products. If you are allergic to milk, consuming a lactose-reduced product will not prevent a reaction.

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